The Vicar of Dibley

From Academic Kids

The Vicar of Dibley is a British sitcom created by Richard Curtis, and mostly written by Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer.

The sitcom is about a small fictional village called Dibley that gets a female vicar, following a change in church law that allows women to be ordained. It is a comedic study of the effect that this has on a small rural community. The Vicar of Dibley came third in a 2004 BBC poll to find 'Britain's Best Sitcom'.



The show centres around eight main characters, seven of whom sit on the parish council:

  • Geraldine Grainger, the female vicar, played by Dawn French
  • David Horton, Conservative chairman of the parish council, gentleman farmer and pillar of the community and councillor, played by Gary Waldhorn, and main opponent of the female vicar.
  • Hugo Horton, David's somewhat dim-witted son, played by James Fleet
  • Frank Pickle, pedantic secretary of the parish council, played by John Bluthal
  • Letitia Cropley, parish council member and creator of such revolting 'delicacies' as 'bread and butter pudding surprise' (a recipe for which she was breeding snails), not to mention marmite cakes and chocolate mixed with cod roe, played by Liz Smith
  • Jim Trott, parish council member, played by Trevor Peacock. He has an idiosyncratic way of saying "no no no no no..." before almost everything he says, including "yes". His wife does the opposite, saying "yes yes yes yes yes ..."
  • Owen Newitt, farmer and parish council member, with a very earthy manner of speaking, played by Roger Lloyd Pack. He was the first to support the new vicar's appointment, saying that a woman wouldn't be a bad thing since the previous vicar was an old woman anyway.
  • Alice Tinker, verger at the church, blonde and ditzy, played by Emma Chambers

Alice is the only main character who does not sit on the parish council. She and Hugo are fond of each other and the vicar plays cupid successfully in one episode.

Other guest appearances have been made by Sean Bean, Darcey Bussell, Kylie Minogue, Terry Wogan, and Rachel Hunter.


Season 1

The first episode was broadcast on the BBC in the UK on 10 November 1994. This season was written by Richard Curtis.

  • "Arrival"
  • "Songs Of Praise"
  • "Community Spirit"
  • The Window and the Weather"
  • "Election"
  • "Animals"


Comic Relief Specials

Season 2

First broadcast 8-22 January 1998

  • "Dibley Live"
  • "Celebrity Vicar"
  • "Love and Marriage"

Season 3

This season was broadcast across Christmas holiday period in 1999. It mainly followed Geraldine's relationship with David's brother Simon, played by Clive Mantle. Curtis had also used the metaphor of seasons in Notting Hill, which had been released that year.

  • "Autumn"
  • "Winter"
  • "Spring"
  • "Summer"

Christmas 2004 specials

In 2004, to celebrate 10 years since the conception of the sitcom, the BBC commissioned two special episodes to lead the 2004 Christmas line-up on BBC One. Both episodes were filmed in mid-October 2004, and featured the original cast.

Rachel Hunter guest-starred in the first episode, "Merry Christmas", screened on Christmas Day, and is soon confused by Alice to be having a lesbian fling with Geraldine. The second, "Happy New Year," was screened on New Year's Day; at the end of the episode Geraldine shows a video of two poverty-stricken children on her laptop. Both episodes are to be released on DVD following their Christmas screening, along with a special bonus episode filmed for Comic Relief 2005.


In the show, Dibley is said to be located in Oxfordshire. However, real places are mentioned such as High Wycombe and Princes Risborough, both of which are in Buckinghamshire. The outdoor scenes of the show are filmed in the village of Turville, which is also in Buckinghamshire, and all the scenes that feature in the opening titles are in and around South Buckinghamshire, although the aerial tracking shot shows M40 traffic approaching Oxfordshire through the Chilterns cutting.

Theme music

The theme music was composed by Howard Goodall to the 23rd Psalm of David, and was performed by 'George and the Choir' (The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford). The conductor is Stephen Darlington. It was released as a charity single with proceeds to Comic Relief.

Critical reaction

Although it was commended for raising the issue of women priests, the show has been criticised for taking to extremes the worst stereotypes of rural communities and for showing people living in rural communities as being less intelligent. At least initially, some viewers found Geraldine's light-hearted approach to her vocation to be bordering on blasphemous. But while certainly bawdy, her theology is quite orthodox, genuinely believing in Jesus as the son of God and that the biblical miracles really occurred.

External links

  • BBCi (
  • DawnFrenchOnline ( About Vicar of Dibley, and episode guide
  • The British Sitcom Guide (

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