‘Just the tonic we need!’ Vicar of Dibley fans go wild as first ever episode is broadcast 26 years after it first aired – and pay tribute to the ‘late, great’ Emma Chambers as Alice
- The first ever episode of the Vicar of Dibley was broadcast on BBC One last night
- Viewers praised the decision and said it is a ‘tonic’ and ‘just what we need’
- Several praised the ‘late, great’ Emma Chambers as the hapless Alice Tinker
- Vicar of Dibley will return next month for three short Christmas special episodes
The first ever episode of the Vicar of Dibley was broadcast on BBC One last night – much to the delight of viewers who hailed it a ‘tonic’ for dark times.
The episode, which first aired in 1994, sees Geraldine Granger (Dawn French) arrive in the rural village of Dibley, where she is introduced to local residents including Alice Tinker (Emma Chambers) and David Horton (Gary Waldhorn).
Several praised the ‘late, great’ Emma Chambers, who died of a heart attack in February 2018 at the age of 53.
Geraldine is back! The first ever episode of the Vicar of Dibley was broadcast on BBC One last night – much to the delight of viewers who hailed it a ‘tonic’ for dark times
Viewers took to Twitter to praise the decision to show the episode ahead of the Vicar of Dibley Christmas special next month. Several praised the late, great Emma Chambers as Alice Tinker
One viewer tweeted: ’26 years old and still hilarious! Timeless comedy, a real tonic! #vicarofdibley.’
Another posted: ‘#VicarOfDibley is just lovely and very funny, thank you BBC1 for giving us the first ever episode.’
A third added: ‘#bbc great choice bbc to rerun the #vicarofdibley. Such a feel good program. Just what we needed at this miserable time.’
The episode starts with the death of Dibley’s 102-year-old vicar, Reverend Pottle, who collapses during an evening service at St Barnabas church.
The parish council, including Hugo Horton (James Fleet), Frank Pickle (John Bluthal), Jim Trott (Trevor Peacock) and Owen Newitt (Roger Lloyd-Pack), convene to discuss the successor and their hopes it will be someone younger and more vibrant.
Not what they were expecting: The episode, which first aired in 1994, sees Geraldine Granger (Dawn French) arrive in the rural village of Dibley, where she is introduced to local residents including Alice Tinker (Emma Chambers) and Hugo Horton (James Fleet), pictured
Timeless comedy: Vicar of Dibley fans were delighted to watch the episode again
However Geraldine’s arrival comes as a shock to the entire village, prompting her to declare there would be less surprise if ‘Mr Blobby was the new vicar’.
David is particularly outraged and suspects Dibley is being used as a social experiment to see if female vicars ‘work’ as well as male ones. He launches a campaign to have Geraldine sacks before she even starts a job but the rest of the parish council want to give her a chance.
At her first Sunday service, the church is packed and the new vicar hailed a success.
The episode ends with Geraldine telling Alice a joke about a ‘blind man’ that remains a fan favourite more than two decades on.
Original stars: James Fleet as Hugo Horton, John Bluthal as Frank Pickle, Emma Chambers as Alice Tinker, Trevor Peacock as Jim Trott, Dawn French as Geraldine Grainger, Roger Lloyd Pack as Owen Newitt, and Gary Waldhorn as David Horton
The Vicar of Dibley is set to return for three ten minute episodes over the festive season.
Hugo joins Geraldine for the last sermon, where he reveals he is finding it difficult to listen to his father, Parish Council Chairman David Horton, tell the same anecdotes through lockdown over and over again.
The Vicar of Dibley originally aired from 1994 to 1998 and returned for various specials before officially concluding in 2007.
It has briefly headed back to screens for various shorts in aid of Comic Relief.
Christmas specials: Dawn French reprised her role as Geraldine Granger as she joined co-star James Fleet in a first look image at Christmas special, The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown