Rev - In The Press

Oh my! Watching Rev. week after week is increasingly traumatic, as Adam Smallbone, buffeted by the vicissitudes of life and his own weaknesses (namely, comely head teacher Ellie) begins to unravel.

He's sent to see the Bishop of London (Ralph Fiennes) who subjects him to a draconian punishment after the kiss-in-the-vestry incident. Soon Adam's world is shredded as he loses all grip on his beloved and doomed St Saviour's Church. He's even let down by the decrepit Colin (the marvellous Steve Evets) whose faithlessness puts Adam at the centre of a parish-wide scandal.

But in the midst of a meltdown, he meets a kindly stranger on a green hill far away...

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 21st April 2014

How the Reverend Adam Smallbone and his parishioners will celebrate Easter in the parish of St Saviour in the Marshes has not yet been revealed by the writers of the BBC hit comedy Rev but I can be sure of one thing: Easter will not be portrayed simply as the happy ending to a sad story.

Written by Reverend Alan Gyle. The Sunday Express, 20th April 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has sung the praises of BBC sitcom Rev., about the day-to-day challenges of a vicar in a struggling inner-city parish.

Yahoo! TV UK, 15th April 2014

It's funny rather than preachy and the first sitcom since The Vicar of Dibley in which the protagonist is allowed to believe in God without cynicism. Praise be to Rev.

Written by Julia Raeside. The Guardian, 14th April 2014

This episode strikes a different note from that we've come to expect from Rev; it's not delightful at all, it's sad and there's a bleakness to vicar Adam's life now that hovers on the upsetting.

But that's probably because Tom Hollander does such a wonderful job of making us care about Adam, a man who is all too human and fallible. The fallout from his indiscretion is instant and powerful as he faces the unwavering and angry gaze of his beloved Alex (Olivia Colman). Just when everything seems hopeless and Adam's world is about to crumble, a new member of the congregation is fortuitously on hand to help out.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 14th April 2014

Halfway through series three, Rev has again enfolded us in its warm embrace of gentle inner-city humour, barely perceptible suspense and mild Christianity. Laughs may be thinner on the ground this time but Hollander, Colman and McBurney are eternally watchable.

Gwilym Mumford & Simon Wardell, The Guardian, 12th April 2014

To complete the cliché bingo full house, Rev and the Guardian Angel are recast as exhausted parents.

Written by Caragh Little. Huffington Post, 11th April 2014

Rev's deceptively effortless combination of faith and frolics continues.

Written by Caroline Frost. Huffington Post, 8th April 2014

Rev star Tom Hollander gives chapter and verse on boozing in church, Dylan Thomas, suicide and the 'big society'.

Written by Adrian Lobb. The Big Issue, 7th April 2014

Hapless vicar Adam's hopes of rescuing the increasingly decrepit St Saviour's from imminent closure are given a boost when a Turner Prize-winning artist asks if he can unveil a new installation in the building. And he's prepared to make a substantial donation to the emergency fund...

It's good news, of course, but Adam being Adam (Tom Hollander, who also wrote the episode), he has to seek out new and inventive ways of sabotaging his professional and even his personal life, even when things seem to be going well.

He's adorable, of course, but sometimes you want to give him a jolly good shaking, particularly when he does something unforgivable and out of character, something that could jeopardise his relationship with wife Alex (Olivia Colman).

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 7th April 2014

Two episodes in, Rev has settled down nicely. And settling things down seems to be the purpose of Tom Hollander's perplexed vicar, who operates on the almost revolutionary principle that the world would be a nicer place if people were nicer to each other. He's more "almost" than revolutionary, of course, because Rev is a comedy of English manners, with all the emotional repression that implies.

Alastair McKay, Evening Standard, 4th April 2014

Does a sitcom actually need to make me laugh? That's the question I asked myself during the first episode of the third series of BBC Two's Rev. I certainly was glad to be given another opportunity to return to Saint Saviours and follow the exploits of the Reverend Adam Smallborne (Tom Hollander).

Once again Rev looks at the way that different people deal with faith by showing how many more people attend the local Mosque every week than come to Adam's church. James Wood's script is brilliant at combining this fairly deep subject matter with a light-handedness that makes it easy to like. Rev also excels due to its fantastically decent central characters Adam and Alex who are surrounded by a cavalcade of oddballs and mercenaries. Tom Hollander is brilliant in the lead role as he plays Adam as thoroughly down-to-Earth chap albeit one who constantly is worried about something or other. The brilliant Olivia Colman adds a bit of gravitas to her role of Alex whilst Simon McBurney and Miles Jupp continue to provide the laughs as Arch Deacon and Lay Preacher respectively.

As a fan of Getting On, I'm ecstatic that Scanlan and Pepperdine have joined the cast as a brilliant double act who may end up closing St. Saviour's. Even if the church does indeed close I hope that doesn't mean the end of what is brilliantly written and extremely well-acted series.

While it never makes me laugh out loud, Rev still provides plenty of good humour and that's sometimes all you need.

The Custard TV, 1st April 2014

Rev.'s timely approach to gay weddings made me giggle with its gentle mockery, says Neil Midgley.

Written by Neil Midgley. The Daily Telegraph, 1st April 2014

In Rev. (BBC Two), where Adam has been asked by two friends, Rob and Jeremy, to officiate at a "proper church wedding" in St Saviour. He can't, of course. It's against canon law, even if it's legal under proper law. His wife, Alex, thinks he should do it anyway. "As long as you don't get caught, it's just like parking on a double yellow," she says. Adam can't risk getting caught, because his church is threatened with closure as it is, for being insolvent and unpopular. To add to his woes, he's just come home without the baby, having left the pram in a shop, although he doesn't even realise this yet. I clocked it straight away, because I once left a baby in a shop. My vigilance now extends to babies from television programmes.

In Rev., Adam managed to recover his baby and offer his friends Rob and Jeremy a non-binding prayer service in church. The happy couple turned up from the register office in their wedding gear with a champagne-sipping, confetti-throwing congregation behind them and proceeded to make Reverend Smallbone's well-meant half-measure look like a very gay wedding indeed. The bishop, naturally, caught wind of it. Adam did his best to do the right thing, and he still got caught.

It was all played for laughs rather than tears - with Olivia Colman's drunk Alex a particular highlight - but at the end Adam got angry and married Rob and Jeremy for real, in the church, in secret. And I cried at that. Could secret gay weddings - and the pink pound - be the saviour of St Saviour?

Tim Dowling, The Guardian, 1st April 2014

There's a ripped-from-the-headlines quality about tonight's episode. Same-sex marriages became legal in England and Wales on Saturday, but the Church of England has stipulated that it won't be carrying them out, although it will stretch to prayers for newlywed couples.

And tonight, we see the dilemma that could typically pose for vicars when two gay friends of Adam's announce that they're getting married and want him to do the honours ("No confetti!"). St Saviours has never seen such a turnout, but Archdeacon Robert (the fabulous Simon McBurney) doesn't reckon this is any cause to celebrate. He does, however, have some good advice for Adam who wants to take his wife Alex (Olivia Colman) on a mini-break. He says, mystifyingly: "You can always tell a good pub hotel by whether the bedrooms have got logs in them."

And you can always tell a good non-wedding by the hangovers the next day. A drunken Alex, who is working her way through the Smallbones' drinks cabinet, is a real highlight.

And so is Hugh Bonneville, who pops in again as Roland, the media-friendly cleric who's now running training courses to save churches all over the world.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 31st March 2014

An approach from Archdeacon Robert is like being addressed by an urbane python, but the black-gloved cleric has a sensitive side. Yes, he delivers another dire warning to vicar Adam Smallbone about St Saviour's lack of funds. (Hugh Bonneville is back briefly as Roland Wise, the Dale Carnegie-like motivational cleric.) But when rumour spreads that Adam has conducted a gay wedding, maybe the Archdeacon (Simon McBurney) will exercise a little understanding.

With same-sex weddings now legal it's a timely story handled with humour (of course), compassion and without preachiness. Adam (Tom Hollander) is torn when two friends want a [forbidden] church ceremony. He agrees to say prayers for their union as long as there are no rings, confetti or any walking down the aisle...

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 31st March 2014

Traditional as its set-up may seem, in practice, Rev. manages to maintain a light level of satire alongside its gentle comedy. Tonight, with St Saviour's under financial scrutiny, Adam is forced to attend a course with the self-important Roland (Hugh Bonneville) about how to rescue his parish. As if he needed the extra drama, he also seems to have agreed to perform a gay marriage, more or less, for his friends Rob and Jeremy. The lightly delivered sermon being: you can't always do what people expect of you.

John Robinson, The Guardian, 31st March 2014

The wonderful thing about Rev. (BBC Two, Monday) is that it is meant to be funny and it is genuinely hilarious. Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman play the leads but it is more an ensemble comedy with top performances, too, from Simon McBurney as the Archdeacon, Miles Jupp as Nigel and Steve Evets as Colin.

In fact dear Colin provides all the jaw-dropping, non-PC moments; not least for his fundraising efforts for St Saviour's which amounted to supplying drugs to the estate. He knows his market.

It was especially touching to see him present Adam (the Rev), with some oversize track pants from Sports Direct for his new baby as part of his campaign to be "godfather". Who knows what that term means to him?

Rev also pushes the boundaries or let's say, gives them a nudge. Last week, Adam bumped into Yousef, the local Iman, who had a sense of humour, "within limits". I could not understand why Adam did not jump at the chance of attending one of the Iman's "Jihadi barbecues". The mind boggles.

The best line, however, came from the archdeacon who said he was off to hear "Rageh Omaar giving a talk on Djibouti pirates". I was gutted to have missed that one. If only the Church of England could harness the power of Rev., it would have no trouble filling the pews.

David Stephenson, The Sunday Express, 30th March 2014

"I don't want a christening yet. I've already lost you to him." Thus Olivia Colman, with just that phrase, sets the entire tone for Rev, as she has quietly done for each of the past two series. By turns giggly, mournful, drunk, charming, ballsily defiant and utterly conflicted, she encapsulates pretty much this secular nation's attitude to 21st-century Christianity, which could be summed up in the title of a fine Douglas Adams novel (writing not about God but Earth itself): Mostly Harmless.

A triumphant return but, for a comedy, it's pretty strong gravy when you think about it, as you should. The fact that God is man's finest confection detracts not one whit from "his" essential confected goodness, and the palaces of myth serve, by and large, to do great good. Except when they get in the way of real life, or bore, or nag: and that's why Colman does such a tremendous job, refracting our every niggle with organised religion through the simple premise of being married to, and more pertinently in love with, a rev. So we share her increasing frustration at the fact that hubby, the Rev Adam Smallbone (Tom Hollander), has to open his door not just to waifs and strays but to borderline psychopaths: troubling enough when they were just the two, but the arrival of baby Katie is a delight that is slowly, delightfully, doing their nuts in.

It is also, I should have mentioned this, extremely funny. I don't think that Hollander or his co-writer James Wood have put much more than a tootsie wrong since the first series, but their writing in this latest outing becomes ever more deft, daring, even confrontational. The scene in which Mick, the splendidly grubby dreadlocked Jimmy Akingbola (carrying the most foetidly evil one-armed doll) offers to babysit, with the well-intentioned cackle: "You take your lady out for a nice night an' when you comes back, ta-da! She still alive!" mesmerised: and also spoke of poverty, race relations, child abuse and 10 other things which don't get a better outing in an entire hour of the increasing fractious Question Time. Adam/Tom's facial reaction to this charming offer was a brief masterclass in English politesse. And at his heart is not so much a crisis of faith but the full and faithful knowledge that God does not exist other than to provide the wages.

As far away from Derek Nimmo in All Gas and Gaiters, in generational terms, as it's possible to get, and hyperspace-removed from the Vicar of Dibley, as in it's funny: not only but very. And so wise. Perhaps I'm reading too much into what is, after all, a half-hour of light entertainment on a Monday night, but when I saw Adam/Tom - I cherish the believability of the character so much, they're interchangeable - standing in some yakhole of a playground pulling on an e-cigarette, he simply felt like every small man mulling over big thoughts, as opposed to every big man thinking small thoughts, ever. I don't have too much choice in the matter, but I know which one I'd rather be.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 29th March 2014

The show has gathered a cult fan-base since debuting in 2010 and is often considered the finest comedy that the BBC currently has on its books.

Written by Michael West. Contact Music, 25th March 2014

There is nothing not to love about this show.

Written by Caroline Frost. Huffington Post, 25th March 2014

It's very gentle -not rolling-in-the-aisles or falling-off-the-pew funny - but maybe that's no bad thing.

Written by Sam Wollaston. The Guardian, 25th March 2014

Most admirable is that it never scruples to offend the churchy set in the front pews in pursuit of a punchline.

Written by Ellen E Jones. The Independent, 25th March 2014

Rev stars a holy trinity of great British actresses and a brilliant Tom Hollander in the title role.

Written by Keith Watson. Metro, 25th March 2014

Rev takes failure to the limit. Comedy this bitter is an acquired taste, which might be why professional comics are queuing up for cameos.

Written by Christopher Stevens. The Daily Mail, 24th March 2014

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