'The Vicar Of Dibley: Inside Out' tribute documentary to air on Gold

ExclusiveThursday 14th January 2021, 9:00am by Jay Richardson

The Vicar Of Dibley: Inside Out. Image shows from L to R: Richard Curtis, Dawn French. Copyright: UKTV

The Vicar Of Dibley is to be the subject of a celebratory documentary on Gold, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

A two-hour special, The Vicar Of Dibley: Inside Out, has been filmed for broadcast later this year.

Dawn French, who stars as the Reverend Geraldine Granger in the BBC One sitcom, says: "It was a total treat to revisit such a happy place and time for this documentary. Part of my heart is still, and forever will be in Dibley."

French and writers Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer are among those interviewed for the retrospective, along with producer Jon Plowman; James Fleet, who played slow-witted Hugo Horton; and guest stars such as Joanna Lumley, Hugh Bonneville and Kylie Minogue, all recalling their favourite Dibley moments.

Also featuring never-before seen rehearsal footage, the film follows three "lockdown" mini-episodes and a compilation broadcast on BBC One last month, which, alongside April's Comic Relief/Children In Need special. The sitcom last aired full-length episodes over the Christmas period of 2006-7.

The first two instalments of the recent lockdown series attracted approximately 4.9 million and 3.6 million viewers respectively. Gold is currently repeating Series 1 of the sitcom, which debuted in 1994.

Plowman, who executive produces the documentary, said: "I feel incredibly proud to have been involved with Dibley and am thrilled that it's still making audiences laugh (and occasionally cry) more than 25 years later.

"It's been a total joy to look back through the Dibley archives and to be reminded of old friends and so many wonderful moments. It looks to me like we were all having far too much fun. Quite how we got anything done is beyond me."

The Vicar Of Dibley: Inside Out is directed by Matt Pothecary (Duck Quacks Don't Echo) and produced by Owen Braben (Have I Got News For You) for Expectation (The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan, Alma's Not Normal).

Braben said: "The Vicar Of Dibley is one of the most iconic sitcoms of our generation, filled with warmth and affection and memorable moments that audiences love to watch again and again. This programme hears some of the behind-the-scenes stories and we'll reveal exclusive, never-before-seen footage filmed at Dibley rehearsals, and show how the Vicar team brought the show to our screens."

The film was commissioned by Hilary Rosen, UKTV deputy director of commissioning and head of factual and factual entertainment, and ordered by Gerald Casey, channel director for Gold.

Rosen said: "I'm delighted to be working with Expectation on The Vicar Of Dibley: Inside Out. For the first time Dawn French, Richard Curtis and team will tell the definitive story of the making of this show and it feels like the perfect moment to celebrate the irrepressible and hilarious Geraldine Granger and her Dibley congregants."

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