The sitcom was believed to have finished for good in 2007 when its creator Richard Curtis said he wasn't going to write any more episodes. However, during an interview this morning, Dawn French revealed that Curtis may have secret plans for a revival that would see her return as Geraldine Granger.
Speaking on ITV's Daybreak she said: "We had 13 happy years. When we got to the end I said to Richard, 'You have to say it's finished because people keep asking about it'. So he said, 'OK, it's finished'. We had the wrap party, we had a few tears and on the way out, the producer said to me, 'He's asked us to store the set'."
French added: "I think he's probably waiting for women to be officially made bishops."
The Church of England is currently considering allowing women to become bishops, with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams vocally supporting the idea. The issue will be voted on by the General Synod next month.
It should be stressed that Dawn French's comments are speculative and neither the BBC nor Richard Curtis have made any firm indications that any further episodes of the sitcom are under consideration. The last time The Vicar Of Dibley appeared on TV was in March 2007 for a short Wife Swap sketch for Comic Relief.
Commercially, The Vicar Of Dibley is very successful for the BBC. The series remains popular around the world and is regularly repeated on channels such as GOLD. The series is also likely considered a sure ratings hit, and the corporation is likely to jump at the chance of further episodes were Curtis to offer them. In a 2004 TV poll the series, which began in 1994, was named Britain's third favourite sitcom just behind Blackadder and Only Fools And Horses.
French was appearing on Daybreak to promote her second novel, Oh Dear Sylvia, which was released in shops earlier this week. The comic actress has appeared in the papers recently as The Sun published paparazzi pictures of her kissing new boyfriend Mark Bignell in a car park. She has since revealed to Now Magazine that he has never seen her act on screen, saying: "I'm not boasting, but you'd actually have to have not watched television for the past 20 years to have avoided me, and he'd managed to do just that."