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Vicar Of Dibley Takes the Knee: Dawn French delivers a BLM sermon on the BBC show


The Vicar of Dibley will take his knee and preach on Black Lives Matter when the award-winning BBC comedy returns to the screen for a series of Christmas specials.

In a move that critics say could undermine the BBC's impartiality, Reverend Geraldine Kennedy – played by Dawn French – addresses the murder of George Floyd by American police officers and the wider issue of racism in one of the three ten-minute episodes.

The sketch begins in a typically carefree way. The pastor is filmed by farmer and parishioner Owen Newitt as she gets some fresh air after the lockdown.

The Vicar of Dibley will take his knee and preach on Black Lives Matter when the BBC comedy returns to screen for a series of Christmas specials. In a move that critics say may undermine the BBC's impartiality, Reverend Geraldine Kennedy (played by Dawn French above) addresses the murder of George Floyd by US police officers and the wider issue of racism in one of the three ten-minute episodes .

In every episode written by the series co-creators Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, the pastor preaches a sermon on camera. Ms. French, 63, made no secret of her views following the murder of Mr. Floyd and tweeted, “Black Lives Matter. This is a fact, not a slogan.

In every episode written by the series co-creators Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, the pastor preaches a sermon on camera. Ms. French, 63, made no secret of her views following the murder of Mr. Floyd and tweeted, “Black Lives Matter. This is a fact, not a slogan.

But it takes a more serious turn than Rev. Kennedy tells the audience that she was busy with the "horror show" of Mr. Floyd's death and what she describes as "that black life matter."

While recognizing that Dibley, a fictional Oxfordshire village, is not the most ethnically diverse community, she says, “I don't think it matters where you are from. I think it's important that you do something about it because Jesus would, right? & # 39;

Warming up on her subject, she adds, “Until all lives are equal, we're doing something very wrong.

Above George Floyd. On the BBC show, Rev. Kennedy tells the audience that she was preoccupied with the "horror show" of Mr. Floyd's death and what she describes as "that black life thing."

Above George Floyd. On the BBC show, Rev. Kennedy tells the audience that she was preoccupied with the "horror show" of Mr. Floyd's death and what she describes as "that black life thing."

"We need to focus on justice for a large part of our compatriots who seem to have a very bad, strange deal from the day they are born."

Then she goes to the congregation's bulletin board and removes two posters, one about decimalization, the other about a missing button.

In what is interpreted by some as an indication of the removal of statues of colonial figures in connection with the slave trade, she says, “I think that maybe we in Dibley should consider removing some of these old notices like this and those and these Maybe we should put one up instead. & # 39;

Then she posts a self-made poster of Black Lives Matter on the bulletin board before taking her knee.

The sketch is markedly different in tone from the rest of the series, in which Rev Kennedy ponders the challenges of the pandemic and jokes about online quizzes and the dangers of excessive drinking.

In every episode written by the series co-creators Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, the pastor preaches a sermon on camera.

Ms. French, 63, made no secret of her views following the murder of Mr. Floyd and tweeted, “Black Lives Matter. This is a fact, not a slogan. & # 39;

Steve Bennett, editor of Chortle comedy website, said, “Making social comments is absolutely what comedy should do, and BLM is a laudable thing, but Geraldine's very serious speech undoubtedly fits the tone of the show.

In June, the company told journalists that while it was not racially neutral, it could not publicly support the Black Lives Matter campaign because it could be perceived as biased. (Above, BLM protesters take their knees in London in July)

In June, the company told journalists that while it was not "racially neutral", it could not publicly support the "Black Lives Matter" campaign because it could be perceived as biased. (Above, BLM protesters take their knees in London in July)

"In his apparent passion for sharing his beliefs, Richard Curtis seems to have forgotten the jokes, which makes this a very political moment."

He said the sketch could undermine the BBC's claim to be impartial on the Black Lives Matter issue.

In June, the company told journalists that while it was not racially neutral, it could not publicly support the Black Lives Matter campaign because it could be perceived as biased.

But writer Kathy Lette defended the BBC, saying: “Good comic writing always has a serious side. True joke requires grit. & # 39;

The Vicar of Dibley became embroiled in a series of impartiality in 2005 after recording an act promoting the Make Poverty History campaign. The BBC found that it had violated editorial guidelines.

The BBC said last night: “Geraldine is an established fictional character in a popular comedy that shows her the key moments of the year.

"Audiences understand the difference between news and comedy content, and the sermons do not violate the BBC's impartiality guidelines."

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Black Lives Matter (t) US Racial Relations (t) Coronavirus Lockdowns (t) BBC