Watch: Dawn French struggled filming tribute to Emma Chamber’s Vicar of Dibley character
Dawn French has opened up about it being difficult to film a eulogy to late Vicar Of Dibley co-star Emma Chambers for the show’s Christmas special.
The actor – who played Alice Tinker – died two years ago at the age of 53 after a suspected heart attack.
A festive special of the sitcom is in the works, which will see French’s Rev Geraldine Granger talking to her parishioners on Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And the comedian told Lorraine Kelly on her ITV show that it would also include a tribute to Chambers.
She said: “We asked ourselves, and by we I mean [writers] Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer and I asked ourselves, ‘What would Geraldine be doing in the lockdown?’
“And of course she would be on the webcam talking to her parishioners so that’s what we have done. We have made nine little tiny films where she, through the power of Zoom, is connecting with everybody and it’s funny and silly as she is talking to folk. She is doing a sort of newsletter and a sermon.
“We have tried to be light and funny but we also try to remember those who aren’t with us any more.”
“There is a eulogy to Alice there, which wasn’t very easy for me to film, which was important for me to do,” she added.
The show will no longer have the post-credits scenes where Geraldine tells Alice a joke which she doesn’t understand, but French said there would be a nod to that.
“We do have Hugo Horton, Alice’s husband, he is there with me. James Fleet plays him, and there is a lovely moment when I tell a joke to him and fingers crossed he might get it at last,” she said.
The Vicar Of Dibley ran for two seasons between 1994 and 1998, and produced 10 special episodes as well as six Comic Relief offerings.
Other original cast members who are no longer with us include John Bluthal, who played Frank Pickle, who died in November 2018 at the age of 89.
Roger Lloyd-Pack, who played Owen Newitt, died aged 69 in 2014 while Letitia Cropley actor Liz Smith passed away in 2016 aged 96.
Lorraine is on weekdays from 9am on ITV.
Watch: Dawn French brings back The Vicar Of Dibley in lockdown