Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'Rev' iew

Saw 'Rev' last night on BBC2, there's clearly been enough water under the bridge in Dibley Village Green for a new TV vicar sitcom. Here are some of the reviews in blogland so far:

Orange blogs notes how middle class the sitcom is, despite the setting. More here.
Saintly Ramblings liked it and spotted some inside knowledge by the scriptwriters
'More real than Dibley' says Paul Roberts. But then so are most things...
Kevin Scott
onetimothyfour sees a blend of stereotypes and decent research
Rectory Musings 'so rare to see vicars portrayed this accurately and sensitively'
Tracing Rainbows didn't like it
Thoroughly Good Blog did.

Update: thumbs up from Suite 101 and TV Pixie, and the Guardian discusses whether it's ok to fancy your vicar. Depends what she looks like, I suppose.

To which I'd add:
 - It's great to have a TV vicar with something resembling an ordinary prayer life, we haven't had that since Don Camillo. Tom Hollanders part was less of a caricature than some of the others (I loved the slimy archdeacon), and I look forward to seeing it develop.
 - The bad language wasn't necessary, but at the same time there's an attempt to put across the 'vicars are human too' point of view. How many clergy cheered when he shouted at the builders?
 - The scenarios are overblown, but mostly recognisable.
 - I'd love to get the clip where all the new families turn up in church - complete with takeaway coffee, Nintendo DS etc., and have to fumble with hymn books, standing/sitting/kneeling and an array of strange behaviour - and show it to every church leader in the CofE. And every other church for that matter.
 - It's trying harder than Dibley to be thought provoking and less hard to be outrageous/funny.
 - Pretty well researched. My concern is that it's so well researched that only Anglican insiders will 'get' some of the jokes, and everyone else will go 'huh?' (update: judging by the reviews from non-church blogs, perhaps my concern is unfounded.)
 - Tuning in again next week


  1. I thought the swearing was absolutely necessary - and very real. Vicars swear. Sometimes even out loud. Most often, when we come to the end of our tethers.

    Best line for me - "My whole life is spent wiping other people's arses". Everything that parish ministry has become, everything that's wrong with the church in one pithy sentence. Bang on.

  2. My favourite line was the guy on the bench on Dawkins! However I fear that this is going to be just like most of the other TV vicar fayre we've been fed over the years. I'm all in favour of showing clergy as human but will it really be necessary for him to have an affair with the headteacher?
    Struggling to take seriously the casting of David Mitchell's love interest from peeps show as the vicars wife.

  3. I liked it and it was sensitive and realistic but crucially, it wasn't all that funny, was it?

  4. Tim - having not seen peep show, I only thought she looked vaguely familiar, like the school head.

    Kevin - not hilarious, but entertaining. I must admit, I found it a heck of a lot more pleasant to watch than several other well known comedies I could name. Did I laugh a lot? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes.

    For me the Reader and Archdeacon are the two most promising characters. Both really nicely played.

  5. A promising start - less overblown than Dibley and less laugh-out-loud funny, but I love Hollander and think it shows great potential. Agree about the Dawkins rant, and the very necessary swearing!

    By the way, Olivia Coleman (the missus) has done loads of stuff with Mitchell & Webb, plus films like Hot Fuzz and telly including Green Wing and Doctor Who (!); the head teacher (Lucy Liemann) is best known for Moving Wallpaper and the remake of Reggie Perrin. (Was the Rev really having an affair with the school teacher? I must have missed that.)

    Fabulous cast, and good audience (the overnights came in at 2.19m (10.7%) on BBC2 and 49,700 (0.24%) on BBC HD, beating the ITV news and well above BBC2's slot average of 1.4m (6.77%) for the year so far). Good reviews, too: "The most compelling television provides a new perspective on an old story, and challenges the laziest of preconceptions with wit, humour and more than a dash of bravado. Rev is pretty much a masterclass in how to pull this off." (Sarah Vine, The Times) "Rev looks quite promising, in a gentle kind of way..." Sam (Wollaston, The Guardian) "Apart from the main character's vocation, new dog-collar sitcom Rev has nothing in common with The Vicar of Dibley... If there were more vicars like the Rev around, churches would be packed to the rafters." (Matt Baylis, Daily Express) "The first half-hour of Rev wasn't bad. Hollander makes a convincing clergyman, and there is a breezy confidence about the dialogue." (Brian Viner, Indie).

    As I say, it's a good start.

  6. Loved it! And yes, I cheered when he took the dog collar out and 'responded' to the builders!!!

    I'm not a CofE vicar though - but the methodist equiv!