All Revved up!
At last! At long last! A television rendition of a Church of England parson that actually bears some resemblance to real life. I was brought up on ‘All Gas and Gaiters’ and ‘Oh Brother!’ with Derek Nimmo starring and knew even as a small child that they didn’t really depict the reality. Along comes ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ which was amusing and at least a sympathetic attempt to portray a woman priest, but even this with the splendid Dawn French was far from the life I was living in a Council estate in a major city. And now we have ‘Rev’ on Monday night at 10pm on BBC2, and at last we have something near to the actuality of what life is really like for a priest in an inner city area of London. It’s not surprising that it’s somewhat realistic for the producers took advice from real life, living and working priests, notably Richard Coles, one time curate of Boston in this Diocese and also one half of the late lamented pop group ‘The Communards’.
So, we have the Reverend Adam Smallbone inheriting his great Classical pile in the city centre and faced, in the early weeks, with a vandalised stained glass window for which he has to raise £30,000 to mend: as he walks into his church each day he is heckled and ‘mooned’ by builders on scaffolding, he is treated with suspicious over-affection by parishioners and inappropriate support from a male supporter who wants to sort the vandals out in the name of the Gospel. And Adam does all this with a hangover from his first night party. To top it all, his first service is attended by an abundance of young families whose parents want to get their child into the very successful church school. Best moments: when the manifestly underprivileged (in the brain department) male member of the congregation speaks out against Richards Dawkins ‘because he’s saying God is deluded’: he berates the good Professor for saying that all believers are intellectually challenged, unsophisticated dimwits: ‘well, I’m a believer’ he says. Second best bit: when, finally, Adam loses his rag with the unfunny builders, takes off his collar and suggests that they might ‘go forth and multiply’.
I recommend watching it, and you know what? The best thing is that there isn’t a single thing you’ll see that hasn’t happened in real life in one form or another: and that’s really funny.