by Stephen Tall on July 4, 2010
If you missed this week’s first episode of Rev, BBC2’s new Dibley With Attitude sit-com, I suggest you catch up prompt via Auntie’s blessed iPlayer.
It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea … there’s no laugh-track (how very modishly cinema verite, dahlins), caricatures-a-plenty, and it takes itself seriously enough to allow a couple of reflective lines on the nature of faith.
But in return you get an utterly winning performance from one of this country’s most fantastic tragi-comic actors, Tom Hollander – incidentally, the son of Oxford Lib Dem councillor Tony Hollander.
And some equally sublime supporting performances from his down-to-earth solicitor wife, played by Olivia Colman (Green Wing, Peep Show) – who gets the line of the night, urging him to remove his clerical collar before he comes to bed: “It’s like you’ve got no cock” – Simon McBurney’s creepy meedja-whore archdeacon, and Miles Jupp’s oh-so-superior curate, who features in this clip:
(Available on YouTube here).
Now, I admit, as a child of the manse (NB: not vicarage) Rev perhaps has greater resonance for me than it will for others. But this is a brave attempt to make a comedy which laughs with, not at, the church, while avoiding the cute-sated laziness which too often blighted Dibley.
On the basis of episode one it already ranks alongside Outnumbered: my praise doesn’t come much higher.