A long, full day yesterday - Mass with Year 6 school kids at 9.45 at Christ the King, Requiem and cremation back at St Brigid's at 11 and 12.30. After lunch, do my parts of the weekly newsletter before zipping back up to Christ the King to receive the body for another Requiem today. Cup of tea, then meeting with our 3 Churches Pastoral Council to firm up the decisions and actions flowing from this year's Vision project. Great group to work with - committed, enthusiastic and well gelled together. But... I was ready to relax. Then I remembered a review or two of "Rev." on BBC2.
So I parked myself before my computer, went onto iPlayer and sat back to munch and watch both episodes, as it turned out, of series two. Fantastic. I did catch some of the first series and it didn't grab me, but I'm glad I gave it a second chance. In case you haven't seen it, Tom Hollander plays the vicar in a Hackney Anglican parish. It's a sitcom but a kind of gentle one. As another blogger puts it, "Rev. Smallbone is an ordinary person, an ordinary man. Not a comedy vicar like Dawn French, Ardal O’Hanlon or Derek Nimmo, but a kind and humorous man who is riddled with self doubt, who makes mistakes, and who truly cares about his parishioners and believes he can make a difference, however ill-judged some of his endeavours turn out to be" (hat-tip Wartime housewife). There's no canned laughter, very well crafted characters and great acting. And it's good to see a clergy man on the TV that doesn't conform to the usual caricatures, and who is, at the end of the day, treated sympathetically. Many of the scenes I can imagine all too well. There's a bit of "language" or what the BBC calls "adult humour", if you are offended by that.
One of my favourite scenes is in episode one - the visit to the vicar by the Bishop of London, played completely straight by Ralph Fiennes. The acting by both is superb, at the same time hilarious and cringe-making. A kind of ecclesiatical "Gavin and Stacey" in that way. Episode 1 is here and episode 2 here.
Tom Hollander (centre) with cast members