The Vicar of Dibley ‘taking the knee’ during Christmas special sparks furious debate
BBC

2020 has been the year of the pandemic. But it’s also been a year of confronting conversations about race following the murder of George Floyd and anti-racist marches across the world.

The news that The Vicar Of Dibley will reportedly ‘take the knee’ and deliver a sermon about Black Lives Matter during one of the show’s Christmas special episodes has sparked debate.

It has been reported that Reverend Geraldine Kennedy, played by Dawn French, will mention the killing of George Floyd and call out racism in the show’s Christmas episodes.

French’s character will acknowledge that Dibley, a fictional rural village in Oxfordshire, could certainly be more diverse, saying: “I don't think it matters where you're from. I think it matters that you do something about it because Jesus would, wouldn't he?”

She continues: “Until all lives matter the same, we are doing something very wrong.”

"We need to focus on justice for a huge chunk of our countrymen and women who seem to have a very bad, weird deal from the day they're born."

French’s character then makes a reference to taking down old notices in the village, which some have interpreted as a nod to taking down statues of people with links to slavery – a key topic of discussion in 2020.

She says: "I think that in Dibley perhaps we should think about taking down some of these old notices like this and that and perhaps we should put up one like this instead."

She then puts a home-made Black Lives Matter poster to the church noticeboard before taking the knee in the style of NFL footballers in the US.

Throughout her career, French has frequently spoken out against racism and has been vocal about her experience of harassment while she was married to Black comedian Lenny Henry.

But needless to say, The Vicar of Dibley’s intervention into this topic has caused a debate.

Lots of people were supportive of French and defended her.

But others, including so-called free speech advocate Laurence Fox, were less happy.

Some said they’d even be avoiding watching the sitcom this year over this topic.

And some also questioned why the show’s writer, Richard Curtis, didn’t include more Black characters in his shows and films before.

And in the most bizarre twist of all, UKIP’s former leader Gerard Batten accused French and the BBC of worshipping Satan because French’s cross was upside down in a still from the special. 

Just another normal day in the UK.

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