Beeb castigates Vicar of Dibley for poor show - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
July 15, 2005

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Beeb castigates Vicar of Dibley for poor show

-15/07/05

In a move that may puzzle millions of people worldwide who watched BBC broadcasts of the Live8 concerts lobbying the rich world leaders for more action to support the poorest nations, the Corporationís governors have reiterated criticism of a popular sitcom for encouraging specific action against world poverty.

When it published its annual review last Tuesday, the BBC highlighted its criticism of the Christmas 2004 special edition of The Vicar of Dibley, because it showed parishioners being urged to support the Make Poverty History campaign. This amounted to political bias under the BBCís Charter, the governors said.

Under Britainís quaint charity laws the alleviation of poverty is acceptable, but pointing out its causes or seeking to change government policy is political. Something of the same logic seems to have influenced the BBC, who consider that using a programme to promote better aid, debt relief and fairer trade is unacceptable.

The sitcom, penned by Richard Curtis (who also wrote a TV drama, Girl in the CafÈ, about the G8 summit), came to prominence for its daring portrayal of a feisty woman vicar working in a conservative rural parish.

In the past some people have castigated the show, starring Dawn French, for being a bit corny. There have also been complaints about its depiction of Dibleyís vicar swigging back booze and bingeing on chocolate. But it now seems that its real crime is being covert agitprop.

The character of the Vicar of Dibley is partly based on former inner London curate Joy Carroll, who now lives and works in the US with her husband the Rev Jim Wallis, Sojourners founder and Christian peace and justice campaigner. Wallis backs anti-poverty action, and his latest book Godís Politics, which criticises both right and left, is a best seller.

Joy Carroll has written the story of her own life, her faith, her romance with Wallis and her involvement with the Vicar of Dibley in Beneath the Cassock.

Make Poverty History and the Live8 concerts received overwhelming support from the public, unlike the BBC2 show Jerry Springer ñ The Opera, which they absolve in spite of record complaints. Ekklesia was one of those Christian bodies defending the musical.

It is not known whether anyone has been commissioned to write a sitcom script to even the political balance by advocating the idea of making poverty permanent.

Find books now:

Beeb castigates Vicar of Dibley for poor show

-15/07/05

In a move that may puzzle millions of people worldwide who watched BBC broadcasts of the Live8 concerts lobbying the rich world leaders for more action to support the poorest nations, the Corporation's governors have reiterated criticism of a popular sitcom for encouraging specific action against world poverty.

When it published its annual review last Tuesday, the BBC highlighted its criticism of the Christmas 2004 special edition of The Vicar of Dibley, because it showed parishioners being urged to support the Make Poverty History campaign. This amounted to political bias under the BBC's Charter, the governors said.

Under Britain's quaint charity laws the alleviation of poverty is acceptable, but pointing out its causes or seeking to change government policy is political. Something of the same logic seems to have influenced the BBC, who consider that using a programme to promote better aid, debt relief and fairer trade is unacceptable.

The sitcom, penned by Richard Curtis (who also wrote a TV drama, Girl in the CafÈ, about the G8 summit), came to prominence for its daring portrayal of a feisty woman vicar working in a conservative rural parish.

In the past some people have castigated the show, starring Dawn French, for being a bit corny. There have also been complaints about its depiction of Dibley's vicar swigging back booze and bingeing on chocolate. But it now seems that its real crime is being covert agitprop.

The character of the Vicar of Dibley is partly based on former inner London curate Joy Carroll, who now lives and works in the US with her husband the Rev Jim Wallis, Sojourners founder and Christian peace and justice campaigner. Wallis backs anti-poverty action, and his latest book God's Politics, which criticises both right and left, is a best seller.

Joy Carroll has written the story of her own life, her faith, her romance with Wallis and her involvement with the Vicar of Dibley in Beneath the Cassock.

Make Poverty History and the Live8 concerts received overwhelming support from the public, unlike the BBC2 show Jerry Springer - The Opera, which they absolve in spite of record complaints. Ekklesia was one of those Christian bodies defending the musical.

It is not known whether anyone has been commissioned to write a sitcom script to even the political balance by advocating the idea of making poverty permanent.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.