Dawn French has appeared to dismiss criticism over The Vicar Of Dibley’s forthcoming Black Lives Matter scene in the sitcom’s Christmas episode.
Ms French, 63, will take the knee and deliver a sermon about the BLM movement as she plays Reverend Geraldine Granger in the hit TV show.
The BBC came under fire for the controversial story line over the weekend, with many on social media slamming the broadcaster for promoting a political cause and failing to remain impartial.
Actor Lawrence Fox wrote: ‘A sermon from the high altar of the church of moral superiority, the BBC. This virtuous false enlightenment allows them to ignore the charter to educate the great unwashed. Do your job! #DefundTheBBC.’
But in an apparent response to the backlash, Ms French tweeted: ‘A lovely calm day, full of humanity, compassion and support all round…’
Dawn French, 63, will take the knee and deliver a sermon about the movement as she plays Reverend Geraldine Granger in the hit TV show
In an apparent response to the backlash, Ms French tweeted: ‘A lovely calm day, full of humanity, compassion and support all round…’
Ms French later said in the comments that she was being ‘a tad ironic’.
The scene in question, which features in one of three short lockdown specials, will see the vicar address the killing of George Floyd and the broader issue of racism.
News of the episode sparked widespread backlash on social media with Twitter users calling for the broadcaster to be de-funded.
Neil Hamilton wrote: ‘The BBC are done. Time to take the axe. #DefundTheBBC.’
Another Twitter user wrote: ‘The Vicar of Dibley takes the knee, so let’s #DefundTheBBC.’
The BBC came under fire from Twitter users over the weekend, who called for the publicly-funded broadcasting company to be defunded entirely
The controversial sketch begins with her being filmed by parishioner and farmer Owen Newitt as she emerges from her home after lockdown.
She tells the audience she has been preoccupied with the ‘horror show’ of Mr Floyd’s death and what she describes as ‘this Black Lives Matter thing’.
Mr Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in May while being arrested by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sparking anti-racism protests around the world.
In the sketch, the vicar admits that Dibley, the fictional village in Oxfordshire where the show is set, is ‘not the most diverse community’.
The scene in question, which features in one of three short lockdown specials, will see the vicar address the killing of George Floyd and the broader issue of racism
She continues: ‘But I don’t think it matters where you are from. I think it matters that you do something about it, because Jesus would, wouldn’t he?
‘And, listen, I am aware all lives matter, obviously, but until all lives matter the same we are doing something very wrong. So I think 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 are born.’
She then walks to the parish noticeboard and tears down two posters, one about decimalisation and the other about a missing button.
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.’
After replacing them with a home-made Black Lives Matter poster, she takes the knee.
The scene strikes a more serious tone than the rest of the episode, in which she discusses online quizzes and alcohol consumption.
French has previously shown her support for the movement, tweeting: ‘Black Lives Matter. This is a fact not a slogan.’
Written by the show’s co-creators, Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, the lockdown episodes will see the vicar communicating with her parishioners via video call.
A BBC spokesperson: ‘The Vicar of Dibley Christmas Sermons reflects on the events of 2020 including clapping for the NHS, Black Lives Matter and school exams being cancelled amongst others.
‘Geraldine is a well-established fictional character of a much loved comedy who gives her take on the key moments of the year.
‘Audiences understand the difference between news and comedy content, and the sermons do not breach the BBC’s impartiality guidelines.’
The Vicar Of Dibley In Lockdown starts on BBC One on December 7 at 8.50pm, following a repeat of a classic episode of The Vicar Of Dibley.