The Vicar of Dibley is often considered one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. With its hugely funny one-liners and brilliant storyline, Dawn French and co. became a staple on our TV screens as the beloved residents of Dibley and the show remains popular to this day, with the BBC even confirming that the show will be returning with three more episodes over Christmas!
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Over the years, many stars appeared in the comedy such as James Fleet and Emma Chambers, and of course Dawn as Geraldine Granger. However, since the show aired its last special in 2007, a number of the much-loved castmates have sadly passed away. To pay tribute to them and celebrate their career, take a look below...
The sitcom is considered one the greats
Emma Chambers played Alice Tinker (later Alice Horton) who was the Verger in the church alongside Geraldine. Alice was known for her lovable but slightly dim nature who went on to marry fellow Dibley resident Hugo (played by James Fleet). Throughout her acting career, Emma also appeared in Notting Hill, Drop the Dead Donkey and How Do You Want me. Sadly, in February 2018, Emma suffered a heart attack and passed away aged 53.
Emma died in 2018
Her co-star and close friend Dawn French paid tribute to the actress. "This has been a very shocking and sad loss," she told Lorraine Kelly. "Far too young and I think we're all still reeling a little bit from it. My memories of working with Emma are some of my most favourite memories of my whole career. She's a massively diligent person, much unlike [her Vicar of Dibley character] Alice. She was incredibly bright. Very funny, very knowing and yet she was able to play someone who was in a different world.
Playing the role of Owen Newitt was Roger Lloyd-Pack. Roger become well-known and loved for his role as Owen; however, earlier on his career he had already made a name for himself playing the role of Trigger in other much-loved sitcom Only Fools and Horses. In later years, he also had roles in Doctor Who and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Roger died in 2014
In February 2014, Roger sadly died from pancreatic cancer aged 69. His funeral was held at St. Pauls, Convent Garden and was attended by plenty of well-known TV stars who knew and worked with the actor over the years including Sir David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Nigel Havers.
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John Bluthal played the role of loveable Frank Pickle in the comedy, but the actor was established in his acting career before appearing in the show. He began acting in the sixties and has appeared in films such as three of the Carry On films, The Fifth Element and Hail Ceasar!, and TV shows such as 'Allo 'Allo, Last of the Summer Wine and Jonathan Creek. On 16 November 2018, his agent confirmed that the actor had passed away from natural causes aged 89 in Australia. Dawn remembered her co-star after his sad death, writing on Twitter: "Tons of happy laughs remembered today. Cheeky, naughty, hilarious. Bye darlin' Bluey."
John passed away in 2018
Liz Smith, born Betty Gleadle, played Letitia Cropley in the sitcom. As well as the Vicar of Dibley, the actress was equally as well known for playing Norma Speakman (Nana) in The Royle Family from 1998 until 2000. Prior to her time on these two shows, she had appeared in the film A Private Function, for which she won a BAFTA for her supporting role, and 2point4 Children.
Liz died in 2016
On 24 December 2016, Liz died at home just three days before her 95th birthday. Shane Allen, controller of BBC comedy commissioning, said that Smith had "brilliantly captured the grandparent in everyone's family" as Nana in The Royle Family.
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