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Dawn French talks breaking down on set filming tribute to Emma Chambers

The special episode features a heartwarming tribute to the Alice Tinker actress

Francesca Shillcock

The new episodes of Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown have finally arrived on our screens, and we're loving seeing the stars of the beloved sitcom all over again.

MORE: Remembering Vicar of Dibley castmates who have sadly passed away

The episode, filmed during lockdown, will no doubt be filled with amazing reunions and hilarious one-liners from everyone's favourite vicar, Geraldine Granger, but it seems it was an emotional rollercoaster for leading star Dawn French.

Speaking to The Mirror ahead of the sitcom's return, the actress explained that filming the tribute segment to late star Emma Chambers, who played the role of Alice Tinker in the original series, was difficult.

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WATCH: Dawn French returns as Geraldine Granger in The Vicar of Dibley

"Along with all the silly, funny stuff, there is a moment where we pay tribute to Alice and that was not easy to film," she began. "Honestly, I had to do it seven times. I didn't get through it once without tears but it's really important to remember this is where real life and Dibley come together."

Praising the sitcom's writers for incorporating the sad passing of Emma into the script, the actress and author continued: "Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer have got this skill of making stuff funny and light but also being truthful and honest."

MORE: The Vicar of Dibley fans are all saying the same thing about the show's return

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Emma Chambers sadly died in 2018 aged 53

Along with honouring Emma, the special lockdown episode will also pay tribute to other co-stars who have passed away since the show wrapped in 2007. Other late actors from the sitcom include Roger Lloyd-Pack, John Bluthal and Liz Smith, who played Owen, Frank and Letitia on the show respectively.

Speaking on The One Show in November, Dawn said: "Richard Curtis, Paul Mayhew-Archer and I decided, 'What would Geraldine be doing at Christmas?' She'd be Zooming her parishioners and ministering to them like that, so that's what we've done. It's ten minutes long but it's three little sermons so it takes us all the way through the lockdown." 

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