Beneath the Cassock- The Vicar of Dibley and Marjon

I have to say, I love British comedy. Long time ago there were Thursdays, when a horrible day at school would be forgotten because of The Young Ones and their shenanigans. There were, Tuesdays when the home life would just stop for 20 minutes because everyone would be watching Monty Python. There were Sundays with two highlights: my grandma’s dinner and Hyacinth Keeping Up Appearances and making a fool of herself once again. And now after those years the British comedy just keeps on giving, when I discovered The Vicar of Dibley. Why I am telling you all this? Of course there is a reason and, as always, it is a ‘Marjon reason’.
When the serial was in its planning stage it became apparent that there is a need to ‘model’ Geraldine Granger on somebody. There was a need for an example, a consultant who would answer all the awkward questions about life as a female clergy. That person was Joy Carrol and she was one of ours.
Photo0958There is a book called Beneath the Cassock: the Real Life Vicar of Dibley and it is a story of Joy Carrol, her life, her pastoral work her role in the production of The Vicar of Dibley. There is much more than that as there always is with the books dealing with an important moment in the history. I am referring to the time when women rights to priesthood were finally recognized. I knew next to nothing on that subject, nothing about the tensions inside the world of clergy and how the women changed the dynamics inside it. Now I can finally see the humans behind the bibles and ‘dog collars’. At the same time I learned about the actual experiences of Joy Carrol both inside the church and outside of it. And I was a little chagrined when I read that she was more of a party goer/ activist than an academic:-). Still, the book is a riveting read. Check it out if you have the chance.
The Vicar of Dibley was written and performed with the intent to show priesthood, especially female priesthood, in a positive light. And I think they succeeded spectacularly. I have never seen a serial so good-natured and funny. At the same time I can say: we had fingers in that pie too!:-)

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