The Beloved Cast of The Vicar of Dibley

Debuting in 1994, the British sitcom “The Vicar of Dibley” captured the hearts of audiences worldwide with its witty dialogue, quirky characters, and heartwarming portrayal of rural life. Set in the fictional village of Dibley in Oxfordshire, the show revolved around the arrival of Reverend Geraldine Granger, the first female vicar to be appointed to the parish.

The show’s success stemmed in large part from its remarkable cast, who brought the eccentric residents of Dibley to life with genuine charm and comedic brilliance. Let’s delve into the lives and careers of the actors who made “The Vicar of Dibley” a television classic.

Dawn French (Reverend Geraldine Granger)

Dawn French served as the lynchpin of the series. Her portrayal of the unconventional and good-natured Geraldine Granger, a modern vicar who challenged traditional notions of the clergy, was both hilarious and endearing. French, a household name in the UK thanks to her comedic partnership with French and Saunders, brought her impeccable timing and improvisational skills to the role.

Following “The Vicar of Dibley,” French continued to grace screens with her comedic talents, appearing in shows like “French & Saunders,” “French and French,” and “The French Collection.” She has also established herself as a dramatic actress, taking on roles in “The Full Monty” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

Richard Griffiths (David Horton)

The ever-reliable foil to Geraldine’s progressive ways was David Horton, the delightfully pompous chairman of the Dibley Parish Council. Played by the late Richard Griffiths, David was a man of old-fashioned principles who found himself constantly bewildered by Geraldine’s unorthodox methods. Griffiths’s portrayal was a masterclass in comedic timing, his exasperated reactions and withering glances perfectly complementing French’s vivacious performance.

A highly respected character actor, Griffiths was known for his commanding stage presence and versatility. He had a prolific career spanning theater, film, and television, with notable roles in “Withnail and I,” “The History Boys,” and the “Harry Potter” series as Vernon Dursley.

Emma Chambers (Alice Horton)

David’s long-suffering wife, Alice Horton, was the voice of reason amidst the chaos. Played by the effervescent Emma Chambers, Alice possessed a dry wit and a tolerant nature, often caught between her husband’s conservatism and Geraldine’s modernism. Chambers brought a relatable warmth to the character, making Alice a beloved member of the Dibley ensemble.

While “The Vicar of Dibley” established Chambers as a popular comedic actress, she also showcased her dramatic talents in films like “Notting Hill” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Sadly, the world lost her vibrant presence in 2018.

Adrian Scarborough (Hugo Horton)

Completing the Horton family was David and Alice’s son, Hugo. Played by Adrian Scarborough, Hugo was a social outcast with a penchant for the macabre. Scarborough’s portrayal was both quirky and endearing, making Hugo a scene-stealer despite his limited screentime.

Scarborough has enjoyed a successful career in British television, appearing in shows like “Gavin & Stacey,” “Sherlock,” and “Doctor Who.” He has also established himself as a prolific stage actor, performing in various productions across the West End.

Trevor Peacock (Cedric Charlton)

The quintessential grumpy old man of Dibley was Cedric Charlton, the village butcher with a penchant for gossip and pessimism. Played by the inimitable Trevor Peacock, Cedric provided a constant source of amusement with his acerbic wit and disapproving demeanor. Peacock’s gruff charm perfectly embodied the character, making Cedric a relatable curmudgeon.

Peacock was a veteran character actor with a long list of credits to his name before “The Vicar of Dibley.” He continued to appear in various television shows and films throughout his career, leaving behind a legacy of memorable performances.

Penelope Wilton (Harriet Boyce)

The epitome of upper-class snobbery was Harriet Boyce, the Dibley resident who embodied the show’s social satire. Played by the ever-so-proper Penelope Wilton, Harriet looked down on her fellow villagers with a disdainful air, providing a constant source of comedic tension. Wilton’s portrayal was spot-on, her clipped pronunciations and haughty demeanor perfectly capturing the character’s essence.

A renowned stage actress, Wilton has graced screens large and small throughout her career. She is known for her roles in “Downton Abbey,” “Doctor Who,” and the recent revival of “Up Pompeii!”

FAQs

What is Dawn French best known for?

Dawn French is a British comedy legend. While “The Vicar of Dibley” cemented her status as a household name, she is perhaps best known for her comedic partnership with Jennifer Saunders in the iconic double act “French and Saunders.” Together, they produced hilarious sketches and parodies that left audiences in stitches.

Did Richard Griffiths appear in anything else besides The Vicar of Dibley?

Richard Griffiths was a highly respected character actor who graced both stage and screen. While his portrayal of David Horton in “The Vicar of Dibley” was widely loved, he boasts a filmography rich with notable roles. He brought his booming voice and talent for character acting to films like “Withnail and I,” the “Harry Potter” series as Vernon Dursley, and the acclaimed play and film adaptation of “The History Boys.”

What happened to Emma Chambers, the actress who played Alice Horton?

The passing of Emma Chambers in 2018 was a significant loss to the British acting scene.  She brought warmth and humor to the role of Alice Horton. Beyond “The Vicar of Dibley,” Chambers showcased her versatility in films like “Notting Hill” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Is Adrian Scarborough still acting?

Adrian Scarborough, who played the delightfully odd Hugo Horton, continues to be a prominent figure in British television. He has graced our screens in shows like “Gavin & Stacey,” “Sherlock,” and even lent his talents to the iconic “Doctor Who.”  He is also a well-respected stage actor, performing in various productions across the West End.

Who played the grumpy butcher, Cedric Charlton?

The ever-disgruntled butcher with a heart of gold, Cedric Charlton, was brought to life by the talented Trevor Peacock.  Peacock was a seasoned character actor with a long career before “The Vicar of Dibley.” He continued to grace our screens with his gruff charm in various television shows and films throughout his career.

Is Penelope Wilton known for anything else besides The Vicar of Dibley?

Penelope Wilton, who played the snooty Harriet Boyce, is a dame of British theater and television.  While her portrayal of Harriet in “The Vicar of Dibley” provided comedic fodder, she is much more than just a snob on screen.  She is renowned for her dramatic talents, having starred in shows like “Downton Abbey” and “Doctor Who.”

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