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The Vicar of Dibley : Playing Harry Kennedy

Harry Kennedy is an accountant who moves into the village, much to the disgust of Geraldine.

"The vicar is against city folk moving into the village, pushing house prices up and using it as a base rather than mixing with the locals, so at first her mission is to tell him to either shove off back to London or become part of the community. But when she meets him, there's a real spark and she realises that he's what she's looking for." [1]

And Geraldine is just what Harry has been looking for.

"Harry is a financial whizz kid who has burnt out. He's moved to Dibley to find a community to be part of. He's not an arrogant idiot, he's a sensitive guy, and he's completely bowled over by Geraldine." [2]

"He quickly discovers that most people in the village are insane. He realises that Geraldine is the only sane one and hooks onto her. But he also meets all the characters in the village through her, and her amusement with them and love for them is exactly what he is looking for... great English eccentrics!" [3]

Richard Armitage seems to have had few doubts about taking the role. "I was sitting on a train, reading the scripts, and crying with laughter, and all these businessmen were turning round tutting at me. You don't often read scripts that make you laugh out loud." [4]

The experience of making Vicar of Dibley was a happy one. "That was a great relief for me after spending six months with a scowl on my face - to then spend four weeks laughing was a great tonic." [5]

"Dawn is such fun to work with; there's a little child inside her who comes out when she gets on the set. It was hard to keep a straight face. I'd be on the verge of collapsing with laughter, but I'd just manage to make it through the scene." [1]

The two episodes were filmed in October/November 2006. "Working towards Christmas in that kind of atmosphere was a gift. She's such a lovely woman, very inspiring. It's quite democratic, the process that they go through on that show. Everyone has an input and my opinion was valued as much as anybody's, so it was a great experience for me." [5]

But he was initially apprehensive. "It took a long time before I stopped sitting there, looking across the table and saying, 'What the f--- am I doing here?' I have done very little comedy and I'm so not funny and Dawn is probably one of the funniest women in the country.

"But the fantastic thing about Dawn was that she completely destroyed my fears about comedians. I'd always thought they would be the funniest people but she was tentative with everybody, particularly with me, and she found out where my sense of humour was lying and started to play with me. Once she'd located it, she started pushing my buttons.

"We actually have very similar senses of humour and ... it occurred to me the reason we have similar senses of humour is that I grew up watching French & Saunders, so my sense of humour had been shaped by her." [6]

Of course, the scene the audience is waiting for in the show is the one where Geraldine kisses her new man.

"I don't want to give too much away, but there is extended lip contact. It took quite a few takes because we were laughing so much." [1]

And as to what might happen after the cameras stop rolling? "I like to think that Harry and Geraldine are happy, living in an eternal Christmas land... wearing woolly jumpers and eating chocolate." [7]



[1] Daily Mail Weekend magazine 23 - 30 Dec 2006
[2] TV Quick 23 Dec-5 Jan 2006/7
[3] TV Times 23 Dec-5 Jan 2006/7
[4] The Story of Dibley, documentary broadcast on BBC One, 10th January 2007
[5] Interview on The Joanna Bostock Show, BBC Radio Leicester, 2nd October 2007
[6] Sydney Morning Herald, 10th December 2007
[7] Inside Soap, 6-12th October 2007

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