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The Vicar Of Dibley - Series 3
/Visual Entertainment Group . R4 . COLOR . 230 mins . PG . PAL


Dawn French once again dons her clergy robes and plays Geraldine Granger, the vicar of the sleepy town of Dibley. The complete third series of The Vicar of Dibley is subtitled Four Seasons in Dibley. Beginning with Autumn and ending with Summer, this collection of four episodes showcases the consistently humourous French and a entertaining cast of characters.

Alice: Well the pregnancy test said I'm not pregnant. The hamster didn't turn blue.
Geraldine: I'm sorry, I don't think I'm familiar with that particular test.

Alice: Oh yes, it's very common in Dibley. You go out and you buy a hamster, and you wee on it. And if it turns blue, you're pregnant.

In this collection of episodes, Geraldine must cope with a romance, a baby, a marriage proposal and a town without water. Each episode is scripted with an elegant wit and solid performances. Although Dawn French is a strong presence on screen, she is often upstaged by the more unbalanced characters of the town, including the dim witted Alice, the always inappropriate Owen and the “No, No, No, Yes” hilarity of Jim.

The bizarrre small town tale is not an original one, but this series manages to remain fresh, funny and blends the different aspects of religion, love and pop culture into a tighly written half hour comedy. It’s a shame there are only four episodes on this disc, and it seems like barely enough for a DVD release, however, the four seasonal episodes of The Vicar of Dibley are enjoyable because of scarpel sharp scripts and the endearing peformers of French and the rest of the cast.

Autumn: Alice and Hugo return from their extended honeymoon and Alice can’t understand why she has been gaining weight. While attempting to shed some light on Alice’s situation, Geraldine is also eagerly awaiting the arrival of David’s handsome brother, Simon.

Winter: The residents of Dibley are busily preparing for the Christmas season and in particular the nativity play. After an hilarious hebrew language laced audition, Alice and Hugo are chosen to play Mary and Joseph. The nativity play is performed through the streets of Dibley, but as the play reaches is finale, the birth of Jesus takes on a whole new meaning for the residents of Dibley.

Spring: Already clucky over the arrival of the new baby in town, Geraldine gets the surprise of her life when David proposes and she doesn’t refuse.

Summer: A scorcher of a summer is made more uncomfortable in Dibley when the water supply runs out and the water company decides they want to put a reservoir on Dibley. Geradline takes evasive action (she chains herself to the church) to try and stop the injustice.


A British television show presented in NTSC video being released in Australia is perplexing. While it’s great the show is being released in America, why don’t the PAL audience get their own transfer. Most televisions do come with the capability to watch NTSC video, but we really shouldn't have to worry about it with the DVD release of a British show in Australia.

Not only is this disc NTSC video, it’s a terrible NTSC video transfer. Here is something I never thought I would write about a DVD release, this series actually looks better on VHS! The opening titles are incredibly grainy and almost out of focus and the actual show doesn’t look much better. An overall softness is present over the entire duration of every episode and skin tones and colors are barely acceptable. Details are awful and there's a distracting ghostly shadow visible around each character on screen. This picture actually appears, for lack of a better word, dirty. I continually had the urge to Windex my screen hoping that it would improve the picture.

After I had written the above I thought that maybe I had been a little harsh, so I took another look at one of the episodes. Nope, I stand by what I said, this video transfer is atroscious.

The audio transfer is Dolby Digital stereo that’s a solid package with no major problems. Dialogue is clear, audible and easily understood and there are no sync issues. The charming soundtrack comes through well and sound effects, although minimal sound wonderful. Overall, a more than adequate audio transfer for this show.

Unlike the previous DVD releases of The Vicar of Dibley this disc actually comes with extras.

The Real Vicars of Dibley is a 30 minute BBC produced featurette about real life female vicars. This is the longest extra feature and it’s an interesting and often humourous look at the lives of some female vicars who, like Geradline, are very free spirited and open minded.

Ballykissdibley is a 10 minute comic relief sketch that has two characters from the British TV series Ballykissangel cross over and arrive in Dibley.

Comic Relief Red Nose Day Behind the Scenes Teaser is a very brief look at the making of the 1999 comic relief special. The cast and crew are interviewed and although this feature is short, it’s clear that the cast are very fond of each other and love working together.

The actual Red Nose Day special is also included and it's a 12 minute sketch involving Dibley playing host to a Hollywood film shoot. I had heard about this special as it features a fantastic cameo from JOHNNY DEPP (yes it’s actually him) and Fergie. Apparently, both this sketch and the Ballykissangel sketch only aired once on TV, so to have them on this DVD is fantastic.

The extra features are rounded out by cast bios and a photo gallery of 32 images.

The Vicar of Dibley is a wonderful British comedy and fans will certainly appreciate that this release comes with some worthy extras. If you can somehow get past (I can't) the woeful video transfer, each episode on this disc is a gem that can be watched over and over again.

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  •   And I quote...
    "The vicar saunters her way through the third series of this hilairous British comedy. Unfortunately, prayers for a decent video transfer have not been answered."
    - Rebecca Taylor
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DAV-S300
    • TV:
          Sony KDE 42XBR950 Plasma
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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