"I hope it's not like Dibley", said at least one vicar's wife. "Dibley" did appear, but only as a term of abuse to greet Adam, a vicar moving to an inner city London parish.Rev is a new series on BBC2 that started this week, starring Tom Hollander. My worry is that the Vicar Hollander played would be similarly wet and useless as some other characters he's played, such as the (Government) Minister in In the Loop. I'm not yet he's going to avoid that as we already see that he can't stand up to the manipulative and oily Archdeacon, deliciously played by the ever-watchable Simon McBurney. The Vicar of Dibley was rightly a huge success, but didn't really have any interest in the faith or work of the Vicar despite her being the central character. But it did at least put an unusually human and positive face on that Vicar, complete with interesting weaknesses. The supporting cast were caricatures with little complexity.Rev does have it's stock characters too, such as the scheming ex-MP. But I can forgive this, as it already shows much more interesting character plotting and subtle interplay between Adam Smallbone, his wife Alex, and what I expect to become the other major characters Nigel and Colin. Most encouraging, though, is that the writer James Woods seems to be interested in getting under the skin of this role, and not just play for cheap laughs. And knowing a vicar or two and their work quite well, I'd say he's done a good job of it. I look forward to seeing of the crises of conscience, and the tensions between the roles and realities of the relationship between Adam and his wife. We also hear Adam's thoughts as as he sits contemplating what's going on, praying without it being childish, embarrassing or out of place.So I hope that Rev shows not just another human face of the clergy, but shows more of what this complex vocation is all about. And to continue doing it through my ideal kind of comedy: subtle but with the odd belly laugh too.Just one word of warning: there is occasionally more colourful language than one might expect ... but still I'd highly recommend catching a few episodes.

AuthorJonathan Clark