Vicar of Dibley fans fuming as BBC slap ‘offensive language’ warning on classic episodes

Fans of the BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley have criticised the broadcaster for putting warning labels on their episodes due to offensive language.

When watching the show on BBC iPlayer, viewers are informed that the show, which stars Dawn French as Vicar Geraldine Grander, “contains discriminatory language”.

While many modern-day shows now display content warnings for offensive language, sexual assault, or self-harm, fans were displeased that the sitcom, which originally aired between 1994 and 2000, was including it retroactively.

One fan said: “I can’t begin to imagine what’s remotely offensive about it. It’s just a brilliant, funny show. This is mad, it’s yet more wokery,” referring to the idea of being “woke” and politically correct.



Vicar of Dibley ran between 1994 to 2007

There is some edgy language in the show, particularly from the character of Owen Newitt, played by Roger Lloyd-Pack.

A BBC spokesman told The Scottish Sun: “Even much-loved shows can occasionally contain language that some people have an issue with and it’s standard industry practice to offer viewers guidance on that.”

This is the not the first time the BBC has come under fire in regards to “wokeness” with The Vicar of Dibley.



The Vicar of Dibley specials looked at recent real life events
The Vicar of Dibley specials looked at recent real life events

In 2020, the show aired special lockdown episodes, including one about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The sketch saw Reverend Geraldine address the killing of George Floyd, giving a short speech about racism, and taking the knee.

Viewers were upset that series writer Richard Curtis used the comedy show to promote “political” causes and a “woke” agenda.

One person tweeting: “I’m sick and tired of being lectured every time I turn on the TV and ultimately it will achieve nothing.”



The BBC received over 200 complaints for their Black Lives Matter episode last year, with viewers deeming it to be promoting a “woke” agenda

Another Twitter user wrote: “The BBC let themselves down with that Vicar of Dibley episode. It’s meant to be a comedy. People need to stop bringing #BlackLivesMatter into everything. Bore off.”

The BBC received over 200 complaints about the episode but both the BBC and star Dawn dismissed the criticism. The BBC said the storyline was in keeping “with the character and the theme of the show”.

Actor and comedian John Cleese tweeted in November 2020 that he would “like to apologise for the BBC” as they have been apologising for jokes made in content that aired several years ago.

A Vicar of Dibley fan responded: “I waited through the whole of an episode of The Vicar of Dibley wondering what the warning for “contains language that some viewers might find offensive” might be, only to find they had used a common colloquialism for a Chinese restaurant at the end.”

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