Dawn French reacts to criticism over The Vicar Of Dibley’s BLM scene

Dawn French has appeared to dismiss criticism over The Vicar Of Dibley's forthcoming Black Lives Matter scene.

Reverend Geraldine Granger will take the knee and deliver a sermon about the anti-racism movement as the BBC comedy returns for a series of Christmas specials.

The show trended on Twitter over the weekend, with some claiming the scene showed a lack of impartiality at the broadcaster.

In an apparent response, French tweeted: "A lovely calm day, full of humanity, compassion and support all round..."

The 63-year-old later clarified in the comments that she was being "a tad ironic".

The scene in question, which features in one of three short lockdown specials, will see the vicar address the killing of George Floyd and the broader issue of racism.

The sketch begins with her being filmed by parishioner and farmer Owen Newitt as she emerges from her home after lockdown.

She tells the audience she has been preoccupied with the "horror show" of Mr Floyd's death and what she describes as "this Black Lives Matter thing".

Mr Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in May while being arrested by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sparking anti-racism protests around the world.

In the sketch, the vicar admits that Dibley, the fictional village in Oxfordshire where the show is set, is "not the most diverse community".

She continues: "But I don't think it matters where you are from. I think it matters that you do something about it, because Jesus would, wouldn't he?

"And, listen, I am aware all lives matter, obviously, but until all lives matter the same we are doing something very wrong. So I think we need to focus on justice for a huge chunk of our countrymen and women who seem to have a very bad, weird deal from the day they are born."

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Dawn French
Comediennes Dawn French (left) and Jennifer Saunders at a photocall before their stage show at London's Hammersmith Apollo. 21/12/03: comediennes Dawn French (left) and Jennifer Saunders who, it was revealed declined OBEs in 2001. The duo were just two of 300 top stars who were today named in a secret list of celebrities who have turned down the honours system.
Dawn French during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
Dawn French in the press room at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2017, Berkeley Square Gardens, London.
Dawn French attending the Absolutely Fabulous The Movie After Party held at Liberty Department Store in London.
Dawn French presents Jennifer Saunders with the Outstanding Contribution Award in the press room at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2016, Berkeley Square Gardens, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 7, 2016. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Dawn French arriving at the Press Night for Photograph 51, the Noel Coward Theatre, London. Photo Copyright: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Dawn French attending the wedding of Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and Formula 1 boss Christian Horner at St Mary's Church in Woburn, Bedfordshire.
Jennifer Saunders (left) and Dawn French attend the wedding of Ben Springett and Clair Gilchrist, that has been planned by Miranda Hart as part of her BT Mad March Challenge. The wedding took place at the Westminster Registry Office in London.
Dawn French at the 2012 Pride of Britain awards at Grosvenor House, London.
Dawn French arriving at the opening night of musical Jesus Christ Superstar at the O2 in London.
Dawn French arriving at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2011, Berkeley Square, London.
Dawn French and Lenny Henry who won the Milton Shulman award for most Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.
Dawn French (left) and Jennifer Saunders (right) recieve the Academy Fellowship award at the British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall in central London.
Dawn French during a book signing session for her autobiography 'Dear Fatty', at Waterstone's in Piccadilly, central London.
Undated Optomen Television handout showing comedienne Dawn French being kissed by chef Gordon Ramsay in a scene from Ramsay's show The F Word which is to be shown on Channel 4 on Tuesday May 8.
Dawn French (R) and Alison Moyet perform on stage during a photocall for their new play (directed by Burke), ' Smaller', from the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, central London, Friday 31 March 2006. PRESS ASSOCIATION PHOTO. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA
Dawn French arrives for the Royal Film Performance & World Premiere of 'The Chronicles Of Narnia', from the Royal Albert Hall, west London, Wednesday 7 December 2005. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA
Dawn French.
Dawn French (left) and Jennifer Saunders during Betty Jackson Spring/Summer 2004 collection as part of London Fashion Week at the Duke of York's Headquarter's in Central London.
Comedienne, Dawn French playing Bottom in the forthcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, at the Albery Theatre, London.
TV funnyman Lenny Henry and comic wife Dawn French pose for photographs at Buckingham Palace in London after Lenny was presented with a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) from Her Majesty the Queen.
Comedian Dawn French chats to the Queen during a reception for the Arts at Windsor Castle tonight (Wednesday). Photograph by Fiona Hanson/PA

She then walks to the parish noticeboard and tears down two posters, one about decimalisation and the other about a missing button.

She says: "I think that in Dibley perhaps we should think about taking down some of these old notices like this and that, and perhaps we should put up one like this instead."

After replacing them with a home-made Black Lives Matter poster, she takes the knee.

The scene strikes a more serious tone than the rest of the episode, in which she discusses online quizzes and alcohol consumption.

French has previously shown her support for the movement, tweeting: "Black Lives Matter. This is a fact not a slogan."

Written by the show's co-creators, Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, the lockdown episodes will see the vicar communicating with her parishioners via video call.

– The Vicar Of Dibley In Lockdown starts on BBC One on December 7 at 8.50pm, following a repeat of a classic episode of The Vicar Of Dibley.

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