Hundreds complain to BBC over The Vicar Of Dibley’s Black Lives Matter scene

The BBC has received 266 complaints over a scene in The Vicar Of Dibley which referenced the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dawn French's character Reverend Geraldine Granger took the knee and delivered a sermon about racism in a special Christmas episode which aired last week.

The BBC has previously defended the scene, saying in a statement it "was in keeping with the character and the theme of the show".

Dawn French
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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

Earlier this month, French also appeared to dismiss complaints about the scene.

Amid criticism on social media from some who claimed the scene showed a lack of impartiality from the BBC, she 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 shows French's character being filmed by parishioner and farmer Owen Newitt as she tells the audience she has been preoccupied with the "horror show" of George Floyd's death and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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 scene, the vicar said that Dibley, the fictional Oxfordshire village in which the show is set, is "not the most diverse community".

Graham Norton Show - London
(Matt Crossick/PA)

She added: "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."

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

She said: "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 266 complaints came between December 7 and 20, according to the BBC.

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