By Georgia Farquharson published
Dawn French makes surprising admission about her famous Vicar of Dibley character.
Dawn French is synonymous with her much-loved Vicar of Dibley character, Geraldine—whom she played for four years from 1994 to 1998.
And while the nation loved Geraldine more than most, the comedian has confessed she’s since found herself apologizing to real-life reverends.
Dawn—who recently debuted her new grey hair—admitted women in the church are often nicknamed “Geraldine” after the star. To which she usually responds, “'I'm so sorry.”
Thankfully, Dawn’s hilarious portrayal of church life has “normalized” women of the cloth.
Speaking to Rylan Clark-Neal on his Ry-Union podcast, Dawn explained, “They say, ‘Don't say sorry, because it normalised it all' – that's the power of comedy.”
Dawn went on to reveal that she researched her character through conversations with Joy Caroll—one of the first ever female vicars.
Detailing the questions she’d ask her when preparing for Geraldine, Dawn listed, “'I needed to ask her questions… how you wear the dog collar with the dress? What do you earn? Are you allowed to s**g your boyfriend? She just opened her heart.”
Dawn’s schedule is far less gruelling than it used to be during the Vicar of Dibley days, and she’s since relocated to Cornwall to enjoy her “autumn years”.
Citing her reasons behind the decision to leave London in 2006, she told Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast she found city life too much.
There always seemed too much to do in London for Dawn. “I find the clutter of it overwhelming. I think I’m not meant for a city… that isn’t the real me. The real me is quiet.”
Whereas in Cornwall, Dawn feels calm. “There is, without a doubt, beauty here. I can do nothing but connect with that.
“It makes me calm, it makes me happier and it sort of enthuses my mind with better ways of thinking.”
Dawn utilises this time and space to put pen to paper, and is now a hugely successful author.
One of Dawn’s most recent books, Because of You is described as a “tear-jerker” in which the power of mother love will be tested to its limits.
And it’s something Dawn—who recently sold her home in Cornwall for a more low-key lifestyle—has experience with, having shared a rocky relationship with her daughter over the years.
Opening up about their challenges, Dawn previously said, “I haven’t got a kid who wants to read with me and have adventures with me, I’ve got a different kind of kid who’s a different kind of set of challenges and that’s been my lesson.
“Our relationship exists in a bizarre kind of process of peacetime, small battles, war. The peacetime is much more than the other two energies, but we have our wars.”
Despite their differences, it seems Dawn and Billie are in a better place now. “My biggest test and my biggest joy,” she said of her relationship with Billie. “But it is unbreakable."
Georgia writes across Woman & Home and Good to Know and specialises in all things royal. Previously labelled the "Queen of the royals," Georgia knows the whose who and what's what when it comes to the monarchy. When she's not eagerly following the royal family, Georgia enjoys shopping and self-care. She lives with this motto in mind; "if your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough."
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