The Vicar of Dibley's Dawn French reveals her struggle to film late Emma Chambers tribute in emotional Christmas special

THE Vicar of Dibley actress Dawn French admitted her personal struggles as she filmed a segment dedicated to Alice Tinker – played by sadly deceased Emma Chambers – in the show's Christmas Special.

Dawn, who will resume her role as Geraldine Grainger of the Parish of Dibley for three 10-minute episodes this festive period, spoke candidly of her emotions while recording the eulogy.

Previously, BBC bosses delighted Vicar of Dibley loyals as they confirmed there would be a reference to loveable Alice in the new instalments.

Actress Emma sadly passed away aged 53, in 2018, and bosses vowed her much-loved role was "still an important presence in the village".

Speaking on today's Lorraine, Dawn, 63, said of the fresh scripts: "We try to be light and funny but we also remember those who aren't with us any more, and there's a eulogy to Alice there, which wasn't very easy for me to film, but was important to do."

Host Lorraine Kelly added: "I bet, because she was fantastic wasn't she Emma," to which Dawn gushed: "Yeah."

Lorraine continued: "And she was taken away too soon – far too soon.

"I used to love the wee bit at the end where she (Geraldine) used to do the jokes and she (Alice) just didn't get them – you just used to feel better watching that show."

Giving a glimpse into the heart-warming scenes to come, Dawn then revealed: "We do have Hugo Horton, Alice's husband, and there is a lovely moment where I tell a joke to him and you know – fingers crossed he might get it at last!"

It was recently confirmed there will also be a touching tribute to those who died from coronavirus in the newly-penned scenes.

There will be three, 10-minute episodes spread over the holiday period.

A 30-minute compilation show of all three sermons will also air during the Christmas season on the BBC.

Geraldine will make her rib-tickling return in the midst of two lockdowns – an all too familiar scenario in real life – during which she has been writing and delivering her sermons online via Zoom.

They feature a funny balance of technical mishaps as well as her thoughts and feelings on lockdown life – and chocolate.

The new episodes will air after repeat showings of The Vicar of Dibley episodes on BBC One over Christmas.

Season one is currently available on BBC iPlayer.

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