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

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/11/2020 – Programme Name: The Vicar Of Dibley in Lockdown – TX: 07/12/2020 – Episode: The Vicar Of Dibley in Lockdown (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: The Reverend Geraldine Granger (DAWN FRENCH) – (C) Tiger Aspect Productions Ltd – Photographer: Des Willie
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/11/2020 – Programme Name: The Vicar Of Dibley in Lockdown – TX: 07/12/2020 – Episode: The Vicar Of Dibley in Lockdown (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: The Reverend Geraldine Granger (DAWN FRENCH) – (C) Tiger Aspect Productions Ltd – Photographer: Des Willie

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”.

Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2017 – Press Room – London
Dawn French (Ian West/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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