The Vicar of Dibley-The Specials (2004) (NTSC)

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Released 2-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Dibley Defrocked
Featurette-2005 Comic Relief Sketch
Biographies-Cast & Crew-Behind The Scenes Teaser For 1999 Red Nose Day
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 101:41 (Case: 125)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gareth Carrivick
John Howard Davies
Dewi Humphreys

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Dawn French
Gary Waldhorn
Emma Chambers
James Fleet
John Bluthal
Roger Lloyd-Pack
Trevor Peacock
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Howard Goodall

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Vicar of Dibley is one of the great English comedy series, along with shows like Black Adder, Mr Bean and Fawlty Towers. Leaving aside Fawlty Towers the others all have something in common besides being English. Richard Curtis was involved with writing all of them. He is definitely one of the greatest comedy writers ever to hail from the British Isles. Besides those mentioned above he also wrote for Not the Nine O'Clock News and Spitting Image and wrote both Bridget Jones films, Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings & a Funeral.

    The Vicar of Dibley is set in the small village of Dibley in rural England and features the weird and amusing inhabitants of the village. The main character is the village Vicar, Geraldine Grainger (Dawn French) who is 'a babe, with a bob and a magnificent bosum'. In Series 1 she arrived in this small village as their new Vicar much to the consternation of the villagers, as they were expecting a man. However, over the three series she was accepted as the vicar and has become a very popular member of the community, especially with some of the menfolk. The other villagers who appear regularly in this series are

    After the third series in 2000, there were no new Vicar of Dibley shows until these specials were released, except for a few small skits for charity. This disc contains two  approximately 50 minute specials made in 2004 for airing on the BBC at Christmas and New Year 2004/05 and another shorter charity special in the extras. These shows still have their very funny moments, however, I think the format is getting a little tired and clichéd and the second of these shows is more about how terrible poverty is than anything else. Whilst I understand that this is a serious issue, I feel it's a little overdone in this case, especially when you buy a DVD expecting a comedy show.

    The shows included here are:

  1. Merry Christmas 2004 (53:58) - It is Geraldine's 10th anniversary in Dibley and the town decides to have a competition to make up a new Christmas Carol in her honour. A rumour starts that Geraldine is gay which has David up in arms. David gives the house away to Hugo and Alice as a tax dodge with interesting results and Geraldine considers a new job. There is some funny material here and this is the pick of the two specials. Rachel Hunter guests.
  2. Happy New Year 2005 (47:43) - Geraldine wants the town to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Live Aid and it's also her 40th birthday which she doesn't want to celebrate. The villagers try to find her a boyfriend by sending her speed dating. As I mentioned above the overdone poverty lecture in this episode reduces its comedic value, although there are certainly funny scenes.

    This disc is definitely worth having for Vicar of Dibley fans, however it is not quite up to the standard of the original series.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good and certainly superior to the video quality of the third series. It is however still in NTSC which is consistent with the previous releases.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is most likely the original aspect ratio. It is very disappointing that this DVD is presented in NTSC format considering that it is a television production originating from a PAL country. All three seasons of this show have been formatted in this way and it seems to be an issue with rights. There is also some light grain.

    The picture was reasonably sharp and clear, with no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was ordinary. There was a bit of shimmering about, especially on camera pans.

    The colour was quite decent, and certainly much better than the third series, although there was some colour bleeding particularly from reds, which seemed a little oversaturated. There was also bleeding from light colours such as white, some variations in colour from time to time and some chroma noise.

    Other than those mentioned above there were no overt artefacts.

    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is fine.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync, which is of course critical in a comedy show.

    The music by Howard Goodall does its job but doesn't stand out. The theme song is sung by a real church choir and was originally written for a hymn.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu was simple and still.

Dibley Defrocked (10:56)

    This is presented 4x3 and is a behind-the-scenes featurette on the filming of these specials in front of a live audience. It covers the process the actors went through including rehearsals and also shows make-up and various goofs. Quite entertaining.

2005 Comedy Relief Special (14:08)

    This is an amusing short special where Antiques Roadshow visits Dibley and there are a number of surprises, mostly regarding the authenticity of David's painting collection.

Cast Biographies

    Text bios for Dawn French, Gary Waldhorn, James Fleet, Emma Chambers, John Bluthal, Trevor Peacock, Roger Lloyd-Pack and writers Richard Curtis & Paul Mayhew-Archer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release is identical to the Region 1 release. The Region 2 release includes some extra things as follows:

    On this basis I would buy the Region 2 product.


    The latest specials from The Vicar of Dibley.

    The video quality is good and significantly better than season three although still in NTSC.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The disc has a small selection of quality extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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