Dawn French had to film tribute to late actress Emma Chambers seven times for The Vicar Of Dibley

Dawn French has emotionally revealed that she had to film a tribute to late actress Emma Chambers seven times for The Vicar Of Dibley festive reboot.

In the upcoming episodes, Dawn’s, 63, character Geraldine Granger will pay pay homage to her best friend and the much-loved Alice Tinker in moving scenes. 

Emma, who starred in the sitcom for 13 years, died of natural causes, thought to be a heart attack in February 2018. 

Emotional: Dawn French has emotionally revealed that she had to film a tribute to late actress Emma Chambers seven times for The Vicar Of Dibley festive reboot

Emotional: Dawn French has emotionally revealed that she had to film a tribute to late actress Emma Chambers seven times for The Vicar Of Dibley festive reboot

Emotional: Dawn French has emotionally revealed that she had to film a tribute to late actress Emma Chambers seven times for The Vicar Of Dibley festive reboot

Talking about the upcoming tribute, Dawn said that she couldn’t get through the scene once without tears and that it took her seven times to film.

She told the Mirror that she still hasn’t been able to watch the emotional episode back, adding: ‘Along with all the silly, funny stuff, there is a moment where we pay tribute to Alice and that was not easy to film.

‘Honestly, I had to do it seven times. I didn’t get through it once without tears but it’s really important to remember this is where real life and Dibley come together.’

Dawn also praised The Vicar Of Dibley creators Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer for being ‘truthful and honest’ while writing the reboot.

Heartbreaking: In the upcoming episodes, Dawn's, 63, character Geraldine Granger will pay pay homage to her best friend and the much-loved Alice Tinker in moving scenes

Heartbreaking: In the upcoming episodes, Dawn's, 63, character Geraldine Granger will pay pay homage to her best friend and the much-loved Alice Tinker in moving scenes

Heartbreaking: In the upcoming episodes, Dawn’s, 63, character Geraldine Granger will pay pay homage to her best friend and the much-loved Alice Tinker in moving scenes 

She added: ‘Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer have got this skill of making stuff funny and light but also being truthful and honest.’

Last week, Dawn also spoke about the emotional scene on an episode of Lorraine, she said: ‘There is a eulogy to Alice there which wasn’t very easy for me to film which was important for me to do.’ 

And while the show will no longer have those classic post-credits scenes where Geraldine tells Alice a joke which she doesn’t understand, Dawn said there will be a nod to that. 

She teased: ‘We do have Hugo Horton, Alice’s husband, he is there with me, James Fleet plays him, and there is a lovely moment when I tell a joke to him and fingers crossed he might get it at last.’

Tragic: Emma, who starred in the sitcom for 13 years, died of natural causes, thought to be a heart attack in February 2018 (pictured in 1999)

Tragic: Emma, who starred in the sitcom for 13 years, died of natural causes, thought to be a heart attack in February 2018 (pictured in 1999)

Tragic: Emma, who starred in the sitcom for 13 years, died of natural causes, thought to be a heart attack in February 2018 (pictured in 1999) 

Dawn previously said: ‘This has been a very shocking and sad loss. Far too young and I think we’re all still reeling a little bit from it.

‘My memories of working with Emma are some of my most favourite memories of my whole career. She’s a massively diligent person, much unlike [her character] Alice. 

‘She was incredibly bright. Very funny, very knowing and yet she was able to play someone who was in a different world.’ 

She continued: ‘She didn’t play a simpleton, she played someone who had a different reality. She was incredibly authentic at that and I will miss that. 

‘I have to tell you, to play a clown in a way like that, it takes a lot of hard work. You have to learn things very particularly. She did it really well, really well.’ 

Teary: Talking about the upcoming tribute, Dawn said that she couldn't get through the scene once without tears and that it took her seven times to film

Teary: Talking about the upcoming tribute, Dawn said that she couldn't get through the scene once without tears and that it took her seven times to film

Teary: Talking about the upcoming tribute, Dawn said that she couldn’t get through the scene once without tears and that it took her seven times to film 

And talking about bringing the BBC show back amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dawn said they tried to be authentic to her character, Geraldine.

She said: ‘We asked ourselves, and by we I mean [writers] Richard and Paul and I asked ourselves, “What would Geraldine be doing in the lockdown?” 

‘And of course she would be on the webcam talking to her parishioners so that’s what we have done. 

‘We have made nine little tiny films where she, through the power of Zoom, is connecting with everybody and it’s funny and silly as she is talking to folk. 

The Vicar Of Dibley... in lockdown! Talking about bringing the BBC show back amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dawn said they tried to be authentic to her character, Geraldine

The Vicar Of Dibley... in lockdown! Talking about bringing the BBC show back amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dawn said they tried to be authentic to her character, Geraldine

The Vicar Of Dibley… in lockdown! Talking about bringing the BBC show back amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dawn said they tried to be authentic to her character, Geraldine 

‘She is doing a sort of newsletter and a sermon. We have tried to be light and funny but we also try to remember those who aren’t with us anymore.’ 

The upcoming three 10 minute episodes of The Vicar Of Dibley will air weekly, with a 30 minute compilation episode of all three sermons airing later over Christmas.       

While the show originally aired from 1994 to 1998, the series returned for various specials before officially concluding in 2007, but has briefly headed back to screens for various shorts in aid of Comic Relief.

The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown airs tonight at 8.50pm on BBC One.

Much-loved: The show originally aired from 1994 to 1998, the series returned for various specials before officially concluding in 2007

Much-loved: The show originally aired from 1994 to 1998, the series returned for various specials before officially concluding in 2007

Much-loved: The show originally aired from 1994 to 1998, the series returned for various specials before officially concluding in 2007 

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