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The Big Night In: Dawn French returns as The Vicar of Dibley to share this message

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Hollie Richardson
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The Big Night In: Dawn French as The Vicar of Dibley.

The Vicar of Dibley, Miranda and Doctor Who were just some of the nation’s favourite TV shows to return on The Big Night In fundraiser.

Last night (Thursday 23 April), Children in Need and Comic Relief joined forces for the first time to hold The Big Night In. The three-hour TV event raised almost £27.4m in donations to support vulnerable people around the UK whose lives have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The government pledged to match this sum (why it can’t just pay this anyway is another story…).

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The show saw lots of our favourite TV stars return in heartwarming and funny sketches. Although some characters are questionable in 2020 (Little Britain’s Andy and Lou, Catherine Tate’s Lauren), it made for nostalgic and uplifting viewing – just what we need right now.

But one iconic character we were particularly pleased to see on our screens was Geraldine Granger, also known as The Vicar of Dibley. Dawn French teased the return of TV’s favourite vicar earlier in the week, and we’ve been bingeing the BBC series on Netflix ever since.

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Filming her video message in “the vicarage”, the vicar updated fans on her life in lockdown. She talked about how she’s spent a lot of time clearing her room of Easter eggs, by eating them all. And she shared a tip about splitting the egg in half to wear as a chocolate bra. Geraldine also explained how she’s loving doing the parish meetings on Zoom because no one else knows how to work it.

The video then cut to some of the vicar’s most memorable moments in Dibley (including that puddle scene).

But it was her message of hope at the end of the episode that has stuck with fans.      

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Dawn French as The Vicar of Dibley.

“Life goes on and this will past. We shouldn’t dwell too much on the sadness but try and think of all the happiness,” she said. “I will bid you farewell and I would say to you please be safe, be kind, eat chocolate, praise the lord and praise the NHS.”

And this wasn’t the only sketch that set off a few tears.

Miranda Hart returned as Miranda, who is spending lockdown on her own. However, Miranda reminded fans that she loves spending time on her own – singing Les Miserables songs around the flat to a man made from a mop, and drawing friendly faces on pieces of fruit.

She signed off the sketch with a message on love, saying: “Remember, it’s OK if you’re struggling. It’s OK if you’re bored. It’s OK if you’re OK. It’s OK if you’re not OK. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and, remember love wins.”

And we also saw all the Doctor Who actors come together. They shared all the lessons they learned as the Doctor, such as never to give up and that we are at our best when we work together.

“Tonight, we have all come together for one important reason,” said the actors, including Tom Baker and Jodie Whittaker.

“To praise, salute and give heartfelt thanks to real-life, special doctors, nurses and everyone working on the front lines in our NHS and care homes and hospices.”

Their words spoke for pretty much the whole nation, which is why we all stopped at 8pm to clap for carers and keyworkers for the fourth time

Images: Getty, BBC

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…