Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Derek Nimmo returns from the grave (Rev.)


Let's start with the positives:
- context is realistic, and being an ex-East End vicar myself it was great to see some familiar locations being explored;
- Tom Hollander can act;
- it did make me chuckle a good deal, and I'm sure I'll watch the whole thing.

BUT

Why oh why did we have to endure yet another presentation of a vicar as a downtrodden and browbeaten big girl's blouse? When I was first called to the ministry I resisted the call for as long as humanly possible (two days of arguing directly with God; yes I am that stubborn) and that was simply because I had absolutely no desire to be a Derek Nimmo. He still represents for me all that is most spineless and useless about the church (the established church in particular) - the reduction of ministry to social work, to - in one of the sharpest moments of the programme - the need to devote all our energies to 'wiping people's arses'.

You'd never glean from a programme like this that Jesus was incredibly courageous and manly - a bloke's bloke if ever there was one - that he was often astonishingly rude to people he disagreed with, that he was angry and aggressive - and that there are a great many clergy who follow that path. In short - there is nothing prophetic about this presentation, it was entirely lacking in theological substance and truth.

Grrr.

However, having got that off my chest, there was at least a sign of the worm turning at the end of the programme. It will be interesting to see if that represents the way the series will go. How wonderful it would be if there was a robust presentation of the reality of God in a vicar's life. I won't get my expectations up.

7 comments:

  1. Only 2 days!! Now that really is a decisive blokey thing. I argued for 20 years. Soooo identify with the desire to take off the old dog collar and shout f..k off now and again but I am much too sweet.

    I don't want to be Derek Nimmo either but wouldn't mind being Dawn French...all that chocolate.

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  2. Well - to use a Lord of the Rings analogy - the two days wasn't like the Council of Elrond talking about what might happen, it was more like Gandalf at the bridge of Khazad-dum shouting 'you shall not pass' at the Balrog....

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  3. Thanks for the critique. I've recorded the programme but don't know if I can bear to watch it. Think I'll try and pluck up courage though.

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  4. I laughed aloud when the hymn started and the loudest voice was half a line ahead. That never happens in our church, oh no :)

    Not sure why removing your dog collar means you're suddenly allowed to be more worldly and swear at people, but religious comedies always seem to teach these things. And it's slightly embarrassing that the congregations depicted are so... realistic.

    I really enjoyed the programme - it was a bit short if anything. Thought the arch-deacon was brilliant.

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  5. Too bad we can't get it in Canada.

    From the comments so far, dog collars seem to loom a lot larger in this show than they do in my ministry...!!

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  6. Aren't you overlooking the fact that whilst Nimmo may have been a weak character, both the Bishop and the Dean in that series were forceful ones? The Archdeacon wasn't exactly a wimp either.

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  7. Sir Watkin - I think my comment says more about what stayed in my consciousness than accurate insight into the programme (bear in mind that I was only born the year of series 4!!)

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