Emma Chambers' end joke scenes were the best thing in Vicar Of Dibley
The news that Vicar Of Dibley actress Emma Chambers has died aged 53 has saddened countless fans of the '90s sitcom.
As dippy but warm-hearted Alice, Chambers' performances alongside Dawn French made her a crucial comic linchpin of the series.
'Where's the soap?'
At the end of every episode, French's Geraldine and Chambers' Alice would share a cup of tea together, while the former regaled the latter with a witty, and often slightly rude, joke.
These were the kind of fun, easily recalled plays-on-words that acted as a perfect final punch of humour for an instalment, and could be gamely re-told at work or school the next day.
Even now, viewers will probably be able to recite the classic 'blind man' gag off the top of their heads.
The icing on the cake, however, would be the reactions of Chambers' character to every final sting.
Often, she would completely fail to understand the joke at hand. Though, to be fair to Alice, there are quite a few people who still don't get the "where's the soap?" one.
Best of all would be the occasions where Alice took the material completely literally and at face value.
Here, Chambers really came into her own.
Witness her completely sincere reaction to Geraldine's 'Inflatable Boy' riff ("he's lucky he got in - he'd feel very isolated in a normal school - go on") and subsequent angry, indignant rant:
Then there was her horrified reaction when told that accountants deal with constipation by "using a pencil to work it out".
The utter concern conveyed by Chambers was both completely in keeping with Alice's character, and a perfect counterbalance to the ribald, nudge-nudge humour of French's twinkle-eyed Reverend.
It ended each episode on a high note, and also one that perfectly summed up the gentle, cheeky spirit of the show.
As Citizen Khan star Adil Ray tweeted at the weekend: "The joke coda with Dawn French in Dibley required great skill and Emma just nailed it. She made it.
"We say this a lot, but Emma IS a great loss to our screens."
The best of the closing jokes (some rude humour ahead):
"They've come up with a new low-fat communion wafer. It's called 'I can't believe it's not Jesus'."
"This nun is having a bath and there's a knock at the door. She says 'Who is it?', and the reply comes, 'It's the blind man - can I come in?' So says 'alright then come in'. So this chap walks in and says: 'Nice t**s. Where do you want me to hang the blind?'"
"Two nuns are taking a bath. One asks: 'Where's the soap?' The other one says, 'It does, doesn't it?'"
"Two nuns are driving through Transylvania when a great big vampire jumps on the bonnet. One nun says to the other 'show him your cross'. So the nun opens the window and yells: 'get off my bonnet you toothy git!'"
"Santa Claus goes to the doctor and says 'doctor, I think I've got a mince pie stuck up my bottom'. The doctor looks and says 'oh dear, you do indeed have a mince pie stuck up your bottom. But you're in luck - I've got some cream for that'."
"Three nuns go up to heaven. Peter's at the gates and he tells them they have to answer a question before they can come in. So he says to the first one 'what was the name of the first woman?' She says 'Eve' and he lets her in. He says to the second one 'where did Eve live?' She says 'the garden of Eden' and she too is allowed in. Then he says to the third nun 'what was the first thing Eve said when she saw Adam?' She says 'oh, that's a hard one', and he says 'yeah, you're in...'"
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews.