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Some Vicars with Jokes

Wed Jul 10, 10.30-11.35pm, BBC4

In the ’70s, the parish vicar was a staple sitcom character. Steptoe and Son would regularly be thrown into paroxysms of nervous guilt by the prospect of the local god-botherer coming round to tea, while Terry and June were forever tying themselves into unlikely knots in the run-up to a dinner party with the Reverend Austin Doyle (note to younger readers: ‘Terry & June’ was like ‘Him & Her’ with milky tea and stairlifts).

Now we get to find out why these men of the cloth were in such demand at social functions with the baldly titled ‘Some Vicars With Jokes’, a half hour of genial clerics cracking wise and acting the goat. And that’s pretty much all there is to tell. The wisecracks themselves are, shall we say, of a certain vintage, and all sound as if they’ve been ripped from the Dave Allen jokebook, but there are at least couple you might find yourself slipping into your own repertoire.

The decision to place the drollery against a flat, putty-coloured, computer generated backdrop is rather offputting, but the saintly stand-ups are good enough company to give this a look. Pick of the bunch is Reverend Paul Turp of St Leonard’s in Shoreditch who comes across like a depressive Micky Flanagan by way of Harold Pinter.