Vicars and comedy go together like... well, Vicars and comedy. You only need to look at Father Ted and The Vicar of Dibley, which are undoubtedly two of the greatest sitcoms of all time, to realise this is true.
Then in 2010 another sitcom featuring a Vicar burst onto BBC Two, Rev, written by Tom Hollander and James Wood, this one was equally as good and felt very new and different to any sitcoms featuring Vicars that came before. That sitcom was Rev, and this week the series returns for a third series, which I think is better and funnier than it was before.
Rev centres around the character of Reverend Adam Smallbone, played by Tom Hollander, whose parish is St. Saviours in Hackney, East London. There's his wife Alex, played by Olivia Colman, Archdeacon Robert (Simon McBurney), Nigel the Lay Reader (Miles Jupp), Adoha, the local busybody (Ellen Thomas), Head Teacher Ellie (Lucy Liemann) and not forgetting Colin and Mick, played by Steve Evets and Jimmy Akingbola.
There are a lot of guest appearances this series from the likes of Kayvan Novak (Fonejacker, Facejacker), Hugh Bonneville (W1A), Dexter Fletcher (Hotel Babylon) and a couple you may recognise from BBC4 sitcom Getting On, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine who become series regulars as Jill and Geri - the Area Dean and Diocesan Secretary. I just love the on-screen chemistry between these two have and I'm so pleased they were able to bring that to a comedy like Rev.
There's a lot to deal with in the new series, including a baby, the threat of closure, as well as a possible affair between the Vicar and the local Head Teacher, Ellie - who let's face it, Adam has had his eye on for a very long time. So where do I get started? Well, let's start with the baby.
At the end of series two, after ages trying for a baby, Alex finally revealed to Adam that she was in fact pregnant. So it was inevitable that series three would cover this in someway. And boy does it. At the start of the series we're treated to some phenomenal acting from Colman as Alex's waters break and the only person on hand to take her to the Hospital is Archdeacon Robert, who ends up delivering the baby himself in the back of a taxi.
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record when it comes to Olivia Colman, but it's true - the woman is incredible, and there's not a single role this woman can't do. Whether it's straight up drama, where she turns on the tears in a way only she knows how, or comedy where her performance are always charming, loveable and very funny - there's no doubt about it, Olivia Colman nails it. And Rev is no exception.
The character of Alex really comes into her own this series, not least at the very start where we see her waters break and lo-and-behold, Archdeacon Robert is on hand in a taxi to deliver the baby. But the series itself, really starts 10 months later so it's all about how Alex deals with becoming a first-time parent, having to go back to work.
Then in episode three, when 'something' happens between Adam and Ellie, Alex finds out in episode four, and let's just say, in true Olivia Colman fashion, she doesn't react very well. In fact, she ends up kicking him out of the vicarage so Adam is left sofa-surfing with Nigel, sleeping on Colin's floor in his homeless hostel, along with his dog, Bongo - who like Colin, isn't the sharpest tool in the box.
And as if that wasn't enough to deal with, Adam also has to come to terms with becoming a father. When he leaves her in the Newsagents it seems he still has some learning to do.
Then there's the small matter of Adam's rather large and empty church, St. Saviours, which continues to crumble around him. Will he raise the money he needs to save it? Or will he end up losing it? What will end up happening to Adam if the inevitable does happen, and he does lose the church? Then there's the question on everyone's lips - "When will little Katie get Christened?". Oh and when I say 'everyone', I of course mean Archdeacon Robert and Adoha. But let's just say that's the last thing on Adam and Alex's minds and therefore doesn't actually happen.
I have to say though, that Mick, brilliantly portrayed by Jimmy Akingbola, has to be one of my favourite and funniest characters across all TV comedies. You just know that when Adam opens the door to the local vagrant that you're in for a treat and a real laugh.
This series is no exception - and whether he's offering his services as a babysitter or a prostitute, Mick's appearances are always the funniest moments of an episode. Rev, since it burst onto our screens in 2010 has remained one of my favourite TV sitcoms of all time. I love the way it's acted, the mix of characters, and of course the subject matter and the way that's dealt with.
This of course is a great testament to the writers of Rev who it appears may have, sadly, just written the last ever series of Rev. Watching series three, it definitely feels as though this has been written as the final series, so by the time we reach the end of the series it feels as though any loose ends are tied up which will leave fans satisfied, if a little sad.