A self-proclaimed “heretical” BBC show about an inner-city liberal vicar won best situation comedy at this year’s BAFTAs.
Rev beat three other contenders to the prize at the annual television ceremony in London on Sunday.
In its first series, the show protrayed vicar Adam Smallbone protecting his dwindling flock from ‘bigoted evangelical hypocrites’ and middle-class families who were trying to get their kids into a popular church school.
Tom Hollander, who played the clergyman, said he was “speechless” at the award. The show has already been signed up by the BBC for a second series.
Co-creator Mr Hollander has said he and James Wood were “trying to depict a real world”.
Mr Wood has commented: “The one word I would pick to describe the show would be ‘heretical’.”
The opening episode of the first series of Rev features a decaying, near-empty church attended by a handful of eccentric oddballs and senior citizens.
At one Sunday service, the church begins to fill with wealthy young families, but it transpires they are only attending in the hope of getting their children into the local church school.
In the second episode, a neighbouring evangelical congregation asks to share the church building while their own building is being renovated.
The evangelical church is headed by a tall, handsome, slick communicator who fills the church with happy youngsters.
But “the cold bigotry that lies not far beneath the surface of the evangelicals’ smiles” soon comes to the fore, according to one viewer writing for the New Statesman.
In 2009 a Church of England document about the BBC’s portrayal of Christianity made reference to the proposed show, which had a working title of “Handle with Prayer”, saying the church would “wait and see” whether it relied on “stereotypes”.
In January this year a former BBC news anchor warned that Christians are “fair game” for insults at the broadcaster whilst Muslims must not be offended.
Peter Sissons, whose memoirs were being serialised in the Daily Mail, said: “Islam must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.”