Dustin Hoffman wanted to direct The Vicar of Dibley, but ex-BBC Head of Comedy turned him down

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley (Credit: BBC)

What Dustin Hoffman could have done with The Vicar of Dibley, sadly, we will never know.

But at one time, the Hollywood actor was interested in getting behind the camera to direct the classic sitcom – but was blocked by the BBC’s former head of comedy.

In a new memoir, Jon Plowman, who during his tenure at the Beeb brought shows like Absolutely Fabulous, Little Britain and The Office to screens, explains the unlikely turn of events.

Hoffman was reportedly visiting London when he ‘took an interest’ in directing the show, which starred Dawn French as the embattled clergywoman, during its first series.

Dustin Hoffman (Credit: Getty)

But Plowman kiboshed the plans before they got out of hand.

“Think how long it might have taken just to explain the gags to him,” Plowman, writes in How To Produce Comedy Bronze (via The Daily Mail).

“There’s a time when a producer has to look a gift horse in the mouth. And then punch it.”

He goes on to speak most affectionately about the sitcom, describing it as being ‘under a kind of happy spell’.

Hoffman did later have one more vague brush with the sitcom, starring in the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot with Judi Dench in 2015, which was adapted for the screen by Dibley writer Paul Mayhew-Archer.

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