Dawn French as Vicar of Dibley
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Vicar of Dibley: What happened to Alice Tinker actress Emma Chambers?

Emma played Alice Tinker in the popular sitcom

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The Vicar of Dibley returns to BBC One tonight (Monday December 7 2020) after 13 years off screen – but what happened to Emma Chambers?

The actress played popular character Alice Tinker, who was integral to the show.

Dawn French revealed this week she was in tears filming a tribute to her former co-star, and had to film the special segment seven times.

Dawn French as Vicar of Dibley
Dawn French as the Vicar of Dibley (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: BBC Christmas TV 2020: Call The Midwife, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Black Narcissus announced

What happened to Emma Chambers?

Emma Chambers died at the age of 53 on February 21 2018.

Her agent announced she had died of “natural causes”, which was later revealed to be a heart attack.

The actress, who was married to fellow actor Ian Dunn, had a chronic allergy to animals, and had asthma.

During an interview with the Telegraph in 2002, she talked about her health battles.

She described them as so severe she couldn’t even touch animals for fear of ending up in hospital.

Who did Emma Chambers play in The Vicar of Dibley?

The actress played the role of Alice Tinker in the BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley.

She portrayed the lovable character for 13 years, from 1994 to 2007.

She also played Honey Thacker in the 1999 film Notting Hill, and Charity Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit.

What happened to Emma Chambers?
What happened to Emma Chambers? She played Alice Tinker in Vicar of Dibley (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown: BBC releases first look at new episodes

Emma Chambers tributes

Five days after Emma died, BBC One broadcast The Vicar of Dibley January 1998 episode Love and Marriage in her memory (on February 26 2018).

On March 11 2018, the Gold channel hosted a The Vicar of Dibley day in her memory.

That would have been her 54th birthday.

The upcoming three 10 minute Christmas episodes will also include a heartwrenching tribute to Emma.

Dawn French has revealed that she had to film a tribute to the late actress seven times for the festive reboot.

We’ll see Geraldine Granger pay homage to her best friend in moving scenes.

Dawn said that she couldn’t get through the scene once without tears.

She told the Mirror: “Along with all the silly, funny stuff, there is a moment where we pay tribute to Alice and that was not easy to film.

“Honestly, I had to do it seven times. I didn’t get through it once without tears but it’s really important to remember this is where real life and Dibley come together.”

She added that she felt the tribute was “important to do”.

Dawn French as Vicar of Dibley
The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown stars James Fleet as Hugo Horton, alongside Dawn French’s Geraldine (Credit: BBC One)

The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown

The Reverend Geraldine Granger – or the “buxom vicarette” as she calls herself – returns in three 10 minute epsiodes.

She delivers online sermons for her parishioners during the pandemic, admitting she’s only read “the saucy bits from the Bible”.

The mini-eps are just the tonic we all need to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown airs on Monday December 7 2020 at 8.50pm on BBC One, and continues the following Monday.

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