Thanks to BritBox, REV. has started streaming. It is a delightful comedy series starring Tom Hollander about a vicar who has transferred to the east side of London to a struggling inner-city church. Having come from a small rural parish in Suffolk, he faces new challenges of a sparse congregation, an ever pressuring Archdeacon to increase the church’s income, plus an eclectic mix of individuals who make up his parishioners. His wife has a fulltime job as a solicitor but isn’t involved in the workings of the church with her husband.
If anything, this sometimes irreverent and humorous show has given me a new appreciation of Tom Hollander. He is fantastic in this role, giving you an inside look at the mind, motivation, and beliefs of Reverend Adam Smallbone. Each episode contains his inner dialogue of prayer that is often down-right humorous, as he throws questions of why this and that to God. He pokes at the almighty about his personal struggles and asks why Nazis live into their nineties. It shows his humanity as he deals with his calling.
One particular episode he falters in faith, displaying the moments the faithful all walkthrough on dark days. It is especially poignant and thought-providing story that draws him back to his calling that he cannot escape.
His self-esteem is often tested when he meets the popular vicar with a bulging congregation offering smoothies on Sunday, and the popular vicar who has a radio show he is jealous of for his success.
Whether you are a believer or non-believer, I highly recommend this insightful series that will give you a chuckle. Don’t be surprised if it pokes at your own belief system and morals. The fact that they make the vicar such vulnerable and honest human rather than a saint is what makes this show a great 30 minutes for each episode. In addition to Tom Hollander, there are wonderful short appearances with such stars as Ralph Fiennes, James Purefoy, Geoffrey Palmer, Hugh Bonneville, and Liam Neeson.