'He had a brilliant gift': Vicar of Dibley writer pays tribute to star Gary Waldhorn

12 January 2022, 09:52

By Emma Soteriou

A Vicar of Dibley writer has told LBC of his fond memories of actor Gary Waldhorn, who died peacefully at 78.

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Paul Mayhew-Archer MBE told LBC's Nick Ferrari that Mr Waldhorn had a "brilliant gift".

He passed away at 6.45am on January 10, a statement released by his son on Tuesday said. Mr Waldhorn had played Councillor David Horton in the beloved sitcom.

Mr Mayhew-Archer said: "[Mr Waldhorn] was like the Captain von Trapp of the Vicar of Dibley. And I always thought of the Vicar of Dibley as the Sound of Music without the songs.

"There was the man who thought he knew the world exactly as it should be... suddenly - not a nun in this case - but a woman vicar comes along and turns everything upside down. Lo and behold he falls in love with this creature.

"Gary was absolutely brilliant because he managed to convey the whole seismic change in his character and was utterly convincing in every single episode. It was an amazing performance."

Read more: Vicar of Dibley actor Gary Waldhorn dies aged 78

French and Waldhorn starred alongside each other in Vicar of Dibley.
French and Waldhorn starred alongside each other in Vicar of Dibley. Picture: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

Mr Mayhew-Archer added: "He was just a lovely bloke - not a stuffed shirt [like his character] at all.

"And he could play this extraordinary range of characters."

He explained: "What he managed to do - and what Dawn did so brilliantly - because they were the two straight characters in the sitcom but you would never know it. That was their brilliant gift.

"They were surrounded by these utter, total lunatics - they were the two straight people - yet, at the same time, they managed to be funny.

"That's particularly funny when you're playing the straight person and manage to be funny as well."

It comes as Dawn French, who played Rev Geraldine Granger in the show, also paid tribute to the actor.

She shared a photo of Mr Waldhorn to her social media platforms, along with a broken heart emoji.

James Fleet, who played Mr Waldhorn's son, Hugo, on screen, also shared an image of the actor on Twitter.

Mr Waldhorn had most recently appeared alongside Ms French in a Christmas special, The Vicar Of Dibley In Lockdown.

However, the family statement read: "Classically trained, it was the theatre where he truly flourished and he leaves a legacy of entertainment that saw him frequent the boards of Broadway, the West End and our living rooms on the telly!

"He leaves behind his two grandsons, Cooper and Bayley and his son Josh.

"We will all miss him terribly."

The show ran between 1994 and 2007.
The show ran between 1994 and 2007. Picture: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

Mr Waldhorn appeared in classic British TV shows such as The Sweeney, Brush Strokes and Hotel Babylon, and even featured in comedy sketch show French And Saunders.

He was an accomplished Shakespearean actor too, having performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company including in Much Ado About Nothing.

In recent years, other Vicar Of Dibley stars have also died, including Emma Chambers, who starred as Alice Tinker, and Trevor Peacock, who played Jim Trott.

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