'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.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

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.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Rachel Reeves spoke to Nick Ferrari this morning

Shadow Chancellor: Tax North Sea gas firms to help struggling families

Lord Stuart Rose, chairman of Asda, has welcomed the return to the office.

'Hallelujah': New Asda Chairman Lord Rose hails WFH end and says 'forget about Covid'

Nick Ferrari hit out at the former Tory MP

Nick Ferrari: It is shameful that Christian Wakeford defected to Labour with no by-election

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said Gary Neville "brings life to politics".

'He brings life to politics': Andy Burnham welcomes Gary Neville to the Labour team

Andy Burnham has said he cannot see how the Prime Minister can survive the partygate scandal.

Isn’t it time to go Boris? Andy Burnham tells LBC ‘I don’t see how the PM can survive’

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch LIVE from 9am

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch Again

James Heappey has said he is giving the PM the benefit of the doubt.

Boris 'deserves the benefit of the doubt' over partygate scandal, minister insists

Mr Heappey said Prince Andrew had been 'moved from public view'

Prince Andrew's Epstein and Maxwell links ‘horrifically ill-advised,' minister tells LBC

Nick Ferrari asked the question of Dominic Raab

'Who should my listeners believe on partygate? The PM or Dominic Cummings?'

Dominic Raab said Insulate Britain's actions are not "normal, peaceful protest, but sabotage"

Eco-mob protests are sabotage, Raab says as Govt pushes ahead with protest crackdown

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'T-levels, not Tory Leader': Nadhim Zahawi explains TL lapel badge

Nadhim Zahawi has called on Sir Keir Starmer to apologise

'Boris said sorry, Keir should too': Zahawi blasts Labour leader over partygate

No10 has apologised to Buckingham Palace

No10 says sorry to the Queen after lockdown-breaking party night before Philip's funeral

Tesco Chairman John Allan CBE

LBC Exclusive: Tesco Chairman says stores 'coping well' after Brexit

An eco-activist has vowed that her jail time has only increased her determination

'Whatever it takes': Freed eco activist vows to carry on protests after leaving jail

The Security Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Minister refuses to admit if taxpayers are funding Duke of York's security