Tag Archives: Vicki Pepperdine

Holy smoke! Delightful Rev. is back with new episodes

'Rev.' returns to Hulu and Hulu Plus.

Inner-city vicar Adam Smallbone (Tom Hollander, second from right) faces challenges from both church officials as well as his fussy lay reader, Nigel (Miles Jupp, far right) in Season 3 of ‘Rev.,’ which begins streaming Sunday on Hulu and Hulu Plus.

It’s been nearly two years since U.S. audiences have enjoyed new episodes of Rev., the hilarious, award-winning Britcom starring the fantastic Tom Hollander as a stressed-out vicar trying to keep his struggling church afloat in inner-city East London.
That extended hiatus wasn’t due to any quality concerns at its home channel in the UK (BBC2), where Rev. is revered as the highest-rated comedy series (it’s also carried in more than 140 channels worldwide). No, we haven’t seen Rev. for awhile simply because Hollander, its executive producer, co-creator and co-writer as well as star, is simply one of the busiest British actors working today, as is his leading lady, Olivia Colman, who was David Tennant’s detective partner in the shattering murder mystery Broadchurch.
As Rev. belatedly returns with six new episodes Sunday on Hulu Plus, time clearly hasn’t stood still in the neighborhood surrounding St. Saviour in the Marshes. For one thing, at the tiny vicarage, the Rev. Adam Smallbone (Hollander) and his patient wife, Alex (Colman), have welcomed their first child, daughter Katie, now approaching her first birthday (we see the frenzied circumstances of Katie’s birth in the opening moments of the season premiere).
What that means, most pertinently, is that Adam and Alex are dealing with the same stresses they’ve endured before, only with exponentially less sleep, especially now that Katie is going through a bout of explosive diarrhea. “Perhaps Satan is in charge of her bottom because you haven’t baptized her yet,” offers Archdeacon Robert (Simon McBurney) during one of his frequent visits to remind Adam that the size of both his congregation and his church coffers is a matter of growing concern among church officials.
In fact, two such officials – Area Dean Jill Mallory and Diocesan Secretary Geri Tennison (Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, respectively, both of the Britcom Getting On) – also have stopped by to remind Adam passive-aggressively that, with the larger neighborhood now experiencing a sharp decline in its Christian populations as more Muslim residents move in, some old, high-maintenance churches such as St. Saviour may have to be shuttered.
That motivates Adam to collaborate with local Imam Yussef Hasan (guest star Kayvan Novak) on a fund-raiser to renovate a rusty and dog poo-choked playground in the season premiere. The event is a rousing success, although Adam and his flock are able to contribute only an embarrassingly tiny portion.
Episode two finds Adam on the horns of a different dilemma when two close gay friends of his ask him to officiate at their wedding. That being a no-no for the Church of England, Adam offers instead to lead a prayer for them at the regular Wednesday Eucharist gathering, but that event quickly spirals out of control.
Also returning to their occasional guest roles this season are Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) as cleric and motivational speaker Roland Wise and Ralph Fiennes as the Bishop of London.
Rev. is the kind of rich, character-driven comedy that rewards faithful viewing, so if you are joining the series in progress, be sure to take advantage of the fact that Hulu Plus is streaming Seasons 1 and 2 as well. Hollander recently has said that he’s not sure whether he’s up for a fourth season as Adam Smallbone, so by all means enjoy the myriad delights of Rev. while you can.
Olivia Colman in 'Rev.'

Vicar’s wife Alex Smallbone (Olivia Colman) unexpectedly goes into labor while her husband is officiating at a wedding in the season premiere of ‘Rev.’ on Hulu.

Hamm, Radcliffe shine in a noteworthy ‘Young Doctor’s Notebook’

Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe star in 'A Young Doctor's Notebook.'

Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm share the same role in the decidedly unconventional Ovation comedy ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook.’

I didn’t want to let the weekend pass without at least mentioning A Young Doctor’s Notebook, the weird but hilarious British miniseries currently airing in heavy rotation on the Ovation cable channel. Set during the Russian Revolution and adapted from a series of short stories by Russian doctor and writer Mikhail Bulgakov, the dramedy stars Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as a physician whose discovery of a diary he kept as a young man prompts him to reflect on his challenging days as a recent medical school graduate (Daniel Radcliffe) struggling to cope with life in the snowy and remote village of Muryevo, where he has been dispatched.
This Younger Doctor (neither Hamm’s nor Radcliffe’s characters are giving proper names) has an excellent academic record behind him, but his lack of professional experience leaves him racked by insecurity, especially with the surreal added pressure of having the Older Doctor peering over his shoulder and second-guessing everything he does. How are these two alter egos interacting and occupying the same space and time? Maybe it’s all happening in the imagination of Hamm’s character, or perhaps these are hallucinations brought on by the Younger Doctor’s increasing addiction to morphine, which he has begun taking to endure a stress-induced peptic ulcer. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter, because no matter how you rationalize it, Hamm and Radcliffe make for a truly splendid comedy duo.
And, much as M*A*S*H mined big laughs against the backdrop of Korean War horrors, A Young Doctor’s Notebook is, for the most part, unabashedly comic, which only intensifies the impact of moments like the one in which the Older Doctor tries in vain to stop his younger self from taking that first shot of dope. This duality of tone makes A Young Doctor’s Notebook an ideal vehicle for Hamm, since it gives him a chance to show off both his formidable comedy chops and the undercurrent of deep melancholy that is so much a part of his performance as Don Draper on Mad Men.
Radcliffe, however, is just as good as the Younger Doctor. You have to give it to this young actor: He easily could have coasted, or even just comfortably retired, following his phenomenal commercial success in the Harry Potter movie series, yet he seems to be working overtime to prove his range as an actor, even if that means toiling in decidedly unconventional projects like A Young Doctor’s Notebook for a British satellite channel and, now, an American cable network with a less-than-stunning subscriber reach.
Sky Arts, the British satellite outlet that originally aired these four episodes of A Young Doctor’s Notebook, already has ordered four more that are due to air in the UK this December, with Hamm and Radcliffe reprising their roles – role – whatever. I hope those episodes eventually make their way to this side of the pond, because trust me, A Young Doctor’s Notebook is a risky and rewarding breath of creative fresh air. For more on the series, visit www.ovationtv.com.

The ensemble of 'A Young Doctor's Notebook' on Ovation.

Rosie Cavaliero, Adam Godley, Daniel Radcliffe, Vicki Pepperdine and Jon Hamm (from left) star in ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook’ on Ovation.