The Rev. is returning. As in the vicar, Reverend Smallbone, and the eternally-funny BAFTA Best Comedy winner, Rev., whose long-awaited third season debuts in the US in just ten days. Woo hoo! I mean, Amen!
Award winners Tom Hollander (Ambassadors, Cambridge Spies) and Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, Twenty Twelve) will be gracing our screens once again as the Rev. Adam Smallbone and his wife, Alex, they of the St. Saviour in the Marshes parish.
When we last saw them, Alex had told Adam that she was pregnant, and in the Season 3 opener, she gives birth to Katie with a bit of (hilarious) help from Archdeacon Robert (Simon McBurney, The Borgias, Jane Eyre), while Adam is performing the wedding ceremony for the church school’s headmistress, Ellie Pattman (Lucy Liemann, Reggie Perrin, Agatha Christie’s Poirot).
Fast forward ten months. Katie is cute as can be, and despite her (still) being unbaptized and having crying fits when Adam and Alex are trying to resurrect the intimacy in their marriage, she brings him more joy than others in Adam’s life. Namely Jill Mallory (Joanna Scanlan, The Thick of It), the new area dean, and Geri Tennison (Vicki Pepperdine, A Young Doctor’s Notebook), the diocesan secretary, who are doing “pastoral reorganization” and have marked St. Saviour for closure.
What must the inner-city vicar to do to save his church? Make St. Saviour a viable and self-sustaining organization in the Hackney, East London community, which means the growing of his flock and church funds are now a matter of urgency. And that means, for one, taking a course recommended by the Archdeacon and led by Roland Wise, played brilliantly for the third time in the series by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey).
Things do not go swimmingly for Adam, as he must care for Katie as well as his flock after Alex gets a new job, and some of his to-err-is-human-to-forgive-divine acts — from a gay (not) wedding and an outside-of-marriage snog, to an art exhibition at the church and a display of charity for an ex-con — land him in spots of bother and outright trouble.
When things go from bad to worse is when laughs give way to straight-up drama and one of the most poignant conclusions to a multi award-winning comedy program in recent memory. (According to Hollander, Rev. will not be returning in the foreseeable future.)
Series regulars Miles Jupp (Spy), Steve Evets (Five Days), and Ellen Thomas (Teachers) reprise their respective roles as lay reader Nigel and parishioners Colin and Adoha, as does Jimmy Akingbola (Holby City) as recurring character Mick, who’s now off drugs but still angling for a bob.
As for guest stars, there are several. In addition to Bonneville, Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter) also reprises his role as the Bishop of London. In one-off roles are Patrick Baladi (Mistresses) as Rob, one half of the gay couple that want Adam to marry them; Dexter Fletcher (Hotel Babylon) as controversial artist Mike Tobin; Kayvan Novak (Syriana) as a local imam; and Nicholas Sidi (DCI Banks) as new parishioner George, who helps Adam with the church’s accounting, much to Nigel’s dismay.