Viewers launch campaign to save the show from extinction

Over 12.6 million viewers tuned in on New Year’s Day to bid a fond farewell to the Vicar Of Dibley – and watch her marry village newcomer Harry Kennedy – making it the most popular TV programme over the Christmas holidays.

But just hours after Dawn French’s loveable character hung up her cassock, a campaign was launched to save the show.

Internet chat rooms were inundated with fans demanding that the BBC keep the programme running.

The decision was taken to end the show by its writer Richard Curtis and the cast who felt it was time to move onto other projects.

But Dawn French, 49, admitted that filming the final episode had been emotional.

She confessed: ‘The vicar has been a life-affirming show for me, so knowing we won’t be doing it again and that our little gang will be disbanding left me a bit teary.’