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Dawn French says recreating Vicar of Dibley puddle stunt 'left her in pain for years'

Dawn French’s recreation of her Vicar of Dibley puddle stunt left her in severe pain (ES Composite)
Dawn French’s recreation of her Vicar of Dibley puddle stunt left her in severe pain (ES Composite)

Dawn French has said that recreating her iconic puddle fall from the Vicar of Dibley left her in pain for over a decade.

In the famous on-screen moment, French, in her role as Vicar Geraldine Granger on the hit comedy series, eagerly leaped into a puddle, only to discover it was chest-deep.

During a guest appearance on Paul O’Grady‘s talk show in 2009, producers requested that she reenact the scene for their live audience and TV viewers. However, it ended in disater for the star.

“They constructed a 10ft-high hill out of scaffolding covered in AstroTurf,” she told the audience at her recent one-woman show.

“The idea was that there was a long enough drop for me to disappear into.

“Then some bright spark had the idea of having a shallow silicon membrane containing two inches of water on top of that.

“As I jumped through, the water would splash up and look like a deep puddle,” she added, according to the MailOnline.

“But what was I falling onto? The answer is absolutely nothing. Except for 10ft below, there were two very thin crash mats in a film studio with a flat concrete floor.

“Any fool would know this was a disaster in the making. Any fool but me.”

The consequences of the stunt were severe. “I landed very heavily,” she said, adding she heard “the worst twanging noise you could ever imagine”.

French famously played Vicar Geraldine Granger from 1994 to January 2007 (PA)
French famously played Vicar Geraldine Granger from 1994 to January 2007 (PA)

The comedian shared a photo with her audience of herself about to jump into the puddle, and said: “This is actually quite an emotional picture. This is the last time that my body is actually intact. This is the last time I had two functioning legs.”

After the chat show, French had embarked on a five-hour journey to Cornwall, during which she experienced excruciating pain.

She ultimately had to rely on a cane for several years.

The persistent knee pain led her to seek medical advice in 2017, when a surgeon informed her that she would require a knee replacement in the future, but in the meantime she has steroid injections to help her with the pain.