Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.
Homeland star Damian Lewis will join the cast of BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley when it reunites for Friday night’s Comic Relief telethon. This year’s Funny for Money broadcast is set to offer plenty of YouTube-ready revival sketches for viewers. Already set is Ricky Gervais resurrecting The Office character David Brent. The Vicar of Dibley’s reunion is its first since since another Comic Relief sketch in 2007, which co-starred Sting. Lewis was keen to take part, he said, because he’d been unavailable for past specials. “Some of my favorite actors are in The Vicar of Dibley and I grew up watching them on TV,” he said. He joins a high profile guest cast that includes Kylie Minogue, Sarah Ferguson and Johnny Depp.
The show’s charity bent was demonstrated in a controversial 2005 New Year’s special, which heavily promoted the Make Poverty History campaign in an episode penned by the show’s creator Richard Curtis. It was criticized in a report endorsed by the BBC’s governing body, the BBC Trust, for breaking the corporation’s impartiality guidelines. Comic Relief is safer ground, having been a BBC staple since it was created — by Curtis, with comedian Lenny Henry — in 1985, as a response to the Ethiopian famine. This will be The Vicar of Dibley‘s fourth special for the biannual event.