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Rev. (2010-) is a BBC television sitcom. Reverend Adam Smallbone is an Anglican vicar who is newly promoted from a small rural parish to the 'socially disunited' St Saviour in the Marshes in East London. Unable to turn anyone away from his new appointment, Smallbone is faced with a collection of moral challenges as he balances the needs of genuine believers, people on the streets and drug addicts as well as with the demands of social climbers using the church to get their children into the best schools.

Adam has an impossibly difficult job being a good modern city vicar and his wife, Alex, does her best to support him, but she’s got her own career as a solicitor to worry about and she is no one's idea of a conventional vicar’s wife. He is also supported by lay reader Nigel who believes he should be running the church. In immediate supervision is Archdeacon Robert putting pressure on Adam to increase the congregation and church income.

Parishioners include Colin, a heavy-drinking, unemployable lost soul who is Adam’s most devoted parishioner, and Adoha, well known for her romantic intentions to the clergy.


Rev contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Adoha, the vicar groupie.
  • Accidental Hero: The plot of the series 2 opener.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Adam needs to learn the lesson he keeps being taught about not envying people who are better at their jobs than him before their inevitable bad luck gets someone ki- oh, too late.
  • Alone in a Crowd: The title sequence.
  • Always Someone Better: A recurring plot; it seems like the good vicar has a problem with Envy;
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  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The fallout from Adam's appearance on The One Show:
    Nigel: This pile of letters is from people who think you're homophobic, and are a disgrace. This pile of letters is from people who think you're condoning homosexuality, and are a disgrace. And this letter is from an ABBA fan who thinks you're stupid!
  • As Himself: In a series 1 episode where Adam is trying to get onto the media like rival reverend Roland Wise, John Humphrys, Jonathan Dimbleby and The One Show presenters Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles appear as themselves.note 
  • Bittersweet Ending: The last two episodes present a Trauma Conga Line for Adam and others as a brief indiscretion on his part causes the parish to be closed down, he's barred from ministerial work and has to take menial jobs, Colin is very bitter toward him over the church closing, and Colin's dog dies. Still there's some uplift as Adam, Alex, Colin, the Archdeacon, and Nigel reunite for the burial.
  • Broken Pedestal: Adam meets his hated "Thought For The Day"-reading, Have I Got News for You-appearing ex-schoolmate rival, and finds out he's ultimately unhappy at having lost the point of his calling.
  • The Cameo: Ralph Fiennes appears in the first episode of series 2 as the Bishop of London.
    • In episode six of series 2, James Purefoy plays the part of Archdeacon Robert's boyfriend.
    • Episode six of Series Three has Liam Neeson as God.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Roland is played by Hugh Bonneville, who also plays the Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey. Ellie treats herself to a Downton Abbey marathon in the Christmas Episode.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Colin
  • Christmas Episode: In series 2. At one point, Adam breaks down under all the stress and has a mini-Freak Out during midnight mass - the next day, he apologises for his "little Christmas episode".
  • Circle of Shame: Adam has a dream-version featuring pretty much everyone he knows. "You'd be a terrible father!"
  • Crisis of Faith
  • Depraved Dentist: A dead one is supposed to haunt the old folks home... unless the Archdeacon made the whole thing up.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: Adam has a run-in with one who has mistakenly received vestments intended for him.
  • Drop-In Character
  • Foreshadowing: There are a number of hints to the Archdeacon's true nature, such as his reaction to Adam's comment "We're all gay in the Church" and when Adam sarcastically refers to him spending his nights at "posh clubs for knobs" he coldly replies: "You literally have no idea how I spend my nights."
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Nigel starts babbling about a never-before mentioned "Cherry" apropos of nothing soon after he and Adam find out that Robert is gay.
  • Good Shepherd: Adam cares for his parishioners and is seen giving comfort to a dying woman.
  • Homage: Adam and Nigel begin humming "Tubular Bells" while on their way to perform an exorci- blessing for one of Adam's elderly parishioners. Nigel gets a bit carried away during the... procedure, and launches into the "power of Christ compels you!" liturgy from the film.
  • Hot for Preacher: Adam is mortified to discover that Adoha is turned on by listening to him preaching.
  • Insistent Terminology: Adam is not allowed to do exorcisms, you need to be specially qualified. The ritual he performs with a bottle of holy water for a parishioner scared her room is haunted is a blessing.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Archdeacon. He's a Smug Snake who seems to value financial considerations over everything else, has an air of a Mafia don, and normally treats Adam with nothing but contempt, yet backs Adam up regarding Colin. Also when he comes to accept that he will never be a Bishop (a post that he's catastrophically unsuited for anyway) due to his sexuality. After spending the entire episode faking humility he elects, for once, to be honest and accepts his role as it is. He also helps Adam get rid of Darren who has been getting on his nerves, as well as granting Adam a goal in the match against his rival.
  • Kick the Dog: After Adam tries to comfort Nigel over his rejection from being ordained, Nigel blames Adam for "fucking him over".
  • Lies to Children: Adam's heartwarming bugs-and-dragonflies analogy to explain heaven to an assembly-full of grieving children.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the final episode of series one, after getting drunk and behaving like a Jerkass at the Tarts and Vicars party, Adam (having just been collared by the police for being drunk in public) is taken by the police to the flat of an elderly couple. The wife is dying, and needs a priest. Adam comforts her and gives her last rites, and by the end of the episode has dropped his bad attitude.
  • Precision F-Strike: Adam takes his dog collar off and confronts the builders.
  • Rousing Speech: Adam gives a frustrated, competitive and downright vicious one at the football match.
  • Running Gag: Archdeacon Robert dumping his coffee down the sink and kicking Adam out of his car on random street corners.
  • Shout-Out: The night before Adam's goddaughter comes to stay, Alex is sitting in bed reading The Slap. She's severely tempted to hurt the Enfante Terrible by the end of the weekend, while Nigel very nearly gives her a slap in the face.
  • Smug Snake: the Archdeacon
  • The Starscream: Nigel is a particularly pathetic example.
  • Story Arc: In series 2 Adam and Alex are trying for a baby, and this has come up as both a major and minor plot point in the episodes.
  • Straight Gay: While he is, in retrospect, a little bit camp, Robert's being gay is only revealed when Adam and Nigel catch him and his boyfriend bed-shopping.
    • Directly revealed, yes, although it's made pretty clear at the beginning of the series in the sauna scene.
  • The Vicar
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Matthew Feld gets hit by a bus in the episode he appears.
  • Wham Line: Series 2 episode 4's main storyline is Adam's rivalry with an atheist teacher at the local school, Mr Feld, naturally Played for Laughs. When Feld fails to turn up for an inspection, Adam feels he has done so deliberately to undermine him. Then he finds a child crying in the corridor:
    Child: Mr. Feld fell off his bike. A lorry hit him. He's dead.
    • The strange tramp Adam encounters in episode five of season three seems to be little more than a weird, cliche-babbling eccentric... until he suddenly refers to Adam by name despite having no possible way of knowing who he is.


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