"Christmas is a time of grin and bear it. It’s something you have to get through.” A quote from Ebenezer Scrooge? The Grinch? Actually, they’re the season-weary words of the Reverend Andrew Wickens, rector of All Saints Church in Newton Heath, Manchester.
Wickens is one of four clerical advisers to the hit BBC sitcom Rev, in which inner London priest Adam Smallbone (Tom Hollander) fights to hold on to his faith while beset by the apathy, rage or haplessness of his parishioners and peers. He’s dealt with various daunting challenges in the second series of the show – crises of conscience, interfaith football tournaments – but things come to a head in this week’s Christmas special. Run increasingly ragged by the competing demands of the pastoral and domestic hearth – carol recitals, familial visits, stuffing candles into oranges for the children’s Christingle service – he succumbs to a near-psychotic “episode” on the altar at the height of a drunken Midnight Mass.