The loss of great names in this industry is becoming ever more frequent, but I don’t think any of us expected to hear the name Emma Chambers on the obituary list for at least another thirty years.
It seems like only yesterday that Alice Tinker welcomed the new and exciting Geraldine Grainger into Dibley, and became enamoured both to her and the whole nation with her ditsy girlishness which was simultaneously heart-warmingly endearing and fabulously funny.
Sure, Chambers was subject to some excellent writing by the likes of Richard Curtis, however her exquisite delivery of the lines and interaction with the other cast members is something which can neither be taught nor over-acclaimed. Her comic ability was such that, had anyone else been cast as Alice, the show would have been totally different, and certainly not for the better. Chambers was quirky, unique and completely insane, but you only have to watch the behind the scenes of the Christmas specials to know that she was dearly loved by everyone on the set.
Her exquisite delivery of the lines … is something which can neither be taught nor overly acclaimed
But her career spanned further than just Dibley – she of course played Hugh Grant’s sister in Notting Hill, did plenty of voice work for children’s TV. She also did some stage work alongside the likes of Ian McKellen, with whom she lodged for a number of years and claims she looked to as a “sort of father-figure.”
The tributes and eulogies came swiftly after her untimely death, with the wide spectrum of people she’s worked with from all corners of the industry demonstrating just how many varied and well-loved projects she has enhanced by being a part of. So, if you’d never heard of Emma Chambers until now, where on earth have you been? Go home, stick on an episode of Vicar Of Dibley and enjoy her comic genius. A terrible and premature loss of a wonderful talent.