Rowan Atkinson makes an excellent vicar. The thinking behind this series then seems to be that if Atkinson is enjoyable as one vicar, how much more fun would it be to have him as multiple vicars?
In order of appearance, those vicars are:
Bill Tinsey, who has just won North East Vicar of the Year, Wilson Penn, a gay vicar, and Richard Crisp, playing with the stereotype of the "trendy" vicar. Naturally, they've all got their own problems. Bill has a fun run to raise funds for a replacement headstone (car accident). Wilson is attempting to run a "church's got talent" contest, with a special celebrity guest. And Richard has almost no parishoners and a lack of self-awareness when it comes to trying to get children into the church.
Each of them are being interviewed by Louise Ford as Lucy Cooper, investigative podcast journalist, who wants to know whether we still need the church community, now we've all got internet shopping and dating apps.
The trouble is, though Atkinson is decent at voicing them all differently, it's always still him doing a vicar. There's only so much variation you can get there, especially when he's already got such a strong persona for that sort of role. And on top of that, it's him being three vicars, who are all amusingly flawed, but still earnestly trying to do their best. None of them get much space to show themselves as different to the others.
I don't understand why this was done with three vicars. One vicar, who bumbled his way through a solid half hour, a la Dibley, could have allowed a lot more development, and given the story time to stretch out a little. It would also have allowed a wider and more fleshed out ensemble, which would have been nice given how fun they can be.
I can't not keep listening to this, because it's Atkinson, but I'm slightly worried it's going to be just a bit disappointing.