Dawn French misses Emma Chambers "very much".

Dawn French

Dawn French

The 60-year-old comic's 'Vicar of Dibley' co-star passed away from natural causes aged 53 last month, and Dawn has paid tribute to her "bright, clever-witted and very sharp" friend.

She said: "I'll miss her very much."

Dawn described her co-star as "massively professional" and said she had a great understanding of her character in the sitcom, ditzy Alice Tinker.

She said: "Every single time I worked with Emma she was in character properly.

"She understood Alice was not somebody who was just completely dim, she was someone different, she thought differently and had the most wonderful naivety, while still being very cheeky."

While the comedy legend played vicar Geraldine Granger in the show, she admitted she initially had her eye on the role of Alice, but writer Richard Curtis changed her mind.

She added: "Of course, it was the right way around."

One memorable moment for the cast came when Emma "ballooned up" after suffering an allergic reaction to animals during filming, but despite the health scare, they all saw the funny side.

Speaking to variety performer La Voix at Brasserie Zedel in London, Dawn recalled: "I felt sorry for her when we had to do the scene with animals. She was allergic to everything.

"It was a nightmare day, and her whole face just ballooned up, but it was funny."

One highlight from the show for fans was Alice's 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' exchange with Geraldine about buying dairy spread, and despite the complexity of the dialogue Dawn thinks Emma was a "genius" for the way she successfully pulled it off.

She said: "She had to learn it a week beforehand, and do it again and again and again. But when it came to the day, she did it straight away, word perfectly.

"It's a speech that if you don't put the emphasis on the right word, the joke is lost, so she just was genius, absolutely genius, at it."

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