Name Spot of the Wek

Name Spot of the Week: Mini-Jeu

Engelbert Humperdinck, from

This week I promised myself to start listening to the radio more, and whilst trying my hardest to stick to this task I discovered that I have a local news reader by the name Corazon. It’s also through the news that I discovered that Engelbert Humperdinck will be representing the UK in Eurovision this year – if it were a competition of flamboyant names I’m sure we’d have this one in the bag. The singer was born as plain ol’ Arnold Dorsey, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read somewhere that he has legally changed his name to his stage name.

I watched Masterchef earlier on today on the BBC’s iPlayer serive, mostly because someone mentioned to me that the challenge was taking place in a similar setting to where I work and I was therefore curious to see how their service differed (quite a bit in some respects). In the process of my curiosity I came across a contestant named Aki; she’s pronounced like hackey with the h forgotten, and the contestant was of Japanese origins. It could be short for something, equally it may not have been.

Now, the fun part. I was set a challenge by a friend of a friend the other day, and I’d like to share it with you all. For the most part, it flummoxed me, but I’m sure my judgement was slightly clouded by my knowledge of the person – in that she’s Irish, so my thoughts focused on that particular area.

Her challenge was relatively simple in premise:

She has two names, like most people (ignoring surnames): a first name and a middle name.

Her first name is Kira.

One of her names has a light-related meaning; the other has a dark-related meaning.

What is her middle name?

Yes, it’s slightly vague, isn’t it? Infuriating is a word I’d use, since it took me 5 guesses before I landed on the correct answer. My original guess was Ailbhe, since she’s half-Irish – either way, it turned out to be nowhere near right. I’m planning on mentioning the answer in a post this weekend, so until then feel free to muse on the conundrum yourselves.

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Name Spot of the Week: La Haine

Scene from La Haine, from

I’ve been watching a few french films of late, and there was one which really caught my attention. Yesterday I watched a film called La Haine, which is about life in the banlieu – basically the French equivalents of housing estates. In came out in the late 90s, several years before there were quite violent riots in France in 2005 – sparked by the accidental deaths of two teenagers whilst being chased by the police.

A few names from the film which stood out for me were:

Astérix (nickname)

Cassel (surname of one of the actors)

Choukri (actor)

Hubert – The t is silent when the French say this name, and for me that really makes me reconsider the name.

Mathieu (director)

Magimel (surname of one of the actors)


Rywka  (actress)


Vincent ‘Vinz’

Other names vaguely related to the film are:

Cécile – Half sister of Vincent Cassel. He played one of the main characters.

Chanteloupe – The majority of the filming took place in an area called Chanteloupe-les-Vignes.

Deva and Léonie – The name of Vincent Cassel’s daughters. He played one of the main characters.

Makome – His death helped inspire the film.

Elsewhere, the frontman for Spandau Ballet, Gary Kemp, recently welcomed his fourth son: Rex Albert. He joins brothers Finlay Munro, Milo Wolf and Kit Frank.


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Name Spot of the Week: New to F1

New McLaren for 2012, from

This week has whooshed by for me, so it seems apt to focus on a sport know for it’s quick pace. It’s about a month now until Formula 1 kicks off the 2012 season, and I’m itching to see whether broadcaster Sky will live up to expectations as it takes over the UK coverage. If you’re outside of the UK, you may not be aware that Bernie Ecclestone sold the TV rights to Sky starting this season – which is a subscription service. This made it quite the controversial deal, given that F1 is on the list of sports which must be available to watch for free, thus on one of the channels available through Freeview. Technically, they’re sharing the coverage with the BBC, but there’s been a mini storm amongst fans here.

But, in the off season there have been a few changes to the driver line-up. Notably, three French drivers have race-seats, after literally no French drivers in the 2011 season.

Charles Pic (Marussia) (FRA)

Jean-Éric Verge (Toro Rosso) (FRA)

Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus) (FIN)

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT) (IND)

Nico Hülkenberg (Force India) (GER)

Pedro de la Rose (HRT) (ESP)

Romain Grosjean (Lotus) (FRA)

I’ve been watching quite a bit of news this week, and one name that really caught my attention was Nikel. Half Nico, half Michael and rather appealing to the chemist in me. The reporter didn’t pronounce the name like nickel, though, more like Michael with an N. Another interesting thing to note from watching the news is that of mother and daughters having matchy names. We mentioned an Amelia with daughters Ame and Lia a few weeks ago, and I’ve recently seen a mother called Mollie with a daughter named Millie.

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Du pain.

I spent a good deal of my France trip snowed-in, but that didn’t hold me back when it came to spotting some interesting tidbits and names to share. Truth be told, I actually got home last night, but opted to save this post until today.

One of the first names I want to mention is Cocatrix. In between snowstorms I managed to make it to a chateau, in which a mini-artsy area resides. One of the rooms revolves around a creature called the Cocatrix. It’s meant to be an investigation into seeing how much information one needs to throw at someone before they come to believe in an imaginary creature. It was an interesting concept, although I’m still a fan of the whole pretty-paintings style of art. As a name, it’s worthy of thought. Nameberry ran a post this week featuring Cora. In this name she is very much smooshed with another darling-of-the-moment: Beatrix.

Then we have Beyly. Before you all rush to comment on how horrified you all are to see Bailey mutilated in such a way, I ask you to consider the following information: I saw it as someone’s surname, not firstname. Speaking of differing spellings, I also came across a Jheni, a Devid and a Dorine – the latter had a sister named Clémence and both were under 6 years of age.

Moving swiftly to French names, since they’re at their most abundance in France. I managed to meet no less than 4 ladies named Mireille; a Cécile; an Alfre; a Muriel; a Nathalie; a Gilles; an Olivien and a Sandrine. Actually Alfre doesn’t really belong to this set of names since I’m thinking it could be a slight variant of Alfr, which is a name from Norse mythology and means elf. The name Alfie derives from Old English, but too shares the elf meaning. Either way, to me Alfre feels French, but that may be because I’ve spent all week speaking French, where one of the major groups of French verbs are ones ending -re (the other two being -er verbs and -ir verbs): mettre (to put/place), prendre (to take), vivre (to live), suivre (to follow) – to name just a few popular verbs oft heard. There’s an actress called Alfre Ette Woodard.

Not so much a name, but in the time there I came across the French word Pomélo – rather reminds me of Pomona and Pomeline, but it has no relations to apples, rather it’s the French word for a type of grapefruit.

A few more notable names I noticed:

  • Bafétimbi. The name of a French footballer, currently playing for Lyons and the national team.
  • Clovis. Admittedly, the name of the neighbour’s poodle.
  • Edda. The name of a small child’s doll from a supermarket trip.
  • Hannelore. Tween/Teen-aged girl – referred to as Laure.
  • Ludovic. Nicknamed Ludo.
  • Maberly. The name of a lady who served me in a shop.
  • Melhi. Bus driver.
  • Sidse. A half-German female.
  • Thekla. A toddler.
  • Timandra. The name of a lady in the editorial credits for a magazine I read in France. The title of said magazine eludes me.
  • Vicco. 30-something male.
  • Widget. Author of an article I read whilst in France, this was the name given but I could see the argument of it being a nickname.
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Name Spot of the Week: Vinnie, Fenton and Aneurin

I don’t really watch much television, but quite a few media-bound names came up this week. For starters, The British Heart Foundation recently launched a hands-free CPR campaign featuring tough-guy Vinnie Jones. Although it’s only been launched quite recently I’ve already seen this advert pop up several times since the beginning of the month. Whilst questions have been raised as to whether hands-free CPR really is more effective than the ‘normal’ type of CPR, I can see why eliminating the mouth-to-mouth element may make people more confident to really go for it – since the advert campaign is really more aimed at average Joe than Theodorus the trained First-Aid expert. Now, I have mentioned Vinnie once before on the blog – he came in at #10 on our 10 Alternatives for Alfie post way back in July last year. I stand by the judgement I made then – Vinnie is a great name.

Aside from that, another video that came to mind again this week was the Richmond Park video, after Rowan mentioned Fenton in her post on Names from the 1980s. The viral video is where I first came across the name, and Zeffy subsequently covered the name. As did Have I Got News For You, which reported the dog’s name as Benton, rather than Fenton. I’ll be honest, this name has seriously grown on me of late – despite my general uninterest in surnames-as-firstnames à la Hudson, Tucker and Cooper.

I caught some of the BBC4 dramatisation We’ll Take Manhattan last night. Well, I say caught, someone else was watching it and I caught bits of it from the corner of my eye.  It’s probably the first time I’ve watched BBC4 since catching a documentary about Snow on it last year and the really notable thing to mention is that David Bailey was played by Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard. Prior to him, the only man I could think of with his name is Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan – the man behind the creation of the NHS – Bevan was born in Wales as well. I’ve also read somewhere that he had a son named Aneurin, too.

Bailey also reminds me of a memorable incident which occured this week when I was in the park. A lady shouted the name Bailey at the top of her voice, and a little boy charged towards her. To be honest, I shouldn’t have been surprised – the name Bailey is #79 for boys in England&Wales compared to #505 for girls. I’m putting it down to the American blog I frequent on a daily basis 😉

Another thing to note is that Karen Gillan who plays Jean is in her early 20s. She’s better known as playing Amy Pond in Doctor Who.

I guess the final name to mention is that only today I was involved in a pub-quiz style competition. The name of my team as chosen by a friend? Frederick. We have a track record of using random names as team names in quiz situations. Previous names used include Boo, Baxter and Ginger.

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Name Spot of the Week: Midwives&Large Broods

Promo pic for Call the Midwife, from

Reading the Daily Mail is a sort of guilty pleasure pursuit of mine. It’s so much more entertaining when you don’t take them seriously. There have been some interesting name-related articles of late. Remember the Canadian genderless baby named Storm? Well, a British equivalent has recently come out of the woodwork, this time the mother admitting that 5-year-old Sasha is a boy.

They also mentioned X-Factor reject Charley Bird who mentioned the reasoning behind the name of her newborn son Beaux – apparently the x is a reference to X-Factor. Ever heard of reborn dolls? This lady has several, all with relatively oft-heard names: Ruby, Dylan, Daniel, Ellie, Joshua, Annabelle, Daniella, Max, Charlie, Amber and Maddie.

Speaking of large groups of children, Channel 4 aired episode 1 of 15 kids and Counting this week, featuring two super-sized families in the UK. The first is the Sullivans from Kent, who have 11 children: Ben, Stephanie, Caitlin, Harry, Eddie, Sid, Patrick, Oliver, Joseph, Anna and Elizabeth ‘Libby’.

The second is the Radfords from Morecambe, who have 15 children: Chris, Sophie, Chloe, Jack, Daniel, Luke, Millie, Katie, James, Ellie, Aimee, Josh, Max, Tilly May and Oscar. Their grandfather offered up suggestions of Barry, Cecil and Cyril for the name of his newest grandson.

Now, here’s an interesting conundrum a friend mentioned to me the other day: he’s unsure of how to pronounce Ava. It’s rather sweet, thinking about it, because he came across Ava for what seems like the first time when googling popular names, and then said ‘how do you say the name spelt A-V-A?’. To be honest, I too felt a slight uncertainty over whether to say ay-vah or ah-vah, initially.

To end, the BBC recently debuted a new show called Call the Midwife, set in 1950s Britain, thus many of the characters have delightfully era-related names, and some possibly not so:

  • Jenny
  • Julienne
  • Evangelina
  • Monica Joan
  • Trixie (short for Beatrix, perhaps?)
  • Cynthia
  • Bernadette
  • Fred
  • Pearl
  • Maureen
  • Conchita
  • Len
  • Eddy
  • Muriel
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Name Spot of the Week: Blogs on the Block

Milou, or Snowy, from

It feels ages since I’ve last sat down to write a Name Spot post for some reason. Maybe it’s because last week’s offering was posted near the beginning of the week. Either way, my week has been defined bymy pursuit of finding ‘new’ name blogs to fritter time away reading, and when I saw ‘new’ blog, I mean ones which I’ve never come across before. It therefore now seems a good time to highlight the ones I’ve come across – especially as thanks to them my blogroll now appears to number more than my dead blogroll. Times are good.

First off there’s Never Go Nameless, who carried on the twin name splitting discussion of last week when she posted some of her own suggestions. Henry and Etta was likely my favourite suggestion from her, and this week Elisabeth re-ignited my love for Henri. Of course, Henri is the French form of Henry – and thus the H is silent, so the name is pronounced more like awn-ray, than like how we would say Henry.

Baby Name Guru had a nice response piece to the What Your Child’s Name Says About You article; Baby Names Daily meanwhile has been mentioning some rather fascinating names of late: Delray, Maylea and Lathan – I fully expect to be loosing a weekend to exploring her back catalog, too. A few other recent blog finds to check out:

  • Character Names Galore: She covers names from a character-naming perspective, rather than a baby-naming one. One name that caught my eye was Dextra.
  • Ren’s Baby Name Blog: She covers both names, and does lists too. Two to start off with are her favourite names from outside the Top 1000 for boys and girls.

Stepping aside from the virtual world, I’ve been busy researching some psychology studies this week in what little spare time I have. Many of you will probably know that the done thing to do when referring to the piece of research is to only give the researcher’s surname . Despite only the surnames being given, there are some fascination names in the mix. Loftus, Meade and Vogel all came up, as did Crowley, Archer and Asch. Have you ever heard of Phineas Gage the railroad worker? He had a large rod shoot straight through his head after a freak accident, and he survived.

Another thing I really wanted to share with you was that a bulky man named Snowy turned up on Deal or No Deal of late. I suspect Snowy may be a nickname, but it’s nice to believe otherwise. Speaking of Snowy, I found out recently that the French call Tintin’s dog Milou. The man who wrote Tintin, wrote it under the penname Hergé – his real name was Georges Prosper Remi.

I love the name Oona, and one turned up on Channel 4’s new gameshow: The Bank Job. She was in the final two with a man named Darragh – and she spelled her name as Oonagh.  I saw someone on Twitter comment on the names along the lines of someone bashing the keyboard a bit too hard when typing out their name, but it’s certainly nice to see two Irish names given screentime.

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Name Spot of the Week: Game Show Blitz

Simmy (l) and James (r), from James May's Man Lab, from

I found myself humming Little April Shower from Bambi earlier on today, and that got me thinking: April or Avril? Or maybe even Aprella? There were four voice actors for Bambi in his film, of which the ones for baby, young and adolescent Bambi were called Bobby, Donnie and Hardie.

I’ve rediscovered the TV channel Challenge this week, and have been busy gobbling up up the classic game show reruns. Earlier on today I caught an episode of Family Fortunes featuring a family of elderly ladies named Joan, Dorothy, Enid, Margaret and Ella. To the modern eye, Ella looks almost out-of-place, but in fairness Ella was at #97 in 1904.

Classic Who Wants To Be A Millionaire threw up an Ingram – who went on to win the top prize. He has a son called Isaac ‘Zac’, whilst the player beforehand used his friend Olaf for Phone A Friend.

Million Pound Drop also restarted up again this week – huzzah! Akbar and Lynne won 25k, whilst Craig and Seve won 100k. Seve was half-spanish and he reminds me of the man called Simmy who turned up in James May’s Man Lab series from a few weeks ago. I can only speculate that Simmy is short for Simon. Back to Million Pound Drop and there was also a pair called Jono and Liam, and another pairing called Kenneth and Whitney who went out on their first question.

I’ve also started to get into this series of Masterchef: The Professionals, whilst includes a male named Perry – and another one named Ash. Speaking of Ash, 3-letter names rock, and I’m not just saying that because Lou fits this category. I’m also saying this because I couldn’t help but notice a buzz developing around these names of late, especially over at Elea’s little corner of the internet. They’re certainly more intriguing than Ann or Rob, and the collection mentioned over the past week by my peers is nothing short of fascinating:

Roa, from Eponymia’s post on Names From Jordan.

Zed and Ovo, from Bewitching Names’ post of Names From Cirque du Soleil

Ada and Azo from Baby Names From Yesteryear’s post on Lord Byron.

Bell, Pax, Paz, Eir, Joy, Gil, Lux, Luz, Ora, Ori, Uri, Nur and Xue from British Baby Names’ Advent Calendar series.

Icy and Ivy from Midwinter Names’ post on Wintery Names.

Ava and Jem from Waltzing More Than Matilda’s post on Names From Stories on Midwives

Asa and Roy from Names 4 Real’s most recent post of Birth Annoucements.

Zeb and Zef from Appellation Mountain’s post on Z- Names for Lads.

Dot from Nook of Names post on Rune Names.

Wim and Kit from Marginamia’s post on Names from The Glow.

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Name Spot of the Week: Myth and Roxx

Pikachu, from

I’ve just taken a look over my Twitter feed, and suffice to say, I watch far more TV than I thought. For example, on Wednesday night, a football/soccer game between Crystal Palace and Man Utd went out on the TV. It was a Carling Cup quarter final, and went into extra time. Exciting stuff, but I didn’t actually start watching until I heard the news on Twitter that a man named Pikachu was playing for them. Pikachu, as in, the famed Pokemon character. Turns out the player was actually called Dikgacoi – and his middle name was Evidence – but the commentator was pronouncing his name the same as Pikachu. Speaking of virtue names in football, Urby Emanuelson is a Dutch player, with a partner named Vanity. If you’re in need of a virtue name fix, I kindly direct you to Names From The Dustbin, which has covered all sorts of barely-used names. If you’re interested in names to do with the wonder that is life, there’s a great post at the newly-named The Name Station to sort through.

Still here? Other word names spotted this week was a duo called, and I’m not kidding, Myth and Roxx on Pointless, but they are easily the best duo I’ve yet to see on Pointless even if they failed to win:


Their ‘real’ names are Rob and Phil. Or is that Robert and Philip? Either way, fair play to them.

My big finds on the TV this week was a Ruskin, which appears in the end credits for Come Dine With Me and a hotelier in Four In A Bed called Mardi. Finally, on Deal or No Deal, there was a lovely lady who changed her name to Daphne, and an Ursula on Masterchef. The thing to note, however, is that here in the Midlands, Mardi is synoymous with our word mardy, which takes on a whole new meaning other than French for Tuesday. It’s not widely used outside the Midlands – even though I use it all the time when talking about both my sisters – but it is slightly difficult to explain, this is how it looks used in context:

  • One can be a mardy cow
  • One can be in a mardy
  • And no one would want you to have a mardy on them

The word stroppy is similar, but having a mardy has more of a whine to it that having a strop, which is more sulky. Mardies tend to not cause a scene like tantrums do.

Like most children, I grew up with Disney films and that’s probably one of the reasons no one is using Ursula as much as she could be. A point raised on Nameberry via Twitter this week was nicknames for Ursula. My suggestions were:

Ola, Sue, Lou, Lua, Lulu, Sully, Roo, Suri and Sally.

I daresay you’d be able to come up with more, though, since Twitter limited me with it’s word count.

Now, time to change the theme dramatically. Today officially marks 30 days to my birthday, and I seriously considered incorporating a countdown into my daily posts for it (yes, still young enough to get excited about it!), but in the end I decided against it as it may cause confusion with Christmas. At which point Elea jumped in and kick started her own Christmas countdown on her blog.

Speaking of Christmas, we’ve being doing a lot of carveries at work of late. No one wants three course meals anymore, they all want carveries which is great because I don’t have to carry really hot plates of food to them, they come to us for the food. Not that this helped since this week I burnt the back of my wrist at work every so slightly on a lamp, to the extent that it simply looks like an inch-length cut rather than a burn. But what this hugely traumatic experience for me has me thinking about Brûlé. BROO-lay. It may be a little too French with all the accents kicking off, much like Jérôme, and in fairness it is the French word for burnt. Speaking of French words, another list of them turned up on the newly established Name Soirée blog. French slang of the day is le boum, which means party, much like le soirée does.

New blogs are great, but what’s even better is when abandonned ones gets a rebirth. You may have noticed that I now have a blogroll dedicated to listing ‘dead’ name blogs, of which Chelsea from The Name Agender was on until he reappeared this week (huzzah!), and has already kickstarted two new discussions into names and their genders which I will at some point get a chance to comment on:

Red and Ginger: What makes one colour masculine and the other feminine?

Did Dakota Fanning kill Dakota for boys?

Another discussion point that was lightly touched upon by Anna recently, was the subject of teen baby-naming. I don’t think I got around to commenting (apologies Anna!), but I do have a nugget to say on the matter. Whilst I have no intention of growing aliens in my tummy just yet, I am a teen.

Does it upset me that my peers are naming their offspring things like Miilah and giving us all a bad name?

No. The riots did that just fine. I don’t find myself particularly snobby when it comes to so-called ‘teen baby names’, because I do still have a tendency towards cutesy – I think Sunny Papillon is one of the happiest names going, and yes, I do call dibs on it – I also realised this week that I have a soft spot for Firefly thanks to Nook mentioning it – but I’m willing to bet that not all babies named Miilah have parents younger than 20, and I don’t believe we all suddenly become super-fantastic baby namers the minute we turn 20. I know teen mothers, and I’ve seen the effort some of them have put into choosing the right name for their bundle of joy. Amira is a beautiful name, and it’s great to see people still using Kasey for their sons. At the end of the day, you can always change your name. One Gideon Osborne changed his name as a teen to become the George Osborne we know today.

Today’s final, slightly more lighthearted, note is this (yes, one more! I’m on a roll today). Like all people, there are names I really struggle to like. There is the danger of name bloggers heavily showcasing those names they love in favour of the ones they don’t. I shall take the first brave step: I don’t like Tobias. Liking Toby is a push for me – but the whole family is saved for me by Tobermory. Kristen has recently been talking about the names of the delightful stuffed toys she has recently bought – Raymond and George, which is what got me on to Tobermory. I owned a bear called Tobermory as a child, named after the character from The Wombles. Tobermory also fits in with the place name trend, as it’s the capital of the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides – which you all already knew of course. For me, Tobermory feels likely a homely reminder of by bygone childhood.

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Name Spot of the Week: Marks&Sparks

Father Ted logo, from

Marks&Spencers have re-opened an outlet in France this week, which makes my standard M&S chocolate box gift to any French friend feel somewhat threatened. The store is also colloquially named Marks and Sparks, and was predictably founded by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer. Marks originally came from the area now known as Belarus and Spencer married a lady named Agnes. The last time I was in M&S was over the summer, when I was served as the till by a lovely lady named Hettie.

There are several models which M&S use on a regular basis for promotion; the one with my favourite name is also French. Her name? Noémie Lenoir, who has a son named Kelyan Makélélé.

I’m sure you’re all probably aware by now that the mascots for London 2012 are called Wenlock and Mandeville, but another recent sporting find of mine is that one of the leaders of the failed Qatar bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championships was called Aphrodite. Speaking of sporting events, how is this for patriotic? A guy in my littlest sister’s maths class is called Churchill.

In what a former teacher of mine called ‘webby-land’, I somehow ended up looking at Yahoo’s article on Where do the best baby names come from?. Whilst most of the comments weren’t perhaps the best examples of how to wield the English language, there were several fascinating names brought up by a few of the commenters:

  • Britannia
  • Brook-James
  • Bryn
  • Cashel
  • Christy
  • Elyon
  • Hebe
  • Kailua
  • Lilac
  • Maeve
  • Rosalind
  • Rudi
  • Sorrel
  • Talia
  • Ted

Speaking of Ted, I watched an episode of Father Ted quite by chance the other day, in which Dougal spelt his name sans g. The character of Dougal is played by a man named Ardal, who has also appeared in the comedy series My Hero, in which he was the father of Apollo ‘Ollie’ and Cassandra ‘Cassie’. The name of some of the backing characters from the Father Ted series are notable, however:

  • Assumpta
  • Concepta
  • Cyril
  • Danita
  • Fintan
  • Imelda
  • Ned
  • Noel
  • Polly
  • Romeo

Another religion-based sitcom in the UK is called Vicar of Dibley, for which script contributions were made by a man named Kit Hesketh-Harvey – but Kit is short for Christopher. The lead character in Vicar of Dibley is a female vicar called Geraldine.

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