Tom Hollander has revealed that he has become a churchgoer since playing a beleaguered vicar in the hit BBC Two drama Rev.

The actor, 44, is returning to the role of inner-city vicar for a second series of the sitcom, which was a surprise TV success last year.

Tom told the Radio Times: “People we have met in the church since have said: ‘Thank you for making us look normal.’ Because they’re used to being treated as weirdos.

“The moment they start talking about faith or a belief in God, people start to behave as if they have got the plague.”

He said: “I believe in the idea of God now. Since doing Rev I believe in what the idea of God represents, but I can’t say anything more concrete than that.”

Asked whether he goes to church, other than for research, he said: “Occasionally, yes. It began mostly to check if I was getting it right but then I was doing it so often it became a habit.

“Since we stopped shooting I look forward to poking my nose in without it being work.”

However he said he would never consider a job in the church if the acting work dried up: “No, it would be hard to take myself seriously, wouldn’t it?…

“To go from a fictional vicar to a real vicar would be very strange. I don’t think I want to go pro.”

He said of Rev: “There is certainly something inherently funny about men wearing dresses, but we set out not to make Adam Smallbone (Tom’s character) a comedy character. In a way he’s the straight man of the show and that’s why we have been welcomed by the church because, unusually, we don’t make the priest appear ridiculous.”

Series two of Rev screens on BBC2 from Thursday, November 10.