Tom Hollander chats about donning a dog collar to play vicar Adam Smallbone in the new series of BBC2’s Bafta-award winning sitcom, Rev (Thursday, Nov 10).

What can you tell us about the new series?
“Without telling you the stories, it goes a bit deeper into the characters you’ve already met. We get to know more about Nick. We get to know more about Nigel. We get to know more about all of them. Colin wants to become an electrician. We meet Alex’s dad.”

What about the first episode?
“The first episode – you start just after the end of the last episode of first series – Adam is on retreat and in a place of contemplation and back in touch with the reasons he became a vicar after his crisis. The retreat goes well. Adam then finds himself being praised unduly for something he didn’t really do. He’s hostage to fortune which we felt, the way people responded to the first series because it was so overwhelmingly positive from the clergy, we felt all we did was make a TV show.”

Have you had a positive response from vicars?
“Yes. One vicar said to Tom he’d made him proud to wear his dog collar again. Also, a lady vicar came up to me in Waterstone’s and said thank you for confirming all the reasons I gave up.”

How do you feel about praise?
“It is slightly thrilling. It kind of made us feel like we had large shoes to fill accidentally. People in the clergy weren’t used to be portrayed as essentially the good guys. In that Adam and Alex (Olivia Coleman) are a real couple – not strange comedy Christians, which is normally how the vicars have been traditionally portrayed. Someone said thank you for making us look normal.”

Would you make a good vicar?
“Go pro? I don’t think so. I have no intentions to become a vicar. As I child, I thought of it. I read a lesson at school when I was about 10 and thought I was quite good at public speaking. I waited for everyone to kneel before I started. I think someone said, ‘ooh I think he might be a bishop’. Everyone else thought – what an idiot. I was enunciating and everything. It was the long pause before I started and the way I looked around…”

Do you go to church more now?
“I am going to church more and enjoy it. You come out feeling slightly better for some reason. Partly because it’s finished. But something makes you feel better. The last time I went, however, my phone disappeared in church and I looked for it for ages. It wasn’t there and I knew I had it probably because I was texting someone during the Nicene Creed and then it was taken away from me – possibly because of my blasphemy. Everything was on that phone. Then I realised the Lord was offering me the chance to upgrade to a new phone, which I did two hours later, so it was OK. Blessing in disguise. One door closes another opens.”