Dawn French has said she is still in shock over the death of her Vicar Of Dibley co-star Emma Chambers.

The actress – who portrayed the dim but lovable Alice Tinker opposite French’s Geraldine Granger in the long-running BBC comedy – died of natural causes in February aged 53.

French told ITV’s Lorraine: “This has been a very shocking and sad loss. Far too young, and I think we’re all still reeling a little bit from it.

Emma Chambers deathVicar Of Dibley actress Emma Chambers (Neil Munns/PA)

“My memories of working with Emma are some of my most favourite memories of my whole career.

“She’s a massively diligent person, much unlike Alice. She was incredibly bright. Very funny, very knowing, and yet she was able to play someone who was in a different world.

“She didn’t play a simpleton, she played someone who had a different reality. She was incredibly authentic at that and I will miss that.”

French added: “To play a clown in a way like that, it takes a lot of hard work. You have to learn things very particularly. She did it really well, really well.”

The Vicar Of Dibley originally ran from 1994 to 1998, but returned for numerous festive and comic relief specials with the latest episode airing as recently as 2015.

Each episode would close with Geraldine telling a joke to Alice who would either react nonplussed, interpret it literally, or only understand the humour once it was explained.