Dawn Frenchs painful years after recreating puddle scene left her in agony

Dawn French recreates iconic puddle jump in 2009

Dawn French has detailed how recreating the famous jumping in a puddle scene from The Vicar of Dibley has resulted in many “painful years”.

The actress was asked to re-do the moment for Paul O’Grady’s chat show in 2009, but the “catastrophically misguided” attempt resulted long-lasting knee pain.

Dawn, 65, claimed she was a “fool” to believe that having just “two inches of water”, on top of a “shallow silicon membrane” and “two very thin crash mats in a film studio with a flat concrete floor”, for the moment would not end in disaster.

Explaining further at her one-woman show in Exeter, she said: “I went 10ft down and plump on to the two crash mats. One leg twisted very awkwardly underneath me and I landed very heavily.”

While landing, Dawn recalled how she “heard the worst twanging noise you could ever imagine” and instantly “knew” she was “in trouble”.

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“But I completed the sketch. I clearly felt like I’d rather die than admit weakness,” she continued, according to Mail Online.

“The producers were asking if I was all right but I said I was fine. I drove five hours home to Cornwall trying to convince myself everything was all right but it wasn’t.”

The “painful years” that followed led to the actress walking with a cane and later seeking advice from a sports therapist, who recommended an eight-week rest and claimed she could need a knee replacement in the future.

At the time, he also offered her three steroid injections, which she said provided “temporary relief”.

But, after a job in 2022 meant wearing heels, Dawn was left “in agony” and called the surgeon to have the knee replacement.

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“Then he told me I couldn’t have three injections in total but three a year. I could have had loads of injections for all those painful years,” she added.

The actress told the audience that recreating the scene is the last time she had “two functioning legs”.

Weeks after the incident, she was spotted holding onto a floral cane which matched with her jacket at the time.

Dawn originally filmed the scene on the hit BBC sitcom back in 1999, in which she played vicar Geraldine Granger.

The much-loved moment, she said, still prompts fans to send her videos of them doing the same thing, despite the show ending in 2007.

Earlier this year, the actress revealed she is still having problems with her knees.

Taking to her Instagram page, she shared a photo of her feet and knees with an exercise ball grupped in between.

She wrote: “Glamorous start to the day when you have a crumbly knee,” and went on to explain she has osteoarthritis.

The condition causes joints to become painful and stiff, with the ailment being the most common type of arthritis in the UK, as per the NHS.

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