Rev. Bernice Woodall is the bitter foul tempered vicar of Royston Vasey, who doesn't believe in the Bible or God, she drinks and uses her power as a vicar to upset everybody. Later on she became the Mayor of the town and saves it from extinction.
She is played by Reece Shearsmith.
Conception and Radio Appearance
Bernice was based on beloved Agony Aunt, Denise Robertson, she however was the total opposite . In the Radio Version Bernice was a DJ of the radio show House of Agony, she would try to help the person only to insult them including a morbidly obesed woman.
Bernice Woodall is based on the Vicar character that Dick Emery was known for with the big teeth, Bernice however is a rude, hard drinker who takes her anger out on the world, affecting her congregation and anyone she is teaching. She has lipstick on her teeth and on her knuckles she has LOVE/HATE tattooed. Her age is unknown in the Script it said she was in her 60's, she reads Nietzsche as her Profile has her favourite catchphrase being The Abyss and she uses his God is Dead quote in the Christmas Special.
Bernice first appeared in Episode 2, she bins a empty bottle in the Recycling Bin that happened to doing a Punch and Judy Show, later on she does a service, she does well but at the end she remarks that's what the bible says not her. She then talks about the new road and she wants protesters buried alive as she said if God wants them to walk there wouldn't be Little Chefs, then to her depressed congregation she has them sing a hymn while she drinks. At the local school she reads a very lecture saying they will be sent to Hell, then upon seeing Legz Akimbo, saying about the play and her distaste for them. She marries Mike and Cheryl as they write the license she is remarks on marriage in her own rude way. In the final episode she is rising money to return the slave trade and her sermon talks about disabled people and how silly everything is catered for them.
Bernice was given only two brief scenes in the second series, in Episode 2 she has her Love Hate tattoos done (it was done to highlight them), then when she was at the burial of Ice Cream Man, the widow was making eyes with the sexy gravedigger but Bernice tells her off only for the digger to make eyes at her.
Bernice was meant to take confession, which was meant to going back to her Agony Aunt root but they were cut. However in A Local Book for Local People Bernice has a Agony Aunt column, where she is less than helpful, like telling a child her pet is going to die and insulting somebody with a fear of her navel.
Bernice is a main character in the special, she shows her dismay with the season, she defaces a snowman, pulls a Robin off it's legs and throws a Urine Snowball at Santa Parade going pass. She hears Charlie Hull's story after offering him a pack of cigarettes from the boxes in her Confessionals. After hearing the story she questions Charlie's love for Stella which is none, then she questions his diet due to his pizzas that the dream is worthless and kicks Charlie despite his loneliness. Then with Matthew Parker she hears his story after he says of wanting to destroy every decoration he sees. After telling her of his Vampire Tale, she is less than impressed and reveals that she is her bitter way after her Mother was taken on Christmas by somebody dressed like Santa. After Matthew leaves she is about to close the church when Dr. Chinnery comes after another "accident", he tells Bernice what happened to his Great Grandfather and the curse he was given. Bernice changed by his story decides to help him telling him that only his belief of the curse that causing him to slip up, she convinces him to go to his last job with the confidence to do it well. As Bernice with her faith restored is preparing for Christmas Day, she is greeted by who she is the Santa she snowballed, however when he speaks, it Papa Lazarou who years before kidnapped her Mother and is now for her. She escapes the back door only to be captured by his minions and taken in the sleigh as Papa's new wife.
Bernice is seen on a lost poster in the first Episode One and in the final episode inside the Elephant, with Charlie and Brian.
In the 2017 special Bernice is now the mayor of Royston Vasey, she protects the town from being erased due to changes of the local boundary, she also plans to do fracking under the town. After saving the town Bernice is less than impressed revealing that when she escaped the elephant she made a deal with Papa Lazarou to create a Wife Mine under the town.
Bernice had a major role in the movie, she predicted the Apocalypse, arranged for some of the characters to save the town though the crypt which goes to the real world. However at the end she has Free Will and so she goes into a relationship with Pauline.
Live at Drury Lane
In Act 2 we see that Bernice has her own Agony TV Show, the theme for that show is Obesity, then Pam (played by Steve Pemberton) a large obese woman comes on, upon sitting on the sofa Bernice jumps in the air briefly, Pam explains that her family is thin and Pam has only been this way because her Mother died and she used food to deal with grief, as Bernice goes on she uses back handed insults and then is downright hurtful. She insults Pam for all her excuses and reveals that she lost her Mother but she doesn't stuff her face. After that Bernice reveals the next week's episode.
Are Behind You?
Bernice's talk show is about Dwarfism, she has a elf from Santa's Workshop called Robin Halfshanks, whom prefers to be called A Person of Restricted Grown or as Bernice calls him a P.R.O.G and what starts light heart jokes ends up insulting him after he fights back Bernice throws Robin off stage. At the end Tubbs reveals that Bernice's show has had complaints she is moved to Channel Five, she is heard presented Celebrity Crucifixion.
- There was a scene planned for Pauline and Bernice to sit in the local Cafe having an insult battle, the League talked about it in the Series Three First Episode's community when Pauline and Ross are at the Raw Egg, the only they said was "Lady I will take you down."
- Bernice also talked to about local news in the Church Service, there was meet to be a Gardening Contest to regenerate the area which she flatly described as putting Lipstick on a corpse.
- Bernice's confessional scenes for Series Two was to be a way of being her into the series: the first had her speaking to Pam the obese woman and verbally abusing her out of the booth. The second had a woman confessing that after her elderly Father suffered a stroke, she gave him an Overdose of The Painkillers as his Doctor gave her more than enough, then Bernice revealed she has fitted a sliding lock to the door and calls the police.
- The Christmas Special was to go with the Vampire Story, then Charlie's Dream but it was switched, the scenes are presented in that order in the script book.
- In the Pantomime she was to speak Rumplestiltskin but the League preferred an Elf.
Behind the Scenes
- Bernice's Chapel is called The Chapel of Hope.
- Bernice speaking to the children in Series One was done in two parts Reece did all of Bernice's commending in a Studio space and the children were in a real classroom as Legz Akimbo appears, so their sad faces were acting.
- The Love/Hate tattoo is based on Robert Mitchum's in the film The Night of the Hunter,
- The Tattoo Parlour reappeared in Series 3.
- When shooting the flashback of little Bernice in the Christmas special they gave the little girl Bernice's exact wig, but they did try to give her Bernice's teeth as well but the little girl ended up in pain so it was not used.
- In the Christmas Special DVD, the Subtitles censor a word that Bernice said due to the insult to disabled people.
- The It's Bernice sign for the Pantomime was only used for the taping for DVD as no other stage could fit it.