With the BBC2 series A Vicar’s Life now over, are the congregations of Breinton, Cloddock and Craswall bursting at the seams?

“As well as the film being used for training purposes in theological colleges, there has also been a monumental increase in the number of people from within the clergy looking at current vacancies within rural ministry,” said Nicholas Lowton, rural dean of Abbeydore and vicar of the Black Mountains Group of Parishes.

“The series could have been sneering and glib, but it was positive and sympathetic.

“It’s given a great feeling of confidence among people and clergy, where we have small churches and ageing congregations.”

He is keen to emphasise that his ministry is about building relationships and not about bums on pews. The emphasis is on connecting with families away from the traditional Sunday morning service with messy church, school assemblies and food banks.

“If you don’t form relationships you are left sitting in an empty church,” he said. “People think that harvest and Easter are the busiest times in church, but they’re not. It’s weddings and funerals and those are the times to reach people. Sittings inside a building, making relationships.”

Ruth Hulse, team vicar in West Hereford, agreed. “We could have been stitched up,” she said. “But I’m really pleased with it.

“We’ve had no end of baptism inquiries and increased visitors to the churches.”

She has also managed to put some visitors in touch with their local clergy.

The only thing Ruth felt wasn’t truly represented was the healthy numbers within her congregations which were reputed to be in decline and which isn’t the case.