Gabriël is a South African, Afrikaans-language television sitcom created and written by Hélène Truter and based on her radio play of the same name revolving around the scandal in a small rural town which arises when the local minister marries an English woman.
The series originally aired on SABC2 from 27 August to 19 November, 2005, on Saturdays at 18h30. It later aired on SABC3. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Gabriël premiered on SABC3 on Thursday 6 October 2011, at 18h30. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 13 half-hour episodes in one season.
Sonderend is a typical rural village where the minister and his wife are more important than the mayor or the president. This is the backdrop against which the sitcom Gabriël plays out.
The story begins when Dominee Gabriël (a widower, played by Marcel van Heerden) attends a church conference and brings along his new wife, Delia (Jo da Silva).
Of course the community is shocked by this development, especially the spinster Eureka (Isadora Verwey), who struggles to accept the marriage. She harbours her own intimate cherished dreams of a life with the "doom".
To make matters worse, according to Eureka, Delia is an "unholy English woman" who is an alternative psychotherapist.
The comedy is built around the events that originate here and was written by Hélène Truter whose own father was a conservative minister.
Other familiar faces starring in the series are Tobie Cronje as Sakkie and Denise Newman as Patience. Newcomers include Quentin Krog as the Reverend's rebellious son Braam and Melt Sieberhagen as Johnny, the naive church organist.
Gabriël was nominated for eight awards at the second South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) in 2007, winning the Best Makeup and Hair in a TV Comedy award. The other nominees were as follows:
- Best TV Comedy
- Best Actress in a TV Comedy (Jo da Silva)
- Best Supporting Actress in a TV Comedy (Elize Cawood)
- Best Supporting Actress in a TV Comedy (Denise Newman)
- Best Supporting Actor in a TV Comedy (Ben Kruger)
- Best Writer/Writing Team in a TV Comedy (Hélène Truter)
- Best Art Direction in a TV Comedy (Naobi Noisette)
Episode 1: Madam Reverend
Reverend Gabriël van Niekerk from Sonderend goes to Johannesburg for a Press Conference and comes back married; even his family and congregation is astounded.
To top it all off his young wife Delia is an English speaking alternative therapist – not the one stop street town's idea of a Mrs. Reverend.
Eureka, the town's spinster librarian is especially upset. Her long life dream was to one day become the Reverend Mother.
Episode 2: A Bok for Sports
It is Delia's second day and Eureka confronts her first thing in the morning with a long list of cake and tea appointments that she set up for her. Eureka thinks it's about time that she meets the Reverend's congregation.
This leads to great consternation because Delia finds the town's people even stranger than they find her.
Episode 3: For Better or for Wors
Uncle Vasie and Aunt Malie visit the parsonage, just after they moved to the Old Age Home. Delia and Aunt Malie start talking and Delia discovers that staying at the Old Age Home is leading to marital problems for the two.
There and then she takes Aunt Malie for a therapy session. This causes problems especially since Gabriël doesn't agree with the advice Delia gives Aunt Malie.
Episode 4: Baptise Me Reverend, Baptise Me
Gabriël discovers that Delia has never been baptised and suggests that he baptise her. What will the community say when they hear about this?
Delia certainly doesn't want to hear anything about it. She feels it is a terrible embarrassment to be baptised at her age.
Delia discovers that Gabriël placed her name on the Baptist list without her permission and sparks immediately fly. We'll also meet Sakkie, an unauthorised electrician.
Episode 5: In Another Time
Sakkie buys Patience a gift to make up for the mess that the explosion made in her kitchen. Delia believes that Gabriël, Patience and the entire town is in cahoots to get her pregnant.
Episode 6: William Becomes Angry
The whole town is in an uproar because someone is destroying all the packages in the Post Office. Delia takes the culprit for therapy and it almost has disastrous consequences, especially for the poor Gabriël who also has to deal with Delia's pregnant hormonal outbursts.
Braam is building his muscles for the annual Maize Mister title.
Episode 7: The True Jacob
Gabriël is very upset because archaeologists have come to Sonderend's caves in search of artifacts. He uses Sakkie to try and drive them away but his plan goes horribly wrong.
Braam on the other hand sees the archaeologists' interest in Sonderend as an opportunity to make money by having a Ghost Festival in the cave, but his plans go askew.
Episode 8: Heiden
Eureka finds out that Delia cannot stand her domineering mother. When she and Jannie arrange a baby shower for Delia she makes sure that Delia's mother is invited.
Delia is extremely unhappy with the baby shower and her mother's visit because she feels fat and ugly. Her only highlight is that her half sister Sunshine is coming with.
Braam is hopelessly in love with Sunshine.
Episode 9: The Beast Ball
It is time for the annual Beast Ball at Sonderend and the community is in an uproar. Both Jannie and Braam want to take Sunshine to the Ball and a bloody fight breaks out between the two.
Gabriël takes dance lessons from Patience because he wants to dance with his wife at the Ball. Patience doesn't have much hope for her student.
Episode 10: Friday the 13th
Delia persuades Gabriël that he must be the annual Christmas Concerts Director and not Eureka, a decision that Gabriël regrets when Delia changes the Christmas concert to a musical play and refuses to give Eureka the role of Mother Mary.
Episode 11: 40 Days and 40 Nights
It's been raining for days on end. The river is flooded and Gabriël, Delia, Braam, Patience, Jannie and Eureka are trapped in the parsonage, cut off from the outside world.
Gabriël suggests that they keep themselves busy by keeping up the cancelled Christmas Concert. Out of pure discouragement, Delia agrees to let Eureka take over as director.
Eureka degenerates into a dictator and drives everyone into a frenzy.
Delia decides that the only way to get Eureka out of her and Gabriël's lives is to find her a husband. The only problem is that the men of Sonderend all know Eureka to well.
Kas Klopper, a coffin dealer, arrives in town as though he was sent. Delia introduces him to Eureka and there and then the trouble begins.
Episode 13: A Bundle of Joy
Delia is highly pregnant and is knitting booties with little success. Gabriël is in shock when Delia tells him that she wants to have the baby in the parsonage. He tries everything in his power to change her mind.
Meanwhile Braam is looking for a woman on the Internet.
There are 13 half-hour episodes in one season
Channel: SABC2 | Premiere: 27 Aug 2005 | Finale: 19 Nov 2005 | Saturdays, 18h30
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 6 Oct 2011 | Finale: 29 Dec 2011 | Thursdays, 18h30