Grantchester (TV series)

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Grantchester
Series title over a view of the countryside
Genre Drama
Based on The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie
Written by Daisy Coulam
Directed by Harry Bradbeer
Starring
Composer(s) John Lunn
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 19 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Diederick Santer
Rebecca Eaton
Producer(s) Emma Kingsman-Lloyd
Cinematography Julian Court
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Lovely Day/Masterpiece co-production
Distributor Shine Group
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release 6 October 2014 (2014-10-06) – present

Grantchester is a British ITV detective drama, set in the 1950s Cambridgeshire village of the same name. The show features Anglican vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton), who develops a sideline in sleuthing with the help of Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green). The series is based on The Grantchester Mysteries, collections of short stories written by James Runcie.[1] The first series was based on the six stories from the first book, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, and was broadcast in 2014.[2] A second series aired in March and April 2016, and a third series began its run on 23 April 2017. A fourth series was announced on 12 April 2018, and it was confirmed that this would be the last to feature James Norton in the lead.[3] In June 2018 it was announced that Tom Brittney would take over the lead from Norton, playing a character called Reverend Will Davenport.[4]

Plot[edit]

Anglican priest and former Scots Guards officer Sidney Chambers (James Norton) and the overworked Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) forge an unlikely partnership in solving crimes. Keating's gruff, methodical approach to policing complements Chambers' more intuitive techniques of coaxing information from witnesses and suspects.

Cast[edit]

  • James Norton as the Reverend Sidney Chambers (Series 1–4),[5][6] Anglican vicar and former Scots Guards officer during World War II
  • Robson Green as Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Series 1–),[5] who is also a WWII veteran
  • Morven Christie as Amanda Kendall Hopkins (Series 1–),[5] heiress and art restorer at London's Dulwich Picture Gallery with whom Sidney shares a relationship complicated by their social status.
  • Tessa Peake-Jones as Mrs. Sylvia Maguire (Series 1–),[5] Sidney's maternal, devoutly religious and cantankerous housekeeper
  • Al Weaver as junior Anglican curate, Leonard Finch (Series 1–)[5]
  • Kacey Ainsworth as Cathy Keating (Series 1–),[5] Geordie's wife
  • Tom Austen as Guy Hopkins (Series 1–),[5] Amanda's husband
  • Lorne MacFayden as Detective Sergeant Phil Wilkinson (Series 2-), Geordie's partner on the force
  • Seline Hizli as Margaret Ward (Series 2–),[5] junior office clerk at police headquarters who is having an affair with Geordie
  • Tom Brittney as Reverend Will Davenport (Series 4 – )
  • Pip Torrens as Amanda's father, Sir Edward Kendall (Series 1, Christmas special)[5]
  • Pheline Roggan as Hildegard Staunton (Series 1),[5] a young German widow with whom Sidney has a brief romance
  • Fiona Button as Jennifer Chambers (Series 1),[5] Sidney's younger sister who is Amanda's former classmate
  • Oliver Dimsdale as photographer Daniel Marlowe who is attracted to Leonard (Series 2-)
  • Gary Beadle as Archdeacon Gabriel Atubo (Series 3)
  • Nick Brimble as Jack Chapman, Mrs. Maguire's second husband (Series 1-)
  • David Troughton as Detective Chief Inspector Benson (Series 1-)
  • Joe Claflin as Detective Constable Atkins (Series 1)
  • Gregg Lowe as Sandy (Series 1)

Production[edit]

Robson Green and James Norton, filming Grantchester on Clare College Bridge, Cambridge in September 2015
St Andrew and St Mary Church in the village of Grantchester, which features in the TV series.

Filming for the first series began in London, Cambridge and Grantchester from March to June 2014.[7]

The second series was filmed in Autumn 2015,[8] and guest stars included Neil Morrissey, Claudie Blakley, Nigel Planer, Andrew Knott, Nicky Henson and Oliver Dinsdale.[9] The third series was filmed between August and November 2016, and filming for the fourth series commenced in June 2018.[10]

Grantchester itself is used for extensive filming, with the Church of St Andrew and St Mary used for the church interior and churchyard scenes. A private home in Lemsford, Hertfordshire, doubles as the vicarage, while the Windmill pub in Chipperfield is used for The Red Lion. King's Parade in Cambridge has been transformed to represent various 1950s street scenes, complete with period cars and buses. Horsted Keynes railway station, on the Bluebell Railway, in West Sussex has been used to double for Cambridge station.[11]

Chatham Dockyard in Kent has doubled for various London locations, including the exterior of Kings Cross Station, Borough Market, and the exterior and interior of a warehouse and ropery. Commissioners House was also used for filming.[12]


Critical reception[edit]

The first episode was generally well received by the critics. Michael Pilgrim of The Daily Telegraph wrote: "Delightfully neat and economical of plot, it’s Cluedo with cassocks and just enough noir for the modern palate. Victoria sponge with a tablespoon of battery acid." He added that "There could be a worse antidote than Grantchester" in a grim October in the early 21st century.[13] Christopher Stevens of The Daily Mail considered it "an imaginative effort to solve the crossword by plucking hints from just about every classic crime series in television history", "shamelessly" borrowing from Inspector Morse, Miss Marple and Father Brown. He found the episode to be laden with nostalgia but judged it "an earnest attempt to construct an old-fashioned murder story, without naked corpses on the mortuary table or self-pitying depressive detectives, or any of the current fads in crime TV."[14] Ellen Jones of The Independent thought the programme "delightful, a new treat for fans of period-set, gently paced detective series like Endeavour, and also for fans of top TV totty James Norton."[15]

The first series was given a Metacritic score of 70, indicating generally favourable reviews based on 10 American reviews.[16]

Broadcast[edit]

The first series was broadcast in the UK on ITV starting 6 October 2014.[11] The show premiered in the United States on 18 January 2015 on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. It premiered in Australia on 28 February 2015 on ABC.[17] A French version premiered on France 3 from 12 July 2015. Series 2 was broadcast on PBS in the US from 27 March 2016.[18] The series was licensed to Amazon Prime in a multi-year deal; that network gained the rights to air the episodes of all seasons after PBS affiliates had done so.[19]

Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired Ave. UK viewers
(millions)
First aired Last aired
1 6 6 October 2014 (2014-10-06) 10 November 2014 (2014-11-10) 6.63
2 6 2 March 2016 (2016-03-02) 6 April 2016 (2016-04-06) 6.44
Special 24 December 2016 (2016-12-24) 6.11
3 6 23 April 2017 (2017-04-23) 28 May 2017 (2017-05-28) 6.23

Episode list[edit]

Official episode viewing figures are from BARB.[20]

Series 1 (2014)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions)
11"Episode 1"Harry BradbeerDaisy Coulam6 October 2014 (2014-10-06)7.69
When a man's death is ruled a suicide, his mistress appeals to the Reverend Sidney Chambers, insisting her lover was murdered. Chambers uses his position to make inquiries, bringing him the disapproving attention of an overworked local police detective, Inspector Geordie Keating.
22"Episode 2"Harry BradbeerDaisy Coulam13 October 2014 (2014-10-13)6.51
Jennifer bullies Sidney into attending Amanda's engagement dinner, where he reunites with old school friends. Tensions rise when the engagement ring goes missing, and later one of the school friends is murdered.
33"Episode 3"Jill RobertsonDaisy Coulam20 October 2014 (2014-10-20)6.23
Amanda asks a heartbroken Sidney to officiate at her wedding. Sidney investigates the death of a parishioner who predicted her future son-in-law would murder her. Mrs. Maguire calls Inspector Keating to investigate when the deceased's sister is also found dead.
44"Episode 4"Jill RobertsonDaisy Coulam27 October 2014 (2014-10-27)6.54
Sidney rescues a parishioner from her burning home, but shortly afterwards her husband is stabbed to death in a public garden. As Sidney and Geordie investigate, they discover both incidents are related to illegal homosexual activity, revealing deep local and legal prejudices. Geordie is distracted when his baby son contracts a potentially fatal illness. (Note: While the story in this episode is not based on stories in the books, the murderer and motive are).
55"Episode 5"Tim FywellDaisy Coulam3 November 2014 (2014-11-03)6.42
Sidney and Geordie are invited to Straight 8's Jazz Club in London, owned by the father of Jennifer's boyfriend. When the boyfriend's sister is murdered, the investigation reveals ties to a murder committed years earlier and a police cover-up.
66"Episode 6"Tim FywellDaisy Coulam10 November 2014 (2014-11-10)6.37
Geordie is shot while he and Sidney investigate the shooting of a policeman. Sidney is shunned by the senior officer in charge when he finds a connection between the two shootings. Sidney's war flashbacks, Amanda's impending marriage, and Sidney's deception of Hildegard leave his private life in tatters. (Note: This episode is not based on stories in the books).

Series 2 (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions)
71"Episode 1"Tim FywellDaisy Coulam2 March 2016 (2016-03-02)7.12
Sidney is accused of sexual assault by the father of 15 year old Abigail Redmond, citing the evidence of her unseen diary. Geordie and Sidney find her body at a photographer's studio. Suspects include Daniel Marlowe, a gay photographer (who had unwittingly taken and published adult photographs of Abigail without knowing her age), her possessive and violent father, and her school friend Gary Bell, a young, mentally-challenged teenager. Sidney discovers Abigail was pregnant, and that his superiors in the church were hiding a secret – Sam Milburn, a fellow vicar with a dark past.
82"Episode 2"Tim FywellJohn Jackson9 March 2016 (2016-03-09)6.51
The apparent suicide of a daredevil lecturer, fallen from a spire of King's College chapel, leads Geordie and Sidney into the world of Soviet spies. Sidney knows the spire cannot be climbed alone. When a witness claims the lecturer was pushed, suspicion falls on the lecturer's star pupil. An official warns Geordie to drop the investigation. Amanda's husband, Guy, threatens Sidney after a visit by Amanda.
93"Episode 3"David O'NeillDaisy Coulam16 March 2016 (2016-03-16)6.32
A young parishioner confesses to killing his landlord with a knife. Geordie and Sidney find the landlord alive and well. He is later killed in front of them by a hit and run driver. A knife wound leads them back to the young man, who has an alibi, and the landlord's manipulative wife, who cannot drive. Leonard, who is still in the closet, and Daniel Marlowe, the gay photographer from Episode 1 go on an awkward date at the cinema. Amanda, unhappy with Guy, returns to Grantchester and finds Sidney has a new girlfriend, Margaret.
104"Episode 4"David O'NeillJoshua St Johnston23 March 2016 (2016-03-23)6.34
Gary Bell, a mentally-challenged teenager who had caused Abigail's death in a well-meaning accident, is tried for Abigail Redmond's murder. Sidney and Geordie's disagreement over the boy's case strains their friendship. A horse breeder is found hung in his stable, just as his first wife was several months earlier. Sidney convinces Geordie they were both murdered by someone close to them. Amanda's disintegrating relationship with Guy leads her back to Grantchester, and Margaret becomes jealous. Meanwhile, Leonard struggles with his attraction to Daniel Marlowe.
115"Episode 5"Edward BennettDaisy Coulam30 March 2016 (2016-03-30)6.10
Amanda promotes a petition to stop Gary's execution. A man arrested by Geordie for physically abusing his wife dies in his cell; suspicion falls on Geordie, who has bruised knuckles and was friendly with the man's wife, who had no legal grounds to hold the man as his wife would not make out a complaint. Margaret's statement about Geordie's state of mind causes Sidney to doubt his friend's innocence. Dead rats at the dead man's house provide another solution. Meanwhile, Leonard tries to come to terms with his homosexuality when Daniel Marlowe, the gay photographer, kisses him. Sidney is present at Gary's hanging; Geordie's testimony at the trial and Sidney's inability to stop the unjust execution drive him to drink.
126"Episode 6"Edward BennettDaisy Coulam6 April 2016 (2016-04-06)6.26
The events of the previous months and his broken friendship with Geordie prey heavily on Sidney. Sam Milburn, the disgraced vicar who had molested Abigail, returns to ask Sidney for forgiveness, and Abigail's father threatens to kill him. When blood is found on the girl's gravestone and Milburn disappears, Sidney seeks Geordie's help to find him. They discover he is lodging with the mother of a missing 14 year old girl. Leonard uncovers evidence that the Archdeacon knew that Milburn was a serial abuser of young girls and tried to cover it up, but his celebratory mood is dashed by Daniel Marlowe, the gay photographer he has been stepping out with. Pregnant Amanda, unable to accept the future before her, leaves Guy and is disowned by her father; she turns to Sidney again for solace, and Sidney makes a choice that may alter his standing with the Church.

Christmas Special (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions)
131"Christmas Special"Edward BennettDaisy Coulam24 December 2016 (2016-12-24)6.11
A groom fails to turn up for his wedding and is found dead at home following a break-in. The groom's bride, a striptease artist, her club boss, and the groom's son are suspected of murder. The discovery of two wedding rings stuffed in the victim's throat alludes to another suspect Geordie knows who he believes killed nine years earlier in the same way. Amanda's attempt at reconciliation with her father fails and she ends up homeless. Found by Leonard, as she is about to give birth, he takes her to the vicarage. The baby, Grace, born on Christmas Eve presents Sidney with the dilemma of another man's baby that Geordie equates with Joseph and Mary from the bible.

Series 3 (2017)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions)
141"Episode 1"Tim FywellDaisy Coulam23 April 2017 (2017-04-23)6.95
Sidney receives a dead crow and a series of anonymous phone calls. Geordie calls Sidney to see the body of a respected doctor found dead in the church, together with a dead crow. A connection between Sidney and the doctor is the funeral he conducted of a matron three months earlier. Both the doctor and matron worked at a mental institution. Amanda's husband, Guy, wishes to see his baby daughter, and Sidney ponders his relationship with her, as does Leonard, regarding his own sexuality, when a new archdeacon makes his views known on their responsibilities to the church. Geordie's marriage is strained when his feelings for his secretary, Margaret, come to the fore.
152"Episode 2"Tim FywellJohn Jackson30 April 2017 (2017-04-30)6.43
While playing cricket for the local cricket side, Sidney and Geordie find racism rearing its ugly head against Pakistani batsman, Zafar Ali. After a disputed decision the game is forfeited by the team captain, local solicitor, Geoff Towler. After the match, the teams go down with mild arsenic poisoning from tainted beer. The following morning, Zafar Ali is found dead from the same poison with a myriad of suspects including Geoff Towler and his daughter, Annie, who was secretly in love with Zafar. Amanda seeks a divorce but the law requires grounds such as adultery and the church does not allow priests to marry divorcees. Sidney discovers Geordie's affair with his secretary, placing him in a dilemma with Geordie's wife.
163"Episode 3"Rebecca GatwardDaisy Coulam and Oliver Frampton7 May 2017 (2017-05-07)6.27
Leonard and his new lady friend, Hilary, are witness to an armed robbery at the post office, and they identify garage owner, Walter Dunn, a known felon, as the robber. Geordie arms himself and his fellow officers to arrest Dunn, but finds him in his office above his garage, shot dead. Geordie arrests Dunn's wife and her garage mechanic lover. A second armed robbery, wounding the postal clerk, leads to suspects nearer to home. Amanda and Guy agree to arrange a divorce with him as the adulterer. Geordie continues his affair with Margaret, Leonard proposes to Hilary, and Sidney finally gives in to his feelings for Amanda.
174"Episode 4"Rebecca GatwardDaisy Coulam14 May 2017 (2017-05-14)6.34
Josephine Sutton is found fatally injured following a fall at her factory workplace. A time discrepancy and other clues lead Geordie to suspect she was injured elsewhere. Mrs Maguire's husband, missing for 10 years, returns with disturbing news. Sidney cannot reconcile his love for Amanda with his faith. Leonard's relationship with Hilary becomes difficult. Believing he is an abomination, he attempts suicide. Geordie buys Margaret a necklace. Geordie finds his investigation hampered by his own colleagues, whom he realises are freemasons, as is the factory owner. Geordie's affair is exposed. Sidney makes a decision to make time to think.
185"Episode 5"Rob EvansJess Williams21 May 2017 (2017-05-21)5.61
Sidney leaves his clerical collar behind and hitchhikes across the country to find Ronnie, Mrs Maguire's husband, at a Romany camp and recover the money he had taken. Geordie's wife throws him out of their home. Sidney discovers Ronnie has another family and news of this and the money goes through the camp. When Ronnie is murdered and the money goes missing, the Romanies seek their own justice. Mrs Maguire seeks out the other Mrs Maguire with Geordie's help while Sidney seeks the killer in the underlying tensions of the camp. Geordie ends his relationship with Margaret. Amanda gives Sidney an ultimatum.
196"Episode 6"Rob EvansDaisy Coulam28 May 2017 (2017-05-28)5.79
September 1955. Sidney has lost his faith in the church and writes a resignation letter. When a boy, Archie Reilly, claims he was nearly abducted, his story is doubted by his father and Geordie. Archie's brother Jacob then goes missing. A scarf Archie saw leads to an all-female college where his father teaches and where he has a number of relationships with his students. Geordie's behaviour grows more and more unstable as he wrestles with family problems and violently takes it out on a suspect, a troubled friend of Sidney's. As the vicar grows closer to the truth about the missing child, he is forced to choose between his love for Amanda and his faith when he realises the community needs him more than ever. Mrs Maguire marries Jack Chapman and at the wedding reception Leonard and Geordie renew their respective relationships.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Graeme Virtue (3 November 2014). "Grantchester's holy sleuths are brimming with bromance and charm". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "ITV commissions six-part series Grantchester". ITV. 7 November 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "'Granchester Renewed for Series 4". 
  4. ^ "Tom Brittney to replace James Norton as new Grantchester clergyman". The Irish News. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Grantchester: Cast & Credits". PBS. Archived from the original on 10 February 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Vicar's name is spelled "Sidney" not "Sydney Chambers".
  7. ^ "ITV media centre". UK: ITV Media. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Grantchester – And that's a wrap on Series 2!!! – Facebook". 
  9. ^ Watt, Andrew. "Neil Morrissey joins cast of Grantchester for series two". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Grantchester Returns to ITV for Fourth Series". ITV.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  11. ^ a b Armstrong, Hayley (6 October 2014). "Production services website". UK: Creative England. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Grantchester Article". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. 
  13. ^ Michael Pilgrim (6 October 2014). "Grantchester, review, episode 1: 'delightfully neat'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Christopher Stevens (6 October 2014). "Call the cops! Robson Green has stolen from Morse AND Marple: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV". The Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. 
  15. ^ Ellen E Jones (6 October 2014). "Grantchester, ITV – TV review: A delightful treat for period drama fans". The Independent. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "Grantchester : Season 1". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "Airdate: Grantchester". 8 February 2014. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Grantchester – 3 reasons to watch the new Grantchester... – Facebook". 
  19. ^ https://deadline.com/2015/06/amazon-licensing-rights-wolf-hall-grantchester-1201464264/
  20. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.  ITV only, does not include figures from ITV+1

External links[edit]