When you first joined the cast of Grantchester, did you think it would run for five series?
If anyone would have told me that the premise of a detective and a vicar solving crime in the 1950s in the village of Grantchester would run and run and be the success it is, I would have said, ‘What?’. But when I first read the script I knew instinctively it would be a hit.
I loved the script, the charm of it and the relationships I really liked. We did the read-through and it was a joy to read and after the first week of filming I thought, ‘this could run and run’, because it’s so likeable.
Grantchester often explores difficult storylines and themes doesn’t it?
I think this is the darkest series yet. However, the light and shade still remains because this is one of the funniest series as well.
The charm remains throughout the series, despite the terrible things that are happening because the characters, you care about them enough to want to follow them.
The series has gone from strength to strength and I feel, and I think everyone agrees, that this is the best yet, most definitely.
How does Geordie and Will’s relationship develop in this series?
Well it feels as if Geordie is the father Will never had, and Will is the son Geordie never had.
Will didn’t fight in World War II whereas Sidney [Chambers] did. Will has no experience of war and the terrible destruction that took place. Will has never seen that and Geordie has, so there is often that feeling from Geordie that Will has no idea what he’s talking about because he hasn’t lived that experience.
There is also that lovely argumentative aspect of their relationship but done in a likeable way. Will hasn’t gone through what Geordie has gone through, there has never been that shared experience. In a way, Will sometimes comes across as a petulant teenager and Geordie to Will comes across as a grumpy old dad!
The father and son aspect of the relationship is cemented in this series. And looking out for each other, the love for one another and mindfulness for one another is very strong in this series.
In series four, Geordie seemed to be struggling to keep up with the times. Is that the same in this series?
I think because of the way Will is with him, Geordie tries to change but he realises that he is such a principled man, and he sticks to his principles and I don’t know if that would ever change. And if it did I think it would affect the relationship and the programme.
The costumes that I wear as Geordie, we’ve got to the point where I don’t change my costume, the shirt, tie, shoes and socks. Obviously, there are seconds and thirds of that costume, but it’s just one look. And he will not change that look.
He’s comfortable and he’s very happy and he has an inner peace with who he is and what he looks like. I think that is a very endearing aspect of his character. No-one will ever change what he wears, to the point that the only change we’ve ever made with the costume is the tie.
I think it’s important for his look and the way he is, he is stuck in his ways but his ways are principled. He has incredible integrity and I think he sees that as a good thing. I think it’s good for the show as well.
How are things between Geordie and Cathy this series? Geordie and Cathy have a visitor come to stay don’t they?
The whole series deals with the theme of secrets and lies. Keeping secrets from a loved one or someone you care about.
On the surface everything appears happy in their relationship, Geordie has accepted Cathy’s position and vice-versa. Everything appears good, and Geordie suggests they get help to improve what is really good and so they move the mother-in-law in and this brings up so many secrets and so many lies that Cathy has held deep inside for so many years.
They manifest themselves throughout the series and it all comes to a head with Cathy.
The cast always speak highly of their time spent filming Grantchester. Why do you think that is?
People say again and again that Grantchester is a family but it’s not just that sycophantic actor speak. It’s real! We all look out for one another and we all take care of one another. The family aspect of Grantchester is real. And because we care so much about it, you end up loving it.
I’ve been in the business for 35 years and I’ve never been on a film set that is so joyous and life-affirming to be part of, I’m not exaggerating. There is a serendipity amongst everybody, a lovely happy connection with everyone, the whole team.
We all respect each department and what each person plays in making this joyous and very entertaining show. I think that manifests in front of the lens.