Interview with Tom Brittney for Grantchester S7
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Grantchester S7: Tom Brittney

Interview with Tom Brittney – Will Davenport in Grantchester

Where do we find Will Davenport at the beginning of series seven?

Will is very happy in his work and his life in Grantchester but he realises that something is missing and he wants some excitement. He introduces Geordie to the underground world of Jazz clubs and whilst they’re there Will meets someone that changes his life in a lot of ways, for good and for bad.

What does your character have in store for him in this series?

This series really tests Will’s romantic life and relationships. A person comes into his life and causes a lot of problems because when Will falls in love, he falls hard. Then someone else comes along, who Will wasn’t expecting and they throw a spanner into the works and he has a real dilemma on his hands of what to do. He needs to choose between following his head or his heart.

What was it like directing an episode for series seven?

It was amazing! It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had on a set, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was young, I finally got a chance to do it. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew to work with, they’re all my best friends and my family and we all really helped each other through the experience.

The Executive Producers were always on hand if I needed help with anything. I was worried beforehand that I might not know what I was doing or that I might have been in too deep but I never felt like that but it all went a lot smoother than I’d anticipated.

The script was great and lots of people asked what it was like for me to direct Robson as we’re so close and if it was difficult, but it wasn’t at all, Robson takes direction so well. I knew I was always going to get the result that I needed.

So now you’ve experienced both acting and directing, do you prefer being behind the camera or in front of it?

It’s a tough one! I think directing has the edge for me but that doesn’t mean I’m going to switch careers, I’m just going to try and do both! Maybe not directing myself again as it’s quite odd. As an actor I like a strong director and when you’re directing yourself, you’re constantly asking yourself ‘Was that good? Could I have done that better?’

You have to be objective about yourself and I preferred the days when I could just focus on directing as opposed to trying to do two jobs at the same time.

What are the themes that are explored in this series?

I think family may be the biggest one in this series. Mrs C finds out some news that tests her own faith and the way that she looks at the family around her. With Will, his storyline with his relationships and something that happens later on in the series that could really destroy everyone.

There are a lot of secrets that come to the surface that test the Grantchester family unit and their love for one another and the bonds they’ve made with each other.

Charlotte Ritchie joins this season as Cathy’s niece. What was it like having her in the cast?

She’s great! I’ve seen Charlotte in a lot of projects before and I was so pleased that she came to star in Grantchester, it was a joy! We got along so well and she’s so funny. We’re lucky that everyone that comes to guest star in the show always fits in so well, there’s never any ego.

From day one it felt like Charlotte had been there for years. It was also a great experience working with Ellora Torchia who plays Maya.

Who would you most like to have as a guest star?

I worked with Amanda Abbington a couple of years ago, she played my mum and I loved working with her and I’d love her to star in Grantchester. Maybe I could give Tom Hanks a call? It would be great to get him in an episode.

We’re always so lucky with the wealth of talent that we get and that it’s a show that people want to do.

Not many shows continue to run for seven series, what do you think the secret is to Grantchester’s popularity?

It’s a melting pot of loads of key ingredients. I think it starts with the love for the show, the scripts are so well written, the locations are amazing, the producers, the execs and everyone at ITV care so much about what they are making and they really love the show. That filters down to Robson and I making sure it’s a fun set and I get to work with my best mate every day!

All of us, cast and crew, we really are a family and that really comes across on screen. It’s a beautifully made show by people who love to make it.

You and Robson are both pretty musical, have you ever suggested a Grantchester storyline where you could show that off?

Of course we have, multiple times! And we’ve been rejected multiple times! Who knows? I still hope that it’ll happen!

You had to pass your motorcycle test for Grantchester, do you enjoy riding the bike? Have you considered buying yourself a motorbike?

I do like it now but it took a while, I failed the test twice and I had a lot of pressure on me to pass quickly for the show. Motorbikes really are terrifying, I had to practice and you see those superbikes going down the motorway, they’re frightening!

One day, I sort of got the thrill and I understood why people love them so much. Now that I’ve got my licence I tell the Producers that they should make it worth my time and to write as many motorbike scenes as possible! Shots of Will on his motorbike aren’t that exciting for the viewers but for me as an actor, I love it!

I did get offered a motorbike but I don’t have the space for it and I get to ride it in a very safe environment for Grantchester, I feel like there would be a high chance of me crashing if I went out on one on my own!

RTS North East Awards 2022

Grantchester S7 E1