Last week I wrote about the TV series Grantchester, now in its sixth series. It was first shown in 2014, and based on the books by James Runcie, starred James Norton, Robson Green, Tessa Peake Jones, Al Weaver and Tom Britten who became the lead character when James Norton left the show. Set in the real village of Grantchester just south-east of Cambridge (and one of the reasons I watch!) it follows the criminal investigations by the Vicar of Grantchester (James Norton and now Tom Britten) and DCI Geordie Keating. You do have to suspend belief to go along with the idea that a vicar would be involved in so much police activity and at such an integrated level!
As well as the who-dunnit element, usually a murder but sometimes blackmail, theft and the usual screen-detective crimes, there’s a social story-line. As the stories are set in the 1950’s this reflects issues from the time, but slightly anachronistically to make the episodes more dramatic I guess. It’s picky, I guess to focus on things the characters do which in actual fact aren’t true to the time – men embracing for example – my son and husband always have a hug for each other, my dad and his father would never have done!
When I wrote about the first episode of the new series, I was a little lukewarm and slightly critical of various plot lines which seemed clumsy and unbelievable – yes, I know it’s all unbelievable, but a film or book has to let the viewer/reader suspend their disbelief successfully. Episode two, which was last night, had settled back on form, it seemed tighter, and more engaging even though the plot as ever was fairly far-fetched. There was one on-going story-line involving the curate, excellently played by Al Weaver, which was very moving and finished the episode on a real cliff-hanger. It’s the sort of series where the viewer knows everything will be alright in the end, but still keep watching! I think my thoughts about the series running out of steam are unjustified; it’s cosy, it’s engaging, it’s easy-viewing, but the acting is excelelnt.. and of course there’s the backdrop of the real village of Grantchester, and the River Granta!