Murder at the cricket, afternoon tea with the Archdeacon and a country home asylum exposed. Hold on to your straw hats, Grantchester is back.
I often wonder why I like this show as much as I do, considering the fact that it is essentially an ITV period drama about a hard-drinking jazz-listening chain-smoking yet sensitive vicar with a penchant for crime solving and his straight-talking plays-it-rough detective best friend. Oh wait, I think I just answered my own question.
Seriously, I know that the whodunnit element is generally predictable, you can see character beats coming a mile off, and it’s guaranteed that at least one point in the series they’ll make a heavy-handed point about the racism/sexism/homophobia of the 1950s, of course never committed by our hero. But by gosh, if it’s not entertaining.
I joke about the heavy-handed treatment of the discrimination, but of course I appreciate it when these topics are handled in an interesting and sensitive fashion, such as Leonard’s deeply affecting storyline about being a closeted gay curate at a time when same-sex relations were condemned by both the Church and the state, wonderfully acted by Al Weaver.
All of the actors on the show are very good, and I’ve grown to love these characters over the past few series, from Sidney and his melodramatic and ever-going internal struggle between the Church and his heart, to the always lovely and charming Amanda, and her recent difficulties as a single mother in a largely conservative and closed minded English village.
It’s a nice form of escapism, disappearing for an hour every Sunday evening into the sunny English countryside, where the characters have issues to deal with- not least the murders that seem to happen on a semi-regular basis- but at least they’re not your issues.
This week it was murder at the cricket, with a young batsman mysteriously dying of arsenic poisoning. Meanwhile, Amanda makes enquiries about divorce proceedings and Leonard continues his courtship of the nice girl he met last week, after the Archdeacon’s thinly veiled warning to assimilate. It’s so exasperating, as it seems like they have similar interests and temperaments and would make good friends, but this kind of situation ends well for no one involved.
If you’re not sure about Grantchester, give it a watch and see what you think. My friend had never seen an episode before last week’s but ended up really enjoying it. I, for one, can’t wait until this Sunday.