Radio Times Festival Dispatches: Grantchester


Radiotimesfestival_snip_21Today was the second day (well, technically the third, but the second that we’ve attended) and aside from sitting in on two sessions featuring the excellent Peter Bowker (for the upcoming BBC three-parter, Capital (based on John Lanchester novel) and the marvellous, ahem, Marvellous) and watching a highlights film made up from snippets of footage from ITV programmes in 1964, we took in a session featuring one of the hits of last year, Grantchester.

With creator James Runcie unable to attend due to illness, it was down to executive producer Diederick Santer, writer Daisy Coulam and stars Robson Green and Al Weaver to provide the entertainment.

Santer explained that he had received the manuscript of Runcie’s first novel six months before publication and immediately knew that he wanted to work on it. He pitched it to ITV straight away. The world and the characters leapt of the page.


The Grantchester panel

Robson Green, meanwhile, was filming Strike Back in Thailand when the star of the show received a serious injury during filming, which meant he suddenly had some time to fill. He was offered roles in both Russell T Davies’s risque Cucumbers and Grantchester. He chose Grantchester because he loved the characters and the world of Grantchester, a place he’d like to live. He also said there was an immediate rapport between himself and James Norton, and that he thinks the relationship between the two characters is like a romance. Santer chipped in and said it was like a Guardian reader and a Sun reader being frfriends.

Writer Daisy Coulman said that she was drawn to the world because of the 1950s period and the fact that it was a time of post-war change. She said that her working relationship with Runcie was laid back – they often went for boozy lunches at his gentleman’s club, where made suggestions. Sometimes they had disagreed on things, like the time Sidney slept with the black jazz singer in series one.

With series two set for ITV in early 2016, we’ll see an arc that takes in the murder of a 15-year- old girl in the village that affects the whole community (a bit like Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks, Coulman said) and Sidney and Geordie’s relationship become fractured. Geordie will also try to find Sidney a woman.

We saw a clip – potentially the opening g scene from series two – where Sidney and Geordie emerge in swimming trunks from a swim in a lake. Not long after, on their return to the village, Sidney is arrested for an apparent sexual assault.








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