Here’s a thing: Grantchester, the cosy crime series based on the novels by James Runcie, has got its own Christmas special this year. That bastion of festive TV normally reserved for the likes of talent, comedy and cookery shows has now flung open its arms to include the crime drama. This one-off episode of the Robson Green and James Morton vehicle, set in bucolic, 1950s Cambridgeshire, now has a confirmed transmission date.
It’s the week before Christmas 1954, and the forecast is for snow in the beautiful Cambridge village of Grantchester. For vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton), this is the busiest time of the year and he is rushed off his feet with festive duties. Which is useful, as it means he doesn’t have time to think about his beloved Amanda (Morven Christie), estranged from her husband and heavily pregnant, who has taken up residence nearby with her Aunt CeCe (Anna Chancellor). Sidney loves her – but whether she’s married or divorced, there is no way he can be with her.
Meanwhile curate Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is embarking on an ambitious production of the nativity with the local children, and Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) is grumpy at the festive spirit – all of which leaves Sidney happy to bury himself in his pastoral work.
Which is when a weeping bride reports the disappearance of her husband-to-be, and Sidney and Geordie find themselves drawn into picking through the murky motives of a winter wedding. When the would-be groom turns up dead with the wedding rings lodged in his mouth, Geordie is horrified – it has all the hallmarks of an unsolved murder from nine years before.
Geordie’s prime suspect back then was local toyshop owner Albert Tannen (Julian Glover). While nothing was ever proved, creepy tales and gossip have turned his once-lively business – and personality – into a twisted shadow of its former self.
Geordie and Sidney must hunt for the killer, and hope to bring justice to two women mourning for their lost loves at Christmas time. But as the dangers grow, snow starts to fall… and waters break…
Grantchester: Saturday 24th December, 9pm, ITV