"Grantchester" Season Four on PBS Masterpiece

by Kathleen Costa

This Anglophile is very lucky to have access to two area PBS channels (KVIE Sacramento; KQED San Francisco) which provide a nice variety of British programming including detective dramas like Endeavour, Inspector Linley, Shetland, Vera, and Grantchester. Although several times a year both channels have their fund-raising seasons offering ways to become a member, these PBS channels are essentially free. For those in the Fresno area, the PBS channel is KVPT, and the show can also be watched on their website if you become a passport member.

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Grantchester first aired on PBS in 2015 and has become an extremely popular UK detective drama series, so when the news broke that after three seasons James Norton (cast as the beloved Sydney Chambers) was leaving the show, fans, like myself, worried this move heralded the end of the series. However, I am relieved to report that the new vicar fit well into this six-episode fourth season, the other characters have returned, and the storylines are just what fans expect: entertaining with contemporary issues and engaging friendships. Reports indicate a fifth season is scheduled...hurrah!
Image Source Masterpiece Mystery

Grantchester earns 5/5 Fond Farewells & Greetings...Engaging!

Grantchester’s Anglican vicar Sydney Chambers has been struggling, butting heads with his superiors, parishioners, alcohol, and disappointments that have kept him single. But, as many learn, sometimes the best is yet to come. A visiting pastor and a key part of the Civil Rights Moment in America has come with his daughter and entourage to preach and cast a light on issues of racism. A murder, of course, occurs as protestors illustrate the seriousness of racial tensions with chants of “Go back where you came from!” and “Leave Britain white!” Sydney, however, is very taken with Violet, the pastor’s daughter, who herself is an accomplished preacher and budding activist, and together, despite obvious differences, they discover their hearts for each other. However, it is not easy and Violet leaves with her father. Sydney has a drunken binge and the next day learns he was the last person to see a young murder victim. He tries to fill in the blanks in his memory when runs into Violet. Discovering she plans to return to America, he decides to seize the day and join her knowing the issues of interracial relationships will be plenty, maybe illegal, but love knows none of that. Sadly, yet knowing it is what Sydney desires, his friends bid him goodbye.

YouTube - Goodbye, Sydney. (10:07)

Image Source Masterpiece Mystery
Enter Will Davenport brilliantly cast with Tom Brittney (Outlander season one). The new vicar is tall, dark-haired with a boyish smile, but he appears to be flawed as was Sidney. However, he loves his vocation, is soft in the way he deals with his young parishioners but hard when he confronts abuse and murder. He boxes, rides a vintage motorcycle (well, to me it’s vintage), and has a long way to go to earn approval from his superiors and the friendship of those who are saddened by Sydney’s departure. As for police matters...Will is extremely good as a sounding board and trying to keep Geordie from crossing the line, but as usual murder, religious fanaticism, family disfunction, fraud, and personal difficulties prove to be problematic. The additional parishioners and police are slowing getting to know Will, but we see glimpses into his family, background, and relationships.

The returning cast continues with their own personal issues in Sydney’s absence. Curate Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) has his own struggles with Will since he thought he would fill the vacancy, and as he tries to assist the police with an investigation in Sydney’s place, he discovers he doesn’t have the same knack when privacy is a line too often crossed. Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peale-Jones) was to continue as housekeeper after she married, but a disturbing revelation causes her to leave the rectory, so Will is yet unknown to her. DI Geordie Keating (brilliantly portrayed by Robson Green) has the habit of using a vicar on his cases, so it seems easy to trade one for the other. However, he misses Sydney who was a friend and confidant. His wife Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth) asserts her independence by getting a job she enjoys, but she discovers her own “Me Too” moment. Grantchester seems not to have changed...good!

Brilliant! Grantchester may have seen a change, major in some minds, but the new addition and storylines, with a few contemporary twists, has kept me a big fan!


YouTube - Cast Interviews (11:59)

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

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