Adapted from the crime novels of James Runcie, the TV series Grantchester is set in a small bucolic section of England, namely Cambridgeshire, and sees youngish vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) investigating a series of mysterious murders, burglaries and so on.
The time period is the early-to-mid 1950s, so it’s all perfectly harmless, with the late-20s clergyman working at times with the increasingly burned-out local Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (the always reliable Robson Green) on local crimes. Interestingly, this duo is alternately antagonistic and sometimes friendly, comparing tales of their service in the Great War over a glass of ale.
The six episodes explore local crimes, plus period-prejudice against Germans, specifically the war-refugee Amanda Kendell (Scottish actress Morven Christie) who becomes a love-interest for our loner religious; a distaste for Catholics, in the form of housekeeper Mrs. McGuire (Tessa Peake-Jones), and various other rich versus poor, idealistic vs. cynics type rivalries.
The emphasis on how life was in post-War Britain, especially in the quaintness small-village England exhibited, is fun. As fine as it is, Grantchester is not particularly engrossing, but it’s easy on the brain. It’s also well directed, with Harry Bradbeer, Tim Fywell and Jill Robertson handling two episodes each, while all six episodes are written by Daisy Coulam.
Julian Court’s cinematography is on-target, with murders mostly occurring off-screen. Pretty rural vistas feature sheep grazing in the distance as our vicar rides his bicycle through lovely rolling countryside.
Review by Dale Reynolds.