Thursday, April 12, 2018

Changes Coming to “Granchester”

Good news! Grantchester, the 1950s-set British TV mystery based on James Runcie’s books about an Anglican vicar, Sidney Chambers, who solves crimes in his spare time, is being given a fourth season. Production of fresh episodes is scheduled to commence this coming June, with the new season expected to air in the United States as part of PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! series sometime in 2019.

Questions had arisen, after the broadcast of Season 3’s final episode last summer, as to whether we had seen the last of James Norton playing Chambers. (There’s been talk that he wants to tackle different projects, and he’s even been mentioned as a contender to portray secret agent James Bond, after Daniel Craig exists that prominent film role.) It’s a relief to put such fears to rest.

Now, though, for the less-good news. As Mystery Fanfare notes, “These will be the final episodes for Norton’s character Sidney Chambers, the charismatic, jazz-loving vicar who has captured the hearts of millions of viewers. Casting of a new vicar will be announced at a later date.” There’s no word yet on whether the program’s supporting cast—which includes Robson Green as Detective Inspector Geordie Keating, Tessa Peake-Jones as grumpy housekeeper Sylvia Maguire, and Al Weaver as junior Anglican curate Leonard Finch—will carry over into any revised version of Grantchester. And press releases about Season 4 and the series’ future haven’t mentioned whether Morven Christie, who played Chambers’ sometimes sweetheart on the series, Amanda Kendall Hopkins, has left the show.

Knowing Grantchester watchers might be uneasy about casting alterations, Rebecca Eaton, the executive producer of Masterpiece, has been quoted as saying: “It’s a bittersweet time for Grantchester fans, who will be cheering the return of the series but crushed to say good-bye to James. We want to assure them that the series they love will continue with brilliant new episodes and a captivating new vicar.”

Let’s all hope for the best.

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