Review of "Grantchester" on PBS From The TV MegaSite

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the cast of Grantchester

"Grantchester" review by Suzanne 2/2/15
Airs Sunday nights on PBS 10:00pm

I've always enjoyed the shows on "Masterpiece Theater", but I didn't really watch them regularly. I don't know why. I guess I just never got into the habit of looking at PBS, aside from the occasional special. A few years ago, I started recording it because of "Mr. Selfridge", and I've found that I enjoy most of the shows on there on Sunday nights, especially the mysteries like Miss Marple and Inspector Poirot.

Now this year they have this 8-part series "Grantchester", and it's just as good as the others. It's a fun little mystery drama about a local vicar, Reverend Sidney Chambers, that solves murders. He's a handsome young unmarried vicar who's fought in WWII. The girl he loves is marrying another man (they don't really explain why, although you get the impression that he's too shy to ask her, and she's an energetic city girl, so he might think that she wouldn't want to be tied down to the country). They call him a priest, but he's Anglican, so he can marry.

James Norton plays Sidney, and he's very handsome as well as a really good actor. You may recognize from other British shows.

In the first episode, a married man's lover begs him to prove that he was murdered and didn't commit suicide like everyone thinks. Thus begins his sleuthing. He gets involved with a local police detective, Inspector Geordie, and they end up solving the murder mystery. It turned out that it was his secretary, who also was his lover, that killed him, and not his wife or his business partner. Sidney, who likes to listen to jazz and other record albums, as well as ride his bicycle, as a disapproving maid who's not used to how a young vicar acts.

In the second episode, his sister makes him go to the engagement party of the woman he loves, Amanda. Another young woman is murdered, so Sidney once again finds the killer, with Geordie's help.

The third one premiered tonight, but I haven't watched it yet. I look forward to it! You should watch these episodes online or get them on your TV or On Demand. They're quite entertaining.


Set in the English countryside’s most idyllic village, Grantchester follows two unlikely allies as they solve a series of cases that reveal the dark side of early 1950s England.

Handsome, young vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) shares his spiritual duties with a love of jazz, complicated relationships with women, and an enthusiasm for amateur sleuthing. When the concern of a parishioner compels him to dig deeper into a grisly suicide, he gets on the nerve of a tired, local law enforcement officer—Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green). Fortunately, the cleric and the cop bond over their war service, their love of a good pub, and their competitive instincts—in this case, for backgammon.

Grantchester is based on the acclaimed novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, which was called “the coziest of cozy murder mysteries” by the New York Times Book Review. Runcie styled Sidney after his late father, Lord Runcie, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s. Like Sidney, the elder Runcie was a war hero before he entered the ministry, and he was a compassionate and amiable parish priest. Unfortunately, he never took up crime-solving. Grantchester corrects that oversight.

The series stars James Norton (Chambers), who recently appeared on MASTERPIECE’sDeath Comes to Pemberley as the underdog defense lawyer, and was also seen as the psychopathic villain in Happy Valley. Co-star Robson Green (Keating) is already revered for a number of MASTERPIECE starring roles, including the seductive hero opposite Francesca Annis in the runaway hit Reckless. Also featured are Morven Christie (Case Histories) as Amanda Kendall, Sidney’s first love and soul mate; Tessa Peake-Jones (Poirot) as Mrs. Maguire, the vicar’s morally judgmental landlady; Al Weaver (Sherlock) as Leonard Finch, the church’s new assistant curate; and German actress Pheline Roggan as Hildegard Staunton, the strikingly beautiful widow of the series’ first victim.


Sunday, January 18, 2015, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET It looks like suicide, but Reverend Sidney Chambers suspects murder. His biggest challenge is to enlist police in the hunt for the killer.

Sunday, January 25, 2015, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET Sidney’s former flame throws an engagement party that leads to murder. To crack the case, Sidney and Geordie must break a code of silence.

Sunday, February 1, 2015, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET An old woman tells Sidney that someone wants her dead. Then she dies. Coincidence? The new curate delivers a surprising sermon.

Sunday, February 8, 2015, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET A shocking murder reveals the depths of homophobia in Cambridge. Geordie crosses swords with Sidney over conduct of the investigation.

Sunday, February 15, 2015, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET On holiday in London, Sidney and Geordie happen upon a murder, allowing them to show Scotland Yard a thing or two.

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