TV Show Reviews
"Grantchester" review by Suzanne
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
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
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
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
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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