Tom Brittney on the new series of Grantchester, his predecessor James Norton’s tips for bonding with co-star Robson Green and why romance could be on the cards for his character Will
Actor Tom Brittney joined the cast of Grantchester in 2018 as Reverend Will Davenport and is back on our screens this week as the popular crime drama returns for its fifth series.
Set in 1957 and starring Robson Green as Detective Geordie Keating, life in the picture-perfect village of Grantchester seems calm and settled as the series gets underway, but not for long.
We joined 29-year-old Tom on set to find out what’s in store, how he felt picking up the reins from former Grantchester star, James Norton, and why there could be romance on the cards for motorbike-loving Will….
We speak to Grantchester star Tom Brittney
Is Will a real crime-solver now?
Tom Brittney: “Yes, he put up a bit of a fight in the last series but now he can see that God’s work can come to him in another way. There are different ways Will comes into the cases but there always seems to be a personal attachment for him. There are some quite horrific murders and it goes quite dark. Grantchester has that balance between the lightness and dark, which I really like. There’s more comedy in this series than last, though, especially between Will and Geordie.”
We hear Will’s heart is about to be stolen. Is romance on the horizon?
TB: “It’s going that way; there’s some saucy stuff coming up! There’s a new character, a journalist, Ellie [The Mallorca Files star Lauren Carse], and Will meets her at the start of the series. She’s known Geordie for a while and she seems to have an ‘in’ with the police department. Will has a problem morally with the way she tries to get information but then he starts to see a different side to her. Geordie encourages it, but if you have feelings for someone and it goes against the vow you’ve made, that’s where the conflict comes…”
How did it feel taking over from James Norton who played vicar Sidney Chambers for the first four series?
TB: “The fear was before I met everyone, but Robson Green [who plays Geordie] and Tessa Peake-Jones [Mrs Chapman] made me feel so at home, the nerves just went. The only time on set I was nervous was doing my first sermon, but I could channel that into the character as he was worried too! I was nervous about the response once I had finished filming. I knew people would find it hard when James left, but the reaction from fans was brilliant. I couldn’t have asked for better. James gave me three bits of advice: have fun, hide your phone in your top pocket, and pretend you haven’t heard Robson’s stories a hundred times – that’s the most useful one but it’s some of the hardest acting I’ve ever done!”
James always invites his dad to appear as an extra in his projects – and this is a tradition you’ve carried on, is that right?
TB: “Yes! I’ve never seen my dad so excited in his life! He was champing at the bit to come and do it, and they’re giving him the special treatment. I have a feeling now he’s suited and booted with a free haircut he’ll definitely be back, and my mum and sister will hopefully be in it, too. My girlfriend was in the congregation for my first sermon but she’d never been on camera before and said she didn’t know what to do with her face!”
Will loves his motorbike, but you’ve only very recently passed your test…
TB: “Yes, third time lucky! I’d never wanted to go on a bike in my life but I started getting good at it, and now I get to ride it in the show properly. I love riding the BSA because it has that vintage-bike feel. I felt bad putting my parents through it – every time I had a lesson they’d say, ‘Please call us at the end, let us know you’re alive!’ But the bike scenes are my favourite now.”
Grantchester begins on Friday 10 January, 9pm, ITV