Jace Lacob (Jace): MASTERPIECE Studio is brought to you by Audible. For a free trial, go to Audible.com/Masterpiece.
Agatha: There needs to be justice.
Geordie: This isn’t justice.
Harding: It has to stop now. Let’s stop now.
Agatha: I just want peace.
Harding: I know you do.
Jace: I’m Jace Lacob and you’re listening to MASTERPIECE Studio.
How do we decide what is just?
In the aftermath of the Redmond case, Sidney and Geordie are still grappling with the central question of this series.
But even though issues of morality remain as murky as ever, Grantchester’s central relationships feel a little more sorted…for now.
After two seasons of denying their feelings for one another Sidney and Amanda finally kissed.
Amanda: I have nothing, Sidney.
Sidney: That’s not true.
Amanda: I have nothing.
Sidney: You have me.
Jace: And Sidney and Geordie ended their feud with an affectionate moment of their own.
James Norton: All it took, actually, we realized, was just a little glance over to the house to see if anyone was watching, which meant that, “Okay, I think the coast is clear. We can hug.”
Robson Green: That was it– that was your idea. That was a great idea. I went for the obvious stage direction: “They hug.” Let’s hug.
Jace: In this episode, James Norton and Robson Green return to the podcast. We’ll look back on this season’s most dramatic moments — from Sidney and Geordie’s fight to Sidney and Amanda’s kiss — and we’ll look ahead to Grantchester’s future.
Robson Green (Robson): Hello. How are you?
James Norton (James): Thank you.
Jace: Okay so now I want to talk about the fifth episode, the big fight. What did you think when you read the script and got to this scene?
James: Do you know, actually, where that scene came from? It came from the season one, at the end– towards the end of season one, and we were all on cloud nine, loving this job, having the best time, and I remember, you start to fantasize about what may come in the next series, you know. I don’t know if it was me or you …
Robson: It was you, wasn’t it?
James: Said, “Why doesn’t Geordie and Sidney have a massive fight in the church? That would be brilliant. It would be brilliant.” And I think everyone went like, “Yeah…” Rolled their eyes and went, “Yeah. Come on. That’s never going to happen.”
Then, I think I remember Daisy saying later on that it became this sort of center of the story, because how do you get from where you left them in series one, they’re the closest friend’s loyal, and…to that in five episodes? I think wonderful Daisy just said, “That’s it, that’s a brilliant, brilliant challenge, and what great drama.”
He, Sidney’s almost about to kill Geordie. One more punch, he sees red. It’s all tied up in guilt, and what’s happened with Gary, and just basic shock, and…
Robson: I’ve seen the scene, and a) it’s beautifully written, but again, the way the argument unravels, and it’s not an angst-ridden argument, it’s not a screaming match. It comes out a genuine emotional belief for what they represent and who they are, and defines who they are. And just Geordie pushes just that little bit too far.
Geordie: Why do you always side with the bad ones, eh? Why do you always do that, Sidney? Is it because you see yourself in them? Is that it? Yeah, is it because you’ve killed, too? That soldier you put out of his misery. What was his name?
Robson: It’s just beautifully set, beautifully directed. It’s one of my favorite moments.
And certainly, I know my mum will just go, “Oh no, don’t hit him,” not because I’m her son, because she cares enough about the two of them. You don’t want them to fall out, you don’t want that to happen, but it does, and it saddens you even more, which makes, hopefully, the reconciliation even more powerful. Yeah…
Jace: What was it like filming that sequence, and were you guys actually hitting one another?
James: Did I hit you at all?
Robson: Not at all. You’re a very good stage fighter.
James: Thanks, mate.
Yeah it was fun, actually. It’s one of those weird scenes where the drama is so high and the stakes are so high that kind of costs you. It’s exhausting, it’s emotional, it’s not particularly pleasant, but at the same time you can’t deny that it’s exciting. And you’ve got the stunt coordinators there, and we’ve been building up to this point for so long, and because it means so much to the characters, it was yeah…
Robson: We were swinging, yeah. We were swinging hard. Any closer, and we would have hurt each other.
James: I mean I think that there was the point where they went over the edge in the fight, happened, and then there was another point they could have gone, Sidney could have taken it to the next level, thrown that another two or three punches, and then…
I think the point about the fight is that what they both realize is that it’s about justice for both of them. And they both believe in justice, and they both share that, and that’s what brings them together, but they just have two versions of it, and that’s life.
People always have different views. People’s ethical, moral compasses are always slightly different, and so this is the brilliant moment where two men devoted to each other and love each other, but their views of what is just — in this particular instance — is very different. And their views of justice actually transcend their relationship. That’s testament to them as men, and why they’re such essentially good souls, is because they will put their principles and their version of justice above their friendship, which not many people would do.
Robson: But you also try and apologize, after the fight, in episode six, but there comes a point I go, “It’s all right.”
James: Whoah, whoah, whoah.
Robson: I know…But, I’m saying … There is a point.
Don’t tell me to shut up. Do you see what he does? Look at him tapping me. I’m old enough to be your father … Which is one of the lines.
Jace: We’ll talk about episode six, now. These two men seem lost without each other; they provide that compass that each one of them needs. Is that true?
Robson: Yeah, he is the moral compass not only for the village, but for Geordie as well, for everybody. If he’s not doing well, the village isn’t doing well.
James: And vice versa.
Robson: Yeah. But, I use the same thing. It’s so true.
I support Newcastle United — bear with me here with this analogy. I support Newcastle United. They’re our temple. That’s our church; that’s where every Saturday to support this team. When they are not doing well, bad things happen in Newcastle. I kid you not.
But I use it because he stands for something that keeps everyone together. We all go to you. You are my Malcolm MacDonald; you’re my Supermac. When Sidney’s not in a good place, Geordie isn’t in a good place, and neither is Mrs. McGuire or Al Weaver’s character, Leonard, or Dickens, for that matter. The whole village, he’s there, and without him and that kind of engine of the peace, it doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t work.
James: Similarly, vice-versa. Geordie says to Sidney, as I said earlier, they’re both without their anchors, and I think it’s quite a nice thought that before they met … We didn’t actually see them really, before they met in series one, but they were probably a little bit lost, and that’s why this friendship is so important to them. I think …
Robson: But I just…
Jace: It culminates in a beautiful embrace, finally, between the two of them, that is sort of a long time coming, that they are finally able to sort of reconcile.
Geordie: The thing is, Sidney,… some days I find it harder surviving than others. And truth be told, I’ve been a bit lost without you.
Sidney: I’m here now.
James: That was a funny thing to shoot, because we were thinking how … Again, we do not want to make this cheesy, we don’t want to make this saccharine or, I don’t know, we don’t want to patronize the audience and tell them what to feel, and we need to respect period. And we were trying to work it out with the director, how do we make this both emotional and a big reconciliation, but also these are men. They wouldn’t burst into tears on each other’s shoulder and… All it took actually, we realized, was just a little glance over to the house to see if anyone was watching, which meant that, “Okay. I think the coast is clear. We can hug.”
Robson: That was it, that was your idea. That was a great idea. I went for the obvious stage direction: “They hug.” Let’s hug. That was me being obvious, but there was a seed sown, there was a lovely scene when you tried to apologize, and I remember putting a question mark at the end of one of the lines. The line went, “You and me, we were never going to work, were we.” But I changed it:
Geordie: …We were never really going to see eye to eye, were we?
Robson: And therefore, I’m offering an olive branch to, “Please don’t let this friendship end. Please don’t let it end.” The seed was sown for that, again, in the writing and the instruction, but James has got some wonderful ideas. Keeping with the footballing analogy, he crosses them over and I head them in.
Jace: There’s a very passionate kiss, finally, between Sidney and a very heavily pregnant Amanda, who announces her intention to leave Guy.
Amanda: I’ve left him, so…
Sidney: I don’t know what to say.
Amanda: I’m so sorry. I know it’s an inconvenience and I shouldn’t always run to you, but… Guy’s… He’s so angry. He says he won’t let me do this, and my father’s… he’s all but disowned me.
Jace: What does this kiss mean for the two of them, and what might a 1950s village make of the vicar snogging a married, pregnant woman?
James: Well yeah. I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens then how will it pan out, but…
I think it was funny for Morven and I because we’ve been playing these characters for two years now, and talking, and we’ve become really close friends, as well. She’s a great, great actress, and a lovely person. And yet we’ve never actually — as Sidney and Amanda — we’ve never been able to demonstrate that. It’s all been in just looks, and the unspoken, and just general kind of brushes of hands or whatever. So it was kind of great to finally be able to kiss her, weirdly. It’s funny, as Sidney, there has been this buildup of years and years, and so…
Their situation does not allow them to be together. By her choosing Sidney, she turns her back on her family. And similarly Sidney, you know, he loves Amanda, but my gosh, does he love the church, and God, and he’s dedicated to that, and of course he can’t be with a married woman and live under the same roof as her.
So it sets up a brilliant, dramatic thing: What’s going to happen? It’s love versus God for Sidney. Who will he choose?
James: Tune in.
Jace: The other big surprise, of course, is 1948 hair on Sidney. What was it like playing a younger, more happy version of Sidney chambers?
James: It was lovely, actually. Again, it’s sort of that energy, that sort of slightly — that more innocent and naïve, unpolluted Sidney. I think over time, what with his relationship with Amanda, what happened at war…So in his relatively short life he’s collected a lot of baggage, and so to sort of go back before all the baggage, really, and find this man who is essentially happy… And you can see it…He’s sort of giggling with his mate, just before they get ordained.
Sam: What do you think? I think it gives me a dignified air.
Sidney: I don’t think anything gives you that, Sammy.
James: It’s a lovely moment to kind of punctuate so that you can see the difference.
And I love the cut they’ve done in the edit where suddenly you see him and he’s sort of drawn and…
Jace: Sad Sidney.
James: Sad Sidney. Sad and old Sidney.
Jace: There is an underlying sense here about the fragility of life, between the aftermath of Geordie’s shooting and the deaths of old Abigail and Gary. How does that shape the decisions that these men make in the finale?
Robson: I think, certainly from Geordie’s point of view, he talks and advocates justice that not only for the parents of the victim, but also what he stands for. So a life for a life, he believes in, but when it actually happens, was it a conclusion or was it just revenge?
The actual death of Gary just affects the whole village, and especially Sidney, but…What Geordie represents, and what is justice? What is the death penalty? Are we solving anything by killing anyone?
James: I think also, in a more… in a slightly more macro way, certainly I think it’s all those things: from the darkness comes light, and that relief, and maybe that’s what Gary’s death brought everyone, a bit of a more impulsive “go out and get it” attitude.
You’ve got that moment on the bank with Amanda. I wonder if Sidney would have just opened his arms in a similar way if Gary hadn’t died, and Mrs. McGuire suddenly opened her arms, so who knew?
Mrs. McGuire: Hello, Jack.
Jack: I’m a little overdressed, aren’t I?
Mrs. McGuire: No, you look wonderful.
Mrs. McGuire: Chins off the floor, please.
Jace: I’m wondering if there are any humorous behind the scenes stories that you can share for making Grantchester.
Robson: James, you want to say … We nearly lost James Norton, a prank that went bad. It was the first sunny day, I think. The water was freezing cold, and it’s a swimming scene. It was battle of the gym. I was in the gym, like I think, three times a day … James is going once a week, but he won the war, I have to say.
Anyway, I don’t know if it was out of jealousy, or bitterness, or just I’m getting old…I thought, “Oh this’ll be good. I’ll get a bucket of cold water from the river and just throw it over James.”
He’s got his back turned, I fill a bucket with water, he turns around just at the minute I’m throwing it, and as I throw the water, James runs backwards, trips, and falls down the bank of the river. And from my view I thought, “Oh he’s broken his leg. He’s not going to be able to get up. He’s going to drown. Oh my god, he’s dead.” That all went on in a nanosecond. And the horror, the horror of just watching him fall, everything went into slow-mo or went black and white, and it was…
James: You could hear the producers and the whole crew just going (gasps). The amount of insurance, and early on in the shoot it was … Because I just disappeared into the water.
Robson: It was a shock, horrendous.
James: Really horrendous. Yeah but that was quite a funny day.
Robson: And then he came up laughing, which is good, and then he poured water over me.
James: No, I pulled you in.
Robson: Yes, you did.
James: That day was quite funny because there was a Daily Mail journalist who turned up on set, and Robson and I… You take your clothes off, you want to keep warm, and you want to … We’re doing the odd bit– a little press-up, and they had to hold these big pieces of polystyrene to stop the … It was awful.
Robson: Let’s be honest, we that’s not keeping warm; that’s just being vain.
James: It was a bit of a … I was given the … Yeah.
Robson: But I think the Daily Mail headline was, “These two boys still have pecs appeal?” What are you laughing at?
James: Did anything else happen? We had a few close shaves. One guy had a knock on the head, but he was fine.
Robson: Yeah, but the pranks… James and I laugh.
I think it was the final day, and it’s quite a sensitive scene going on, and you went, “Robson”, and as I turned round, he had his finger next to my eye, so as I turned round, my eye poked into his finger. But it didn’t hurt, but I just thought it was funny, and he just cracked up. We had to walk into this sensitive scene, and all I think I had was one line of dialogue, tears rolling down my face. And as I walked in, I just delivered the line, back turned to them, didn’t even look at them, at the back of the room. And the director thought, “That’s an interesting way to deliver that line.”
James: It’s become so stupid our corpsing. This makes us out to sound like we’re really unprofessional, which we sometimes are, but no… Generally we’re professional.
It’s become that — because we’re spending so much time with each other — it’s come to the point where you don’t even have to do anything. It’s just a look in a slightly mischievous way… And it’s fantastically fun, but it’s really dangerous because it’s… When time is running out, and there’s a few minutes to go, and the director’s getting stressed, and then someone gives you the little mischievous look, and the other one is like, “No!” That’s it. You might as well go home. Those three minutes are dead. The more pressure, the more the laughter. It’s awful.
Jace: Now obviously you both are very busy, and this is sort of in the hands of ITV, obviously, but is there any sense that there will be a third season of Grantchester?
James: It all depends really on the ratings. I think by the time this is broadcast we’ll know, but we certainly all love it.
Diederick, the executive producer, said at the very beginning of the read through, he said, “Guys, without being too cheesy, I think we all agree that Grantchester is our sort of shared happy place,” and it’s true. We film in the summer, the locations are amazing, the crew and the cast are wonderful. We’ve got this little black Labrador bouncing around our feet, everyone’s swooning over him. It’s a really, really, really fun and very special job for us to film, so if they will give us a third series, I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to persuade us.
Jace: Besides for James and Robson, other Grantchester fans will be happy to hear that ITV has since announced that Sidney, Geordie, Amanda and — perhaps most importantly — Dickens, will be appearing on screen for a third season next year.
Meanwhile, British crime drama Wallander returns to MASTERPIECE next week promising even more mystery…and murder.
Beginning May 8th, brooding Swedish detective Kurt Wallander will wind down his investigations in Wallander’s final season.
Then the morning after, esteemed Northern Irish actor Sir Kenneth Branagh — who plays Kurt Wallander — will join us here on MASTERPIECE Studio to contemplate the show’s less-sinister mysteries:
Kenneth Branagh: The mobile phone ringtone obviously is something that only Kurt could come up with and amongst the many mysteries of why that ringtone particularly tickled people.
Jace: Tune into MASTERPIECE Sundays at 9 pm ET to catch the final, three episodes of Wallander.
And look out for new episodes of the MASTERPIECE Studio podcast at pbs.org/masterpiece, on Stitcher and on iTunes.
MASTERPIECE Studio is hosted by me, Jace Lacob. Kathy Tu is our editor. Rachel Aronoff is our production coordinator. Special thanks to Nathan Tobey and Barrett Brountas. The executive producer of MASTERPIECE is Rebecca Eaton.
MASTERPIECE Studio is brought to you by Audible.
Sponsors for MASTERPIECE on PBS are Viking River Cruises, Audible, and The MASTERPIECE Trust.