With a toast, a birthday and gentle ribbing, we come to a close on Grantchester‘s fifth season. But that’s not all for series stars Tom Brittney and Robson Green, who join the podcast for a special season wrap-up — with previews of the sixth season yet on the horizon.
Jace Lacob: I’m Jace Lacob, and you’re listening to MASTERPIECE Studio.
It’s Reverend Will Davenport’s birthday, and with a lively party of his friends and loved ones, he says goodbye to another year — and we bid farewell to another season of Grantchester.
Leonard And this one’s from me…I chose it myself. Marlon looks very commanding, doesn’t he?
Will Very… Thank you.
Jace But before that, there’s a mystery to be solved — one involving a missing woman and a body found on Jesus Green. And, in an unexpected turn of events, a nun of sorts shakes Will out of his voluntary celibacy.
Will I feel… good.
Sister Grace You see? The more you resist your feelings, the more unhappy you become…
Will I don’t want to state the obvious but I don’t think I have that problem any more…
Jace And Will and Geordie look beyond the trauma of this shocking season and toast to their growing friendship in a lovely moment of bonding.
Will I dunno, I suppose what I’m trying to say – in a not entirely coherent way – is that things are good. Not perfect… but pretty good so…
Geordie You’ve had sex, you sly old dog.
Jace Series stars Tom Brittney returns to the podcast to review the fifth season — and provide his best impression of the just-confirmed sixth season still on the way.
And later, co-star Robson Green comes back to the podcast chair for his own look back at season five.
Jace And we are joined again this week with Grantchester star Tom Brittney. Welcome.
Tom Brittney Hello. How are you doing?
Tom Surriving. We’re all surviving.
Jace We’re all surviving. The reveal in last week’s episode about Vic’s true nature came as a horrific shock, one that had me reeling as much as Will. How much about Vic did you know ahead of the start of filming this season?
Tom The producers, they hadn’t told us everything. We’d we’d spoken about storylines because the good thing is the producers sort of allow…We go for dinner with me and Robson and talk about storylines coming up. We come up with ideas. And we had batted around this idea of this. It was in a different form, originally we spoke about it and we didn’t know exactly where it was going and how it would be revealed because we didn’t get those scripts until about a week or so before. So I had it. I had a hunch, but I didn’t think that episode would be quite as hard-hitting as it was, I guess, just slightly trying to be in denial about how hard they would go with it. And they did. And it was brilliantly written by Daisy.
Jace Were you as horrified as Will was to learn the truth about this surrogate father?
Tom Yeah, I was it was kind of I guess it kind of goes on to say it was sort of easy, easy to act. It was hard to act. It was it was hard to act in the sense of it being. It took me takes you to a place that is uncomfortable to be. But it was easy to get to because of just how horrific the subject is, you know? And again, with Daisy’s writing you’re acting scenes that do make you I mean, there were times when I broke down a lot more than, you know, I had to pull myself back slightly. And then in the scene where I confront Vic, for instance. You know, we did different variations of just how angry. You know how angry Will would get and how close to actually maybe even killing him. It was a really, really tough episode to do and say Ross is such a lovely guy and we got along so well, you know? And it was really good to work with him and go through that together.
Jace Throughout this season, there is this report building between Will and Vic to the point that Will tells Vic and not Geordie about his failed proposal to Ellie. How ultimately damaging is this revelation about Vic to Will? How far does this shake him?
Tom It destroys, I think, for a while is his very foundation of all of his core beliefs. Like we said at the beginning, he’s still barely clutching on to this eternal optimism that working with Geordie and seeing the horrific crimes he does is he’s testing this belief and he’s trying to hold on and trying to hold on. And throughout the series, it’s just getting pushed. And there’s that scene with with with Vic in the boxing ring, I think it’s in episode four when he’s talking about how cynical he’s become and how he’s starting to lose this hope. And then when this revelation about Vic comes out, it sends him truly off the rails because it just comes to think of, what is the point? What is the point in working this hard? What is the point of believing this? If that if the person that you trusted the most turns out to be one of the most evil people you could ever meet that day? How do you how do you recover from that?
Jace I think we see that in his closing sermon in episode five, which is full of fury that we’ve never seen from Will before.
Will God gave us Eden. He gave us perfection. And what did we do? We destroyed it. We sinned. We grew prideful. And vengeful. And angry. We surrounded ourselves with snakes who only want the worst for us. And who do we blame for that? We blame God. How dare we!
Jace How do you go on from something like this? Will is such a a do gooder. He believes in the goodness within people. Does this shatter your world view or sense of morality in a way that is not recoverable?
Tom I mean, obviously we see that with the help of Geordie and the people around them and, you know, separate issues just from Vic, that he does start to see the light a little bit and he starts to recover. But I’m interested to see how this is going to affect him moving forwards and and whether in a next series, whether he’s going to still have that same hope. I think some of that sort of idealism has gone. Which is sad. But I think we’ll find a way to work with it and still hold him to makes what makes him the good person he is. And I think he’s still going to find an optimism and that even recovering from this…I mean, God. He’s been through the mill. I mean his father killed himself because of him and he’s now seen his next father figure become this…I mean, it’s going to be tough for him. But I think with the people in the family and friends he has around him, I think he’s going to do good.
Jace This week’s episode begins with Will in white tie, drunk, crashing his mother’s engagement party. It’s a very different Will than we’ve seen so far. He’s entitled, aggressive, rude. He stubs out his cigarette in a bottle of champagne. What do you make of this side of his character?
Tom Well, you know, just like we discussed in the first episode, you see those little hints of his past that we’ve been discussing in the previous series, but we haven’t seen and you see him in Cambridge at the beginning, some kind of flirting with temptation. Now he’s lost the will to persevere with staying on the straight and narrow. There is no point to anything anymore. And he’s completely indulging in who he used to be. And I think it’s a fascinating thing. It was really, I guess, fun, fun to play to. To see that. But also quite sad to see that, you know, what he does to himself, that he’s just lost so much hope. He’s not the strong put together vicar that we’ve seen before is just a child. He’s reverted completely to being a teenager again. And his mother has to tell him off.
Will Now these guys, do you know if they take requests? You know any Elvis?
Clement Fats Domino!
Will Yes! Fats Domino. Dance with me. Come on…
Amelia Stop! Stop it! This is not who you are, William.
Jace I mean, psychologically, it makes sense. I mean, he’s lost another father figure in his life, he regresses to sort of a teenager state and that sort of active rebellion slash self-destruction. But it is this very self-destructive behavior. He then meets fallen nun Sister Grace, who was initially a suspect in Npra Martin’s murder. She says, “You look at me and you see a path you hope to never take a path away from God.” Despite her iciness, it’s as though she can see into his very soul. What does he make of Sister Grace and why is he so drawn to her?
Tom Well, at first Sister Grace in his head is everything is wrong with religion. Little did he know that it’s not what it appears to be at first, and also Will can be very quick to come to certain judgments in situations. You can also be very forgiving and see the human side of things. But if it tests or challenges his belief in something, it angers him a lot. And seeing religion, the same in the last series when he saw the Mennonite family appearing to mistreat family members, it makes it very angry. And so he sees it in Sister Grace. And then as they start to break the case down, he’s frightened by her because once they discover that this isn’t exactly what they think it is, she represents this gray area that he’s scared of going into. He looks at life being quite binary and good and evil, even if it’s muddled at times. He does try and see it in this binary way, which is not how the world works. And Grace shows him that you don’t have to set these boundaries so, so strongly that they stop you from being a human being. And in doing that, she liberates and she shows him that you don’t have to be this kind of staid, stressed, tightly-wound person. And this is trying to strive for this perfection that doesn’t exist. You have to be human and we have flaws. And that scares Will, because he thinks that he’s so terribly flawed that it’s going to destroy everything around it.
Jace He makes the very surprising decision to end his vow of celibacy, not with Ellie, but with Sister Grace. What did you make of the fact that these two fall into bed together? And how does the encounter ultimately change Will? Does it restore his foundering optimism in a way?
Tom I think it does. I think it was I think he was attracted to her always in a way that he didn’t admit to himself in a way that he wasn’t admitting to himself about Ellie in the beginning, I think he had his tail between his legs and when he saw Grace. I think he was and wasn’t expecting it to go that way. And Grace, he needed someone to guide him through it and he needed that figure Will needs that help, which he can’t give himself. And Grace definitely does liberate him. And yet again, it’s an interesting thing to see where this new liberated Will is going to go. But I don’t think he would have been able to do that with Ellie. He cared about Ellie too much. And, you know, she was very embarrassed and still had that fear of hurting someone he really cared and loved about him. But Grace was the one taking control and guiding him through that, which made it easier for him to get rid of that vow of celibacy.
Sister Grace I know what it’s like. The way you dress. The life you lead – it’s a constant reminder that you’re different. That you should be pure. Special. It’s a mistake to think like that. And supremely arrogant.
Jace I feel like at this point he has finally accepted his humanity, the thing that he has sort of put himself above. Do you see it coming from arrogance or from something else?
Tom I think Will, Will would never believe that he’s arrogant, but that maybe that is a denial thing. It’s tough. What gives a person the right to say that know what’s good for a person? You know, in the ‘50s, people looked at their local vicar to guide them and they looked to the Bible to guide them and stuff like that. But, you know, you can always argue what gives the person the right to sort of start to do that at times? And I think that’s what Grace is kind of saying is again, Will, kind of can get confused at thinking that as flawed as he thinks he is, that he’s made this choice in life become a vicar. And therefore he’s following these strict guidelines, therefore, it makes him a better person than what he used to be. But in doing that, there is a slight arrogance. Of course, there is a slight arrogance that makes you a better person if you deny your own flaws and you do try and get away from them. It doesn’t. It just means you’re in denial, really.
Jace You said you were curious to see whether the sort of darkness of all of this carried over into the next series. For me. I don’t know that it will. I mean, he says no weeds have grown. Death was not born. Do you think it’s significant that the season ends on Will’s birthday? Is it a new beginning, a new birth for Will Davenport of sorts? Is this sort of a clean slate?
Tom No, I think I think you’re right in terms of me thinking that the darkness is going to carry over, I do. I don’t think we’re gonna have the same dark darkness in him. I do think it’s gone a lot. I think this has been liberating sexually and liberating in other ways of him getting out of these self-made shackles that he’s putting himself in. And I do think yeah, I think it’s yeah, it’s lovely. That was such a lovely scene to watch. A little tidbit of information here, a little behind the scenes thing: I lost my voice for three days to the point where I literally could not speak. So we filmed that end scene and I couldn’t say a single word. So we had to reshoot it. And I was so, so ill and so sad that we had to shoot on a weekend. And Robson came down. And he said, I’ll sit, you know. It was just a camera on me. Sit down, sit with you, you know. And I said no, no you don’t have to look at tennis ball, but he came down and helped me and that scene. I know I’ve said, but I’ve never had to do that before. But it was a lovely scene. I’m glad we got to do it again. And I think you’re right. I think this is a blossoming for the new Will.
Jace I’m glad you mentioned the final scene to me. I think that’s probably my favorite scene of this entire season. So much of the season has been about how people can construct makeshift or found families. The final scenes of the season have Will and Geordie sitting outside, looking in at the people gathered to celebrate Will’s birthday. It says a lot about the show and it says a lot about these characters that Will sort of invited into his life. What did you make of those final images and what did they say about Grantchester as a whole?
Tom I think they just just drive home the family aspect of just everyone that we care about, the audience cares about all in that room and. And everything’s everything’s seemingly good, and I think it harks back to the personal Eden. The thing that looking through that window we are looking at an Eden. And I don’t think it could be better at that at that point. You know, Mrs. C has allowed Daniel back in to the house. And we’re all seeming to move forward in a good way together. I think it is a beautiful image to end on. It was yeah. It was really lovely to watch that scene
Jace I thought Will had blown it completely with Ellie, but I love the playfulness to their scene together at the police station where Will asks for another chance to start over, quote ‘In the middle.’ What did you make of that scene and of their chances together? Is there any possible future for them at this point?
Tom I think was a really good scene, really necessary seem to have, because I think the character of Ellie, it was always kind of up in the air of whether they would leave it open in that way. And I think because of the chemistry, that me and Lauren, our characters had, I think that they went well, let’s see if we can at least allude to the idea that there’s maybe an openness, whether that then carries on. I’d like to think that I’d like to think that honestly, even if Ellie and Will didn’t end up together, that they parted on amicable terms. I think it was a really lovely, kind of playful end, like you say. I know that they’ve had some ups and downs and some dark times and some embarrassing situations. But I think I think hopefully there’s some future for them. Maybe.
Jace I do want to ask about Matthew. He Will finally does go and seek him out. I feel like a bit to make amends. Do you see the scene as sort of playing out as an act of humility, of admitting that he was perhaps wrong and shunning him? How do you see that final scene between the two men?
Tom It’s of course, that I mean, Will can very much go towards the denial side of things. And you can see with the way he’s dealing with everything. And Geordie. Geordie, who has been. The the you know, the last person to advocate for Matthew is the one trying to persuade Will to go and make up for what he’s he’s done, and that makes Will even angrier and push away from it even further because he can’t confront what he’s done. He blames himself again. He’s blaming yourself for his father’s death. And he’s blamed us for the fact that he kept taking Matthew back to his abuser. He can’t face up to that. It would break him. But finally. Finally, he does once he’s understood that he’s flawed. He’s come to terms with those things and come to terms with what he’s done, and he has to make amends and I think it’s very much that’s what it is. And he can you can make up for what he did through or through a positive action and through supporting Matthew in the future.
Will I’ll bank roll you. And you’ll run it. You can help other boys like you… It’s not the place – it’s the people within it. You could do so much good.
Matthew You’d do all this for me?
Will Of course.
Will Because you deserve it.
Matthew When do I start?
Jace A sixth series of Grantchester seems all but certain at this point. Where would you like to see Will’s character taken in the next go around?
Tom It’s a tough one. You know, I can I think I can say that we have been we have talked about a next series and we have had one of our dinners together and talked about a series. I don’t know. I don’t know, I think. I like I said earlier, I want to see where this liberation takes him, I mean, I want to see where a character now who has accepted his past and is not trying to hide it and escape it in the same way where that kind of openness can take him. I’m excited to see what happens with me and me and Geordie. How our friendship grows even further. I’m looking forward to just seeing the relationships grow and and and just seeing where it goes. I don’t, I don’t know. Like I said with Ellie, you know, if the relationship with Ellie doesn’t doesn’t happen, she’s a wonderful journalist and I like to see what happens with her character, whether it’s in the show or whether we see that she’s gone on to do better things. And maybe if Ellie’s not in the picture, what relationships with women will Will maybe now have in the future. I think it will be interesting, but I also I think, you know, for me, taking Will out of it, I’m most interested to see what might happen to Leonard next year. And I think I have a feeling that it’s, I think minutes. It’s going to be a lot about Leonard next series, I think.
Jace Tom Brittney, thank you so very much.
Tom Thank you so much.
Jace Before our conversation with Robson Green, let’s take a quick break to hear a word from our sponsors…
This week, we are joined by Grantchester star Robson Green. Welcome!
Robson Green Jace. Nice to hear your voice in these very surreal times. Who would have thought that saving the human race would mean staying at home and doing absolutely no other than watching box sets on Netflix.
Jace If it’s a sacrifice that we can make, I’m willing to make it.When we last spoke you’d wrapped up the fourth season of Grantchester, which featured a handover between James Norton and Tom Britney, making that season one of transition. Season five saw Grantchester and indeed Geordie and Will hit the ground running. What felt different this season?
Robson I think and I said I’ve said this and most interviews, I think this is the best season yet, season five. I think it’s because everybody loves being involved in the show. And because Tom Brittney, who plays Will, brought this whole new energy to it much needed energy, I felt It just feels like it’s stepped up a gear and everybody has committed to what it is. And everybody is enjoying that commitment. And I think the relationship between the engine, if you like, the engine of Will and Geordie is so set in stone and knows what it is, as does all the gallery of likable characters. They know what they are. You can start to take risks. And not only the actors can take risks, but the cinematographer can make up can. Most importantly, the writing has taken risks. And I think in this series we can I use the word shocking in one interview. I think it is the most shocking series because I thought initially when Daisy was writing certain certain episodes and certain briefs, when I was reading them, I thought they were way outside the remit and we were entering a dangerous territory whereby we moved away from what Grantchester has always been look for, which is this quintessentially English, lovable, likable, charming story with something uncomfortable underneath. But there’s something shocking underneath and and too dark. We may lose the elements that are attractive anyway. I think Daisy just came up with a series and a brief because she oversaw all the writing that was so compelling and worked so well that we we were forced to up our game because the writing was so good. So in my opinion, it is the best series yet. And the relationships are so free and relaxed and enjoyable not only to play, but to watch and be with and be alongside as a viewer. It’s it’s it’s been an absolute joy to actually be part of that that series. And it’s the it’s the one I’m most proud of, I have to say.
Jace You mentioned the relationships. I mean, there is a different sort of dynamic between Geordie and Will than there was between Geordie and Sidney. Why do you think makes their friendship tick? And do you see it as being more akin to a father son bond than one between, say, contemporaries?
Robson Interesting. So I think the one thing in the relationship with Tom Brittney and I of Geordie and Will is a one of father and son, most definitely. Whereas the relationship with Sidney and Geordie was two individuals, two friends who lived vicariously through one another, I desired his life that freedom wanted women falling at my feet. And he wanted one of security and family life, but also the dynamic that I think makes the Will Davenport Geordie Keating relationship more solid as that book is, because Wil hasn’t fought in war and he’s never seen the true destructive nature of man, which Geordie has. So that’s really on his side in terms of the relationship. And therefore, you had this notion of a father figure saying to a son, you don’t know you’ve been born, you have no idea what I’ve seen. You have no idea what human beings are capable of. But with the Sidney-Geordie relationship, they both did. So that is the main difference. And I think Geordie in series five really enjoys the notion of the fact that, you know, we don’t solve problems by living life through an invisible friend. We can solve problems by talking to people through the University of Life and and talking to people and reminding them that no matter how you think, how good you think life is, there is always something around the corner or there’s something expected that can turn it on its head within an instant. And Jodie gets a kind of kick out of reminding will of that. So there’s there’s a lot of point scoring going on with Geordie and Will, that is really enjoyable to play, and I think it’s enjoyable to watch as well.
Jace I mean, he does fight against change, whether that’s personal or sometimes societal or generational. This season, he does court change by making the rather monumental decision to reorganize his household by inviting his mother in law, Diana, a.k.a. the cavalry, to stay with them. What are the initial motivations behind his decision?
Robson Well, yes. So. At the start of series five this year, metaphorically everybody has their own Eden. Will’s happy. His place in Grantchester seems to be cemented. His relationship with Geordie’s good. My goodness. Geordie and Cathy are getting on finally. This is the idyllic kind of imagery of the family, the visual grammar’s telling us that all is wonderful. For goodness sake, Leonard is happy for the first time. Mrs. C’s happy with Jack. Surely it couldn’t get any better? Well, let’s make it better, says Geordie to himself when he says, OK, I accept Cathy is going to have her own life in terms of career and carry her throughout that career. And so if he can help that in any way and make her happy and love Geordie more, so he will. And so he thinks that bringing in the mother-in-law, played by the wonderful Paula Wilcox, he thinks himself, this is just gonna make things better. The kids can be looked after. Cathy, a lot more time for a job and have more time for Geordie and therefore the whole notion of nothing good ever lasts is Geordie lives by, nothing good, ever lasts, plays out. Once the mother in law turns up because one of the main themes in series five was secrets and lies, and we all have them. And since time began. We will have them and they come to the surface once the mother in law turns up. And Geordie can tell by Cathy’s expressive expression when she laid eyes on her mother that something is amiss and therefore something very secretive, very dark and very something in the 50s that was swept under the carpet plays out for all to see. And I think Paula played it. So beautifully and with an amazing amount of heart and pathos and the madness that unfolds within the household was something that sadly. But I can certainly relate to and in real life and experiences I’ve had and a lot of other people’s lives as well. So this whole kind of charming notion of the start, Grantchester has just completely flipped on its head when the mother in law turned to Diane and bipolar and just brings us back to that really kind of serious notion of something uncomfortable flowing below the Garden of Eden.
Jace I mean, it’s only after the dinner party from hell and Diana actually takes a sledgehammer to the wall that Cathy finally tells Geordie about her childhood with Diana. Do you feel there’s a sense here that the detective failed to detect what was going on here? Or is it more that Cath did a really good job covering this up and really embedding these secrets within her?
Robson Well, I just played and I did ask Daisy and Emma and a few of the other actors and I talked to Paula about it. At what point do I realize something is amiss because. It did the way I played it and decision I made was she’s just the batty mother in law and it’s only when something destructive happens if physical destruction to a wall. He knows there’s something far more to be batty at play here. And I think it’s down to the writing, played it really well, but it’s down to the performance as well when she’s, you know, it is it is that the dinner from hell. But Geordie says so laid out. It’s just fantastic. Oh, my goodness. What a kook. What a woman. The house is clean. The children appear to be happy again. Everything be happy. And then suddenly, like all good drama, nothing good ever lasts. It’s all flipped on its head. So the decision I certainly made and the playing of that scene and Paula made the play that scene. She’s just the batty mother in law who is larger than life. Isn’t she great? And it’s only when there’s something deeply amiss towards the end, when she starts setting the table on fire and frightening the children and then frightening her daughter and then, you know, that only becomes so much during a corrosive experience, which is, you know, denial, which is what Cathy’s living through. It has to come to the surface. And so therefore, I think it was time beautifully and I thought was written beautifully. I thought it played. And so, yeah, you’re right. It was only when the physical destruct act started taking place that nobody could help it in terms of her daughter and the pain she’s been going through in terms of denial and the secrets and lies that she’s lived through all her life, that it needs her. The problem needs to be taken elsewhere. It’s a lovely play because, you know, is this about love? Love? Love hurts. Love is destructive. Love. Love is incredibly painful. And, you know, I spoke to Daisy about my own mother who suffers from dementia. And we all live in denial about. But when I say my mother’s joy, you’re just walking along a beach or. Oh, this is childhood memory. She’ll have. I take it to see, you know, some about Winston Churchill, darkest hour. She just starts speaking loosely about her childhood and an apologist. I was watching her and I saw a lot of my mother in her performance. It was utterly beautiful. And and and there was a couple of takes that I forgot my lines because I was just in awe of what Paula was doing. She’s so good. She’s an absolute legend. We could learn a lot from her. She’s a fantastic actress.
Jace The two scenes where a Geordie has to coax Diana out of the Keating household were incredibly powerful. There’s just a sort of humanistic performance from the three of you. From you, Paula Wilcox and Kacey Ainsworth were particularly because they relied on the normal, normally stoic Geordie becoming incredibly sensitive. How difficult of a sequence was this to film with with Paula and Kacey?
Robson So I’ll be deeply honest with this. Kacey. Went through the story of Paul Unem shirt on. Kacey brought it up. She recalled experiences with her own mother. And I brought experiences with my mother to that scene. Sometimes I’m not a method actor, but sometimes you can bring, you know, every age you ever have been. Jace. And you can bring your old your own experiences to to to any scene. And I just felt I was talking to my mom, you know, about certain things when mom, my mom becomes scared and vulnerable and confused and upset about life. And she’s trying to work out why things are making sense because of the glitches in her own behavior. Things are slowing down not only physically but mentally as well and becoming more and more confused. And it’s a very scary place to be. But the one inherent thing that exists within family, a good family is love. And that’s all we played in that scene. So it was it was upsetting, but is is genuine. And from main case, mining cases, only shared experiences of our own mothers. So it wasn’t that difficult to play is just upsetting because you know what’s at play here in the real world where we’re faking sincerity and when we’re acting and we’re suspending disbelief. But stories are powerful and they sometimes remind us that loving one another within our family is is a beautiful thing to behold. And I think that’s what we are. We played that in that scene.
Jace I love his line.
Diana I’m frightened.
Geordie I know. But if I know one thing about the women in your family it’s that they’re tough as diamonds. Now shall we show the neighbours just how important you are?
Jace it’s a message for Diana in as much as it is for Cath. What was it like getting to showcase this very different side to Geordie Keating than we’ve seen on Grantchester?
Robson Well, it’s it’s it is a decision I made from that kind of black and white scenario initially that, you know, certain peoples from certain walks of life should be looked at in a negative way. You know, those people who worked all through life with entitled these Geordie dislikable, you know, we’re all products of our. Our upbringing and and in that first and second series, I made a conscious decision not to hang out or my washing because as an actor, you know, I’ve seen some actors in a scene or they do something in the scene. And I’m thinking. And in a series in the committee’s series, this act happened in Helen. Oh, are you going to Topknot next week? Clearly, this is an ongoing series. So in order for it to be enjoyable, in order for it to develop, you bring out certain aspects of a character through that series that keeps the audience with you. Do you care enough about a character throughout the series? And there’s likability within that character. But you see certain changes that you didn’t know about. It’s a really nice thing to play. I’ve been in a lot of series in my career and I’ve used that kind of method, if you like, to actually keep that series going and make the process enjoyable, make the series likable, and also just explore another side to a character that you did that maybe no one else had seen before, including Daisy. You know, we talk a lot with Daisy about the character. I say, let’s just see this certain side. So, I mean, I’ve already been speaking to Daisy about Series six, as has Tom. And there’s a. Gorgeous thing going to happen with Will jilting, seriously? They both go a while. So who’s going to save the with with my one. Save the other. They’re both in trouble. It’s great. Funny. It’s great. They go a well, it’s great.
Jace Will is a do gooder. He believes in second chances. Something that the more cynical Geordie often scoffs at. We see this argument brought to life in their very differing approaches to young offender Matthew Butler. Did security see Will’s interest in transforming Matthew’s life as naive?
Robson Yeah, it’s it’s again, it’s the puddicombe from two universities and the university that, you know, will come from is is is through wealth and privilege circumstance, whereas Geordie has just come through struggle and strife and the University of Life and the life is very different to what Wills led. And Jodi is one of the reasons why he’s good at his job is because he he speculates to accumulate in terms of knowledge, but he can always spot. A bad person at a very young age, and he lives by the philosophy that never underestimated. When your grandmother said he’ll always grow up to be a. And that’s what Jody lived by. He knows he’s going to grow up to be baton. So that’s the decision you make as an actor. That’s what my grandmother would say if she was right. My grandmother, my grandmother used to spot these kids in our neighborhood. He’s gonna go to prison. He’s gonna he’s gonna turn out okay. He’s gonna be very bright. He’s gonna be a leader, my grandmother. So Geordie kind of lives with that philosophy. And therefore, it’s really nice to play when when he discovers, well, maybe his will is right, that we should not only invest in ourselves and our philosophies, that we maybe we should invest in others. And that is a great philosophy and great philosophy that is shared by. Well. So as is the nice thing to play. Definitely.
Geordie You think we’re all naive, don’t you? Will only fell for it because he’s the best of men. This has broken him. Though I doubt you give a damn about that any more than you do about those boys.
Vic Are you done, Keatsey? Only I’d like to get my head down for a bit.
Jace And then Geordie brutally punches Vic in the gut. Is this for Will? Is this action for Will?
Robson It was it was interesting shooting that scene, because I was I was told, do it for Will Daisy said said do it for Will because you said the audience will do it for Will. And because he is a prince among men. But it’s also. Geordie’s never liked him. He’s never liked him. And this is just the one chance on behalf of everything. Not on behalf of Will not behalf of this Vic’s victims, not only on behalf of Daisy, the audience. You know, let’s just just close him. Just punch him giving what it deserves. And I, I, I sensed an audible cheer when the punch went in in the scene when we were actually filming it. Rob Evans who was director, gorgeous direct, my favorite director of the whole show. He’s so gorgeous. He pumped his fist. Yeah. Loved they loved it. Robson We all wanted to see that. We all went. That was that was for everybody. Not just for Will? That was for everybody. Quite right. Quite right.
Jace While working the Nora Martin case in the six episode, Geordie and Will don’t get some sappy reconciliation scene, but rather a quick, “I was a pain in the ass” waving away of an apology.
Geordie Should I be worried about you?
Geordie I was a bit worried about you, as it turns out.
Will I’m fine. Honestly. After Vic… I think I just… lost the wonder for a while…
Geordie Became a pain in the arse, you mean?
Jace Does it speak volumes for the depth of the bond between these two that there doesn’t need to be this long, drawn out apology chase?
Robson That final scene was lovely for so many reasons. It was it was beautifully written. But it’s it’s also. The it’s just about friendship, it’s about why people watch the show. It’s about the likability of that friendship because it’s so relatable to an audience. And I think that’s what was coming across in the show. And I don’t think if you if it was written in a different way, where there was this kind of dissection of what will it gone through, then you got to remember, it’s a one hour TV program with breaks in it. You have to very quickly and cleverly get to the point of reconciliation. And I think it was not only played really nicely, but it was written beautifully. And we’re just with the enough. It was just the right moment of economy for the audience to go. Yeah, I’d watch those two again.
Jace What does Geordie make of the reveal that Will give up his vow of celibacy? Not with Ali, but with Sister Grace of all people?
Robson We shot that scene so many times. We shot it. And we looked at it. And it just wasn’t right for a few reasons. A Tom’s Tom’s voice was going bad and it just sounded a bit. It just didn’t sound right. And the way I was delivering some of the lines just just didn’t work. It was flawed in many respects. And I think the way I was reacting initially, thankfully, the audience didn’t see the scene the way I was reacting initially. It was like I was enjoying the fact that he was getting off with a non and it but instead of it, just a genuine shock. And the joke the first time we shot it. Just tell me one thing. Did you wear the Wimpole if it didn’t work? Because we played the scene as a joke. But if you play it for real and play the reality and circumstance at the end of the scene, it worked. So we shot it again and it was much better. And I think it really cemented the relationship that, you know, Will is happy for the time being. And if Grace made him happy. That’s good, enjoyed his book.
Jace I mean, it’s funny, that line punctures the tension rather than escalates it. And I think that’s why it works, is that you do play it very seriously. And then it is sort of typical Geordie sort of taking the mickey and asking about the wimple.
Jace I love that final scene with them outside the vicarage as Will’s birthday party goes on inside. What does this final scene say about found families and Grantchester as a whole?
Robson You know, I did. It says, because I think one of the reasons why you love it, Jace, is because it’s beautifully written. There’s an economy of thought come in in that scene from Daisy. And like Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s easy to learn. Or your favorite record. You probably know all the words to your favorite song because it’s beautifully written. And therefore, it was so. Easy to play. Once we got our act together, that the third time we went at it. And I think what it says about Grantchester is it’s quality. It’s beautifully written. The characters are likable, the characters you care about, the characters you want to follow. And for that one hour of Grantchester, when you’re sitting there watching it, you think to yourself, I wish I was there with them. I wish I was there with them because I really like. I loved watching that scene and I really wish I was just an outsider or just someone there sitting with a drink, just watching all that unfold. It’s like my mother when I take her out. She loves watching the world go by. And my mom is a huge fan of Grantchester. Sometimes she I’ll be watching it with and she’ll say to me, what are you doing on the television? Which sometimes didn’t grasp the fact that I’m still an actor. But she does enjoy it. And the smile on her face when I see it through my mother’s eyes and when I see it through the other people’s eyes of my mother’s ilk, it’s all the more enjoyable. And I think it’s it’s down to the quality of the writing and it’s the quality of the of the acting and it’s the quality of the team. They’re all at the top of the game in Grantchester. And what it says about family is that love is everything. And Grantchester is a very lovable place to actually working.
Jace So you tease the fact that Geordie and Will go away next season. I know you’ve talked to Daisy. Did you have any wishes for where you’d like to see the character of Geordie Keating taken next season?
Robson Taken away from Grantchester. Let’s just see them outside their comfort zone. Location wise. So before the global pandemic, we were going to the seaside, possibly abroad. You know, on a package, some kind of package, tour. But we were still going to the seaside and we come across a victim. On the beach, I’m not spoiling anything because it’s because covid’s changed the whole thing. But we’re going to a holiday camp and it was all going to it all gonna happen within that context. And but we’re still still sticking with the theme of two friends. Not not not either one of them being outside the comfort zone, but both of them being outside their comfort zone. And therefore, the circumstances surrounding themselves are so overwhelming that it affects them both. So they both capitulated the same time. So they seek outside help in terms of saving them.
So enter Mrs. C, enter Leonard and you know, Cathy to save them. So it gives I think it gives a lot more scope to the ensemble cast as well. So, yeah, it it’s just a did they find themselves in the den of iniquity and they’ve had no escape. So they need saving. So that that’s the theme we’re going to play with that no matter where you are in life, you know, expect the unexpected and sometimes you rely on your loved ones to save you rather than your closest friend.
Jace So Geordie and Will in Ibiza.
Robson Not far off. Don’t even joke about it, Jace. Not far off. Bye. That’s when it went. Look, Interpol was huge and it was a big thing that a collaboration between Europe and other countries was big in the 50s and was becoming more more prolific as time went on. There were so many cold cases that were unsolved. And so there was this notion that we take to them, to France, and obviously we’re less fluent in French. Geordie’s not. You know, Geordie’s is not going to eat any foreign book. Of course, all the cliches can be played out. It’s all that kind of that lovely stuff when we when we are all outside of our comfort zone, taking way outside our comfort zone. But the thing that takes away inside is the location rather than the situation within Grantchester location abroad. I just think it’s a great device to play on the tube because, you know, abroad for Geordie, Calais for Geordie? the scope for comedy, Jane. The scope for comedy.
Jace I cannot wait to see it. Robson Green. Thank you so much.
Robson Always a pleasure, Jace.
Jace Season five of Grantchester might be done and dusted — but we have more Grantchester moments on the way! In an upcoming special bonus episode of the podcast, we speak with series creator Daisy Coulam and Grantchester writers John Jackson and Joshua St. Johnston about how they crafted the stories and scenes you’ll remember this season.
Daisy Coulam: Don’t you think if policemen ever looked through your search history, be like straight off to jail?
Joshua St. Johnston: I had to Google how to build a bomb. I’m sure that MI5 are listening into this even now.
Jace That’s out Wednesday, July 22 — and so is a special video excerpt of our podcast taping!
MASTERPIECE Studio is hosted by me, Jace Lacob, and produced by Nick Andersen. Elisheba Ittoop is our editor. Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer at large for MASTERPIECE. The executive producer for MASTERPIECE is Susanne Simpson.
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