As we say goodbye to Grantchester‘s original mystery-solving vicar Sidney Chambers, take a look back on some of our favorite things about Sidney and special memories through the years.
His excellent taste in jazz and whiskey.
It’s hard to imagine a bigger fan of jazz than Sidney Chambers. From Louis Armstrong to, of course, Sidney Bechet, the young vicar often had a jazz record playing while he wrote sermons or brooded about the latest case (or latest girl problem). “I like it because it’s full of intensity and feeling and…jazz is a metaphor for life,” Sidney told Geordie back in Season 1. Sidney’s profound love of music was also recognized by those around him. “You love your music. We love the fact that you love your music,” Leonard reminded Sidney when he was ready to throw his records away.
His heartfelt sermons.
Arguably, Sidney’s biggest strength as a vicar was his genuine connection with his congregation, and it made his sermons all the more touching. When Leonard made it painfully obvious that writing and delivering a good sermon is no easy feat, Sidney counseled, “Just speak from the heart. You can’t go far wrong.” It was his penchant for speaking from the heart that had his congregants always looking to Sidney for inspiration. As Mrs. Maguire once told him, “People need you, Sidney. They look to you. Not to the Church. They look to you.”
Sidney’s final sermon was one that tugged the heartstrings of everyone around him: “It’s terrifying to step outside the bounds of our lives. To step away from those we love, from the friends we cherish. But sometimes we must. Sometimes God has a different path for us. One that feels impossible because we must leave so much behind. One that makes us feel alone. But know this. We are never alone. On our path through life, God is always by our side.”
The way he refuses to think in black and white.
Geordie and Sidney certainly put their own unique spin on the “good cop, bad cop” strategy. While Geordie could be a stickler for the law and often see the world in black and white, Sidney could always find sympathy not only for the victims, but also the accused perpetrators. Life was never as simple or straightforward as it seemed, something Sidney explained to Leonard: “It’s life we deal in, Leonard, the good, the bad. All the grey areas in between.”
The way he made us swoon.
Young, hip, handsome and charming – it was no wonder that Amanda, Hildegard, Margaret, Gloria and more had their eyes on Sidney Chambers. And Sidney was certainly enamored with them, as well. After all, it’s all because of love that we’re bidding Sidney adieu – something Geordie, for one, was not surprised about. As he reminded Leonard, when it comes to Sidney: “It is always about a girl.”
His found family with Mrs. Chapman and Leonard (and Dickens).
Like any family, they certainly all knew how to push each others’ buttons, but Mrs. Chapman (formerly Maguire), Sidney, and Leonard made quite the found family unit. Their love and support for each other superseded their frustrations with one another, (e.g., Mrs. Maguire’s strong opinions, Sidney’s drinking).
When Sidney ran away at the end of Season 3, it was Mrs. Maguire (with the help of Geordie) who went to find him and remind him he still had a home. When Leonard contemplated quitting his position in Grantchester – twice – it was Sidney who helped him find his way. And when Mrs. Maguire (first) feared losing Sidney for good at the end of Season 3, Amanda reminded her of this simple fact: “Oh, he’ll still be your boy. Sidney will always be your boy.”
His friendship with Geordie.
Sidney’s unlikely close bond with Geordie has been at the very heart of the show all along. The two were as opposite as day and night, even labeled an “old married couple” by Margaret, and yet, their work together led to an unbreakable friendship and a fondness neither were quite expecting. Where Geordie was tough, Sidney was soft, and where Geordie was doubtful, Sidney was hopeful. Sure, their friendship endured hard times over the years – Gary Bell’s trial, Geordie’s indiscretions with Margaret – but in the end, they always forgave each other. They were better together than apart.
It’s like Sidney said, in a toast to Geordie on his birthday: “Someone recently asked me why we were friends. Seeing as we have so little in common. He’s old enough to be my father. And he has a terrible habit of beating me at backgammon. Thing is, I don’t think we’re that different. We both want the world to be a less frightening place. Maybe that’s it. You’re a grumpy old sod, but I’d be lost without you.”
Of course, we’ll certainly miss the “bromantic” off-screen friendship of James Norton and Robson Green, too: