Get To Know Grantchester’s Tom Brittney
Get to know the newest addition to the Grantchester cast, actor Tom Brittney, who plays the leather-jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding new vicar in town Will Davenport, and get a glimpse into his life with some of his personal Instagram moments!
He's no stranger to the big screen.
From an 18th century British officer, to WWII Naval officer, to 21st century bad guy, the 28 year old actor is by no means a rookie. Fans may recognize him from his appearance in Season 3 of Call the Midwife, or from his role as fan-favorite Lieutenant Jeremy Foster in the first two seasons of Outlander, a British officer who honorably offers assistance to heroine Claire – before his tragic Season 2 death. Or, perhaps fans will recognize him as decidedly not good guy Roger Lockwood from the drama series UnReal, whose appearances on a Bachelor-style reality show are marked by controversy and scandal.
Next up on the docket? Starring alongside Tom Hanks in Greyhound, a film based on WWII novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Foster. Hanks stars as a Navy captain, and Brittney stars as his second in command, Lieutenant Watson. The film is slated to premiere in 2020.
His mother is Lynn Brittney, the mystery novelist and playwright.
Tom’s mother Lynn Brittney is well known in her own right – as the author of the Mayfair 100 mystery series, which is set in WWI era Mayfair, London. The young Chief Inspector Peter Beech investigates murders with the help of a crew of savvy women and professional policemen, and together they delve into the London streets to investigate gangs, brothels, drug rings and more to solve the murder mysteries at hand. According to Tom, they’re currently working on getting the series adapted into a TV show – so keep an eye out!
On top of her work as an author, Brittney credits his mother as his first drama teacher – and he’s not alone in thanking her. Her plays have been performed across the world, thanks to much of her work with Playstage, which makes plays accessible to theater companies and groups everywhere.
(It was also his mother who introduced him to Grantchester in the first place. Brittney says his mum is a fan of the show, and he first saw it at her house with her, “but as is the way with an actor’s life I never had time to watch the rest of it.”)
He’s also passionate about photography.
In an interview with Parade, Brittney said he’s passionate about photography, as well as acting, and photographs a lot in his spare time. He even brought his camera to the Grantchester set, though he regrets not doing the same for his recent movie with Tom Hanks, Greyhound.
He’s wanted to be an actor since he was a child.
Brittney, born in Gravesend, Kent, England, grew up around artists – particularly his mother, a playwright and author herself – and he just knew from a young age that he enjoyed acting.
“My mum was my drama teacher in elementary school and she encouraged me to keep at it,” said Brittney in a 2015 interview. “However, it wasn’t until I was around 14 or 15 years old that I realized I could do it for a living. I always figured people like Brad Pitt had a day job because I thought, ‘How can you make a career out of something so fun and interesting to do?’ … and then in my last year of high school, my drama teacher there said to me, ‘Why not go to drama school?’”
And that’s precisely what he did. Brittney attended the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and just before graduating, he booked his first professional job.
He knows he’s got big shoes to fill.
Coming into the fourth season of a show as it’s previous lead was, understandably, a daunting task. Trying to fill James Norton’s shoes was even more so. “I was a big fan of James Norton and although I’m not taking the same role, it’s a completely different character, I knew what Sidney Chambers meant to people,” Brittney said. “So there was that pressure in hoping they like Will as much as they loved Sidney.”
“In terms of bringing in the new character, the good thing with the show is that it was like art replicating life, because my character comes in and the community around him don’t really take to him as quickly as he might want, which probably echoes a bit of the viewership as well,” Brittney told Parade magazine in an interview. “But then slowly through the show, they come to see who he is and like who he is, and, hopefully, the audience will too.”
James’ parting wisdom for the incoming vicar? “He [told me] the cast and crew on Grantchester is like a family, so have fun,” Brittney said. “[And] hide your phone in your top pocket, so it can’t be seen.”
Robson Green is his new BFF.
Joining the tight knit cast was certainly made easier by the fact everyone was as kind as you’d imagine, chiefly among them: Norton’s right hand man, Robson Green. Brittney revealed his first memory of meeting Robson in a recent cast roundtable.“You just came bounding up to me instantly, and I, cause – you know, you’re Robson Green! I’d grown up watching you on TV and you just came up to me and was like, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ And you…were so friendly. … We just clicked, and it just felt so natural.”
Robson is, according to Brittney, a true friend. “He’s the nicest man you could wish to meet. You always worry when you work with people that well known, that they might not be as nice as they appear, but he absolutely is.”
Between Robson’s big energy and everyone’s kindness, Brittney soon felt right at home. “It was brilliant, although I was terrified, once I was there with everyone the nerves went,” he said. “From the moment I met everybody at the read-through every single person made such a great effort to make me feel part of the Grantchester family so I never felt I was the new boy on campus. Chronologically it was my first scene in the script as well, which was great. It was Will meeting Sidney for the first time. That was quite surreal, to see the two vicars meeting each other.”