As long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by British mystery films or TV series. When I was a child, there weren’t as many as they are now, to tell the truth, and the few I saw are still among my favorite films ever. Peter Ustinov’s Poirot in “Death on the Nile” and “Evil Under the Sun” opened my eyes to the British elegance of acting and made me discover the joy of watching a genre considered up to that point”minor”.
I have to admit there’s something gratifying about watching the detective unfolding the complicated threads of a murder and seeing good prevail. A good whodunnit always cheers me up. In this light, this past weekend I decided to check out a series I kept hearing so much lately: Grantchester. I didn’t regret it for a second.
We cannot erase our pasts however hard we try. Instead we must carry them with us into the future. (Sydney Chambers)
Granchester is a six part British murder mystery show, based on the popular “The Granchester Mysteries” book series by James Runcie. It is set in the 50s’, and sees the young handsome priest, Sydney Chambers (James Norton), as the clergyman-detective. Sydney is not quite your regular vicar: he’s fought in WWII, from where he has returned scared and tormented by the things he’s seen and done. He drinks, smokes and he’s in love with Amanda, a rich heiress, although this love is not reciprocated. On the first episode of the series, Sydney becomes involved when one of his parishioners, a local businessman, dies in an apparent suicide. He is aided by local police officer Geordie Keating, although the two don’t start on the right foot from the beginning.
What I find absolutely amazing about this series is that it blends masterfully Sidney’s personal life (and his love for Amanda) with the murder mystery case. The atmosphere is low-key tone, almost sepia colored, reflecting the inner life of the characters that hide secrets, lie and murder, but who are also looking for redemption. Sydney is no exception. He’s killed people in the war, and he know what the humans are capable of to survive. Another plus of the series is the setting, the real hamlet of Grantchester, who is at the same time both wild and civilized.
In his attempt to trace back the origin of the Granchester book series, James Runcie found himself asking questions that will resound in the development of the characters: “When did modern Britain begin? You could argue that it began as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, or with the death of Queen Victoria, or with the introduction of automatic weapons in the First World War. A good case could be made for the first commercial aeroplane flights, for the invention of the computer, or the explosion of the atomic bomb. In Britain, the traditional watershed is, of course 1945, the end of the war and the beginning of a sustained period of peace and prosperity. But I believe that the modern Britain begins in 1953 with the most popular event in its twentieth century history at its heart.” (The Grantchester Mysteries)
Filmed on location in London, Cambridge and Grantchester, the series is written for ITV by Daisy Coulam. It airs on ITV every Monday at 9pm. In US, Grantchester will be air at a later time (no new has not been officially announced.)
Music: Don’t You Find by Jaime T.