Grantchester: Nothing more than James Norton in tight swimming trunks

After a successful start to the second series of Happy Valley this month, James Norton’s gorgeous physique graced our screens again on Wednesday for the return of 1950’s set drama, Grantchester.

Following a promising opening scene involving James, a pond, and some very tight swimming trunks (I’ll leave the rest to your imagination). I was ready to get the popcorn out, but don’t get too excited ladies. I’m sorry to say that is the only Norton Naughtiness we get as he is, in fact, playing the role of vicar, Sydney Chambers, and that white collar sadly stays firmly around his neck for the next 58 minutes – gutting I know. Instead we are faced with the classic small town murder mystery where within the first half an hour just about everyone under the sun is a suspect; vicars, children, trees, you name it. The subject of all this hoo-ha is a fifteen year old girl, Abigail who goes missing just as quickly as James Norton’s shirt is put back on. It’s her diary which provides the police with the first piece of the puzzle resulting in the questioning of Norton’s character Chambers.

This accusation is rather rapidly brushed under the carpet and instead of being a potential suspect, Chambers, for completely unknown reasons, appears to become a sort of sidekick to the village detective, Geordie Keating, played by Robson Green. Why on earth a vicar has the time or qualifications to fulfil this role I do not know; clearly there has been a lack of funerals and weddings this month. Together they attempt to solve the crime as (spoiler alert) Abbie’s body is discovered moments after she is announced missing.

What follows is a bombardment of just about every element of a typical ITV crime drama chucked into one programme. There are more shockers than adverts, which is ironically also rather shocking. The only problem is, the ‘gripped to your seat, can’t tear your eyes away from the screen, someone please tell me what’s going to happen next’ element is as absent as poor Abigail. Unfortunately Grantchester brings nothing new to the world of ITV drama, only mild curiosity, light entertainment and the odd yawn.

Although, undeniably, things do start to pick up towards the end, it just feels like too much is being thrown into one episode. You’ll be left feeling slightly confused (especially if you failed to watch the first series) and wondering if you should have, in fact, spent the past hour writing that essay that’s due tomorrow, as, trust me, it would have been just as entertaining.

So, unfortunately, unless you’re an avid Norton lover and could watch him read the yellow pages, like myself, or you truly have a thing for a bit of harmless old school crime drama, then maybe give this one a miss and catch up on a bit of Happy Valley instead.


Megan Fryer


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