“As a priest, isn’t everything our business? There’s no part of the human heart which is not our responsibility” – Sidney Chambers
ITV has commissioned a six-part series, Grantchester, set in 1953 in the beautiful county of Cambridgeshire.
Adapted from the novel, ‘Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death’ by James Runcie, the series is written for ITV by Daisy Coulam, who has previously scripted EastEnders and Casualty.
The series will be produced by Lovely Day, a sister company of Kudos, and will be executive produced by Lovely Day’s Managing Director and founder Diederick Santer (Cutting It, Jane Eyre, EastEnders).
Set against the backdrop of the real hamlet of Grantchester, the drama focuses upon the life of Sidney Chambers, a charismatic, charming clergyman who turns investigative vicar when one of his parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances.
A tall and handsome man with a love of warm beer and hot jazz, Sidney is self-effacing, great company and a true romantic. He conscientiously undertakes his parish duties at the church of St Andrew and St Mary’s, and has the ear of his congregation who respect his unique moral insights and dry humour. Sidney thinks the best of people, but intuitively asks all the right questions which often results in an epiphany!
His partner in crime is over-worked Police Inspector, Geordie Keating, a man two inches shorter than he’d like to be, with scuffed shoes and hair not as familiar with a comb as it should be. Geordie speaks plainly and his down to earth approach to policing complements Sidney’s more gentle technique of coaxing information from witnesses and suspects. Their unlikely partnership becomes a true friendship as each offers a different insight into the crimes they begin to unravel.
Troubled by nightmares and recurring flashbacks to the time he served in the Scot’s Guards, Sidney is the moral compass of the drama with a desire to put right the wrongs of the past – “we cannot erase our pasts however hard we try. Instead we must carry them with us into the future.”
Sidney’s private life is complicated, as his love for beautiful heiress Amanda Kendall, although reciprocated, doesn’t have a future, as her father wants her to marry an aristocratic beau. For the foreseeable, Sidney lives with his housekeeper the redoubtable Mrs Maguire who keeps him in check and cleans his water closets. He also has gorgeous Labrador puppy, Dickens, for company.
Filming of the six part series will begin in March 2014 in London, Cambridge and Grantchester and shooting will continue until June.
The drama has been commissioned for ITV by Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.
“Grantchester is an exciting commission for ITV Drama and we’re delighted to be working with Diederick Santer,” said Steve. “Daisy Coulam’s scripts are vivid and beautifully written with some wonderful characters at the heart of the stories. There’s an emotional truth and gravity to this series which makes it a very compelling drama.”
Executive Producer Diederick Santer said: “Grantchester is a real labour of love for me and Lovely Day. Sidney is a charming, but complex character, a man of faith burdened by his past despite a distinguished wartime record, he’s funny, dashing and inquisitive. He loves being a parish priest in the exquisite village of Grantchester, but somehow it’s not enough and he still finds time to fall in and out of love and solve crimes. James Runcie has created this brilliant character and this glorious world, which Daisy Coulam is now bringing to the screen in her wonderful and lavish scripts, and I can’t wait for ITV’s audience to get to know him too.”
Grantchester will be produced by Emma Kingsman-Lloyd (DCI Banks).
Details of the cast will be announced next year in the build up to production.
Note to Editors:
‘Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death’ is James Runcie’s first novel in the projected series of six books, entitled The Grantchester Mysteries. The series has been commissioned by Bloomsbury who began publishing a volume each year from 2012 until 2017.
James has a second novel in print – ‘Sidney Chambers and the Peril of the Night’ – and the third novel is due for publication next year. Each volume contains six inter-connected stories that feature the clergyman detective.
James has written several other novels including: The Discovery of Chocolate; The Colour of Heaven; Canvey Island; East Fortune.
James is the son of ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.
Lovely Day is a production company founded by Diederick Santer in 2010, with Kudos. Working with UK and international broadcasters, and with the finest established and up-and-coming British TV talent, Lovely Day is fast becoming a trusted maker of distinctive, loved and popular TV drama and comedy entertainment.