Tag Archives: Grantchester

Grantchester Character Review: Cathy Keating

This will be my last Grantchester character review post. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is…you’ll have to wait until next week.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It was not that long ago that a woman’s choice in life was not a choice at all. She had to marry, bring children into the world, take care of her home and support her husband. Career and professional opportunities were limited at best and nonexistent at worst.

On Grantchester, Cathy Keating (Kacey Ainsworth) has always been her husband Geordie’s, (Robson Green) cheerleader. But that does not mean that her marriage has always been sunshine and roses.

Taking care of her children while Geordie is out solving crimes is not easy. Then there was her husband’s affair, which as one might expect, does not go over well. When we last saw Cathy, she had a job working in a local department store. Though it provided the additional income and the purpose she was looking for, the job also came with an unwanted downside.

Anthony Hobbs (Christian McKay) may appear to be charming and gentleman like, but appearances are deceiving. Anthony sees his female colleagues as his personal harem. When they are not so quick to give him what he is asking for, he is not above using less than moral means to get what he wants. Cathy is no different than any other female employee in the company. Instead of giving Anthony what he wants, she finds a way to ensure that his interactions with the female staff as professional and appropriate.

Starts at 3:18

To sum it up: Cathy Keating, as a character, is both a woman of her era and thoroughly modern. Though she comes from a time in which the expectations of a woman were rigid, she is still eager to spread her wings. In her situation, other women might have folded or returned to their previous roles. But Cathy stood her ground and came out stronger for it.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Amanda Kendall

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In an ideal world, we would not have to choose between our heads and our hearts. But we don’t live in an ideal world. The decision between our heart and our heads is sometimes the only choice, as difficult as it maybe. On Grantchester, Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie) is best friends with Sidney Chambers (James Norton). They seem like the perfect couple. But perfect is not always meant to be.

Amanda is an heiress who works at the National Gallery in London. Marriage to a small town curate is not exactly what her family envisioned for her. Though she married Guy Hopkins (Tom Austen), their marriage is not always sunshine and roses. When her marriage is on the brink of dying, Amanda is pregnant and leaves her husband. Running to the vicarage and to Sidney, they begin a will they or won’t they relationship in spite of the fact that she is still married. After her daughter is born, their relationship becomes even more complicated with Amanda wanted to divorce Guy.

But Amanda has to make a choice, as does Sidney. They can formalize their relationship, knowing the scandal it will create. Or they can go their separate ways, knowing how painful it will be.

To sum it up: the choice between one’s head and one’s heart is both difficult and life changing. The person forced to make the choice knows what lies in front of them. But it must be done, regardless of the cost of that decision.

That is why Amanda Kendall is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Mrs. Chapman

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

There is a perception that as one gets older, they become more conservative. They cling to the values of the past and seem unable to accept that some things have changed. On Grantchester, Mrs. Chapman (formerly Mrs. Maguire, played by Tessa Peake-Jones) is that character. Working initially as the housekeeper for Sidney Chambers (James Norton) and then for Will Davenport (Tom Brittany), she is loyal, loving and hardworking. But, she can also come off as old fashioned and disapproving of the world around her.

This comes into play in two distinct narratives. The first was when she married again. Her new husband, Jack Chapman (Nick Brimble) is a wealthy man who is happy to spoil his wife. Though she loves her husband, Mrs. Chapman is not used to being spoiled. The second is when she discovers that Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is gay. It a shock to her and makes her question if her relationship with him can ever be the same.

To sum it up: Though Mrs. Chapman may appear to be the old lady who yells at the neighborhood kids to stay off her lawn, she is much more than that. She has a heart and staunchly believes in what she believes in, even if it conflicts with the changing times.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Will Davenport

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When one beloved character is replaced by a new character, there is often a transition period for both the audience and the existing characters. On Grantchester, when Sidney Chambers (James Norton) left for America, he was replaced by Will Davenport (Tom Brittany). If Sidney rocked the boat only slightly, Will rocks the boat without question.

Will rides a motorcycle, listens to rock and roll and does not have the same demons from the war that Sidney does. He is modern in his sensibilities, which does not sit well with some of his superiors and the more traditional members of his parish.

Though he seems carefree, Will is not without problems of his own. Born into a wealthy family, his father Thomas (Nathaniel Parker) does not agree with his son’s choice of profession. Caught between his opinionated father and loving mother Amelia (Jemma Redgrave), Will must navigate complicated family politics.

To sum it up: It has been said that first impressions are lasting, but they don’t always reveal the truth about the person. Though Will appears to be the typical 1950’s rebel, he is eventually revealed to be much more than that. When his past and his issues are revealed, Will becomes a more complex and human character.

Which is why he is memorable to watch.

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Grantchester Character Review: Leonard Finch

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

No one wants to be different. We all want to fit in and be accepted. In our time, being different has become the new normal. But it was not so long ago that being different was if not illegal, considered to be immoral. On  Grantchester, Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is gay. In his world, Britain in the 1950’s, he is essentially illegal. He faces two daunting choices, neither of which are ideal. He can either come out and potentially go to jail. Or, he can stay in the closet and pretend to be someone who he is not.

On the surface, Leonard comes off as the enthusiastic man of the cloth who clings ferociously to the ideals of his profession. But underneath all of that is a man who is struggling to accept who he is. On top of accepting who he is, Leonard is unsure about his attraction to Daniel Marlowe (Oliver Dimsdale).

In an effort to appear “normal”, Leonard asks Hilary Franklin (Emily Bevan) to marry him. She accepts his proposal, but the engagement does not last very long. This results in a botched suicide attempt. After surviving the suicide attempt and found out by Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones), he realized that even in the constricting 1950’s, it was better to be himself than hide who he is.

*I would normally include a clip, but there are none to be found.

To sum it up: In the lens of 2020, no one (well hopefully no one) would blink an eye when encountering a gay character. But, in the lens of the 1950’s, the view of this character is different. He lives in a world that at best denies who he is and at worst, criminalizes who he is. But, in spite of what seems to be insurmountable challenges, Leonard is able to find a way to be himself and fall in love.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Geordie Keating

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the world of TV detectives, there is a certain perception of the character. He or she is hard bitten by life, excels at their jobs, but personal issues sometimes get in the way. Detective Geordie Keating (Robson Green) has seen it all. A veteran of World War II, he has seen the darker side of humanity from his time during the war and his job as a police detective. Married to Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth), they have four children and a very busy life.

The ying to Sidney Chamber’s (James Norton) yang, Geordie understands the criminal mind and is sometimes willing to break the rules to bring them to justice. This naturally creates tension with Sidney who is more intuitive in his methodologies than his partner. But, they balance each out in a way that bring out the best in both men.

On the home front, Geordie has another set of challenges. He had a mistress for a while, which obviously did not make for a happy marriage. After he broke it off and finally returned to the arms of his wife, Geordie had to face up to the fact that his eldest daughter, Esme (Skye Lucia Degruttola) was growing into a young woman. Ask any father and they will tell you that it’s not easy to admit that your little girl is growing up.

To sum it up: The character of the hard boiled police detective is one that has been seen many over the years. It is therefore, the job of the writer(s) to ensure that their version of the character is not only flesh and blood, but stands out from the pack.

Geordie Keating stands out because even though he is a hard boiled TV detective, he is so much more than that. He is thoroughly human, with flaws and mistakes. But he also knows when to make amends and tell those who he loves exactly how he feels.

That is why Geordie Keating is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Sidney Chambers

My character review from Roseanne and The Conners has reached its end. Onto the next set of characters.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to clergy people of any religion, we expect them to act and think in a certain way. We expect them to be buttoned down, conservative and living as close to the tenets of their faith as they can. In Grantchester, Sydney Chambers (James Norton) breaks all of those rules and more.

A World War II veteran and a man of the cloth, Sydney Chambers’s life is more than the Church. Drawn into the world of crime fighting, his ability to read and understand the human condition puts a new spin on his extracurricular activities. Paired with veteran policeman Geordie Keating (Robson Green), Sidney is the ying to Geordie’s yang.

When he is not doing his clerical work or fighting crime, Sidney can be found with a drink in his hand and a jazz record playing in the background. He can also be found with his best friend, Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie). Sidney is in love with Amanda. But according to the rules of 1950’s England, a woman of Amanda’s stature does not marry a clergyman, especially one whose parish is in the country.

Throughout his journey, it is Sidney’s heart that both helps him and gets him in trouble. When a pregnant Amanda walks away from her marriage, she goes to Sidney. The “will they or won’t they” questions hovers above their relationship, but ultimately becomes a won’t they as Sidney chooses the Church over Amanda.

In the end, Sidney’s heart chooses his fate. Falling in love with an African-American woman, he leaves England, his chosen profession and his friends for a new life in the States.

To sum it up: Sidney Chambers is one complicated character. Though he is a man of the cloth, he is far from the stereotype of a clergy person. As an audience member, I personally find the contradictions to be interesting. As a writer, we look for ways to break molds in characters and allow them to stand out.

Sidney Chambers stands out, which is why he is a memorable character.

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The Perfect Resolution to Grantchester’s #Metoo Moment

*This post contains spoilers about this season of Grantchester. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the entire season.

Women have been experiencing sexual assault and sexual harassment since the beginning of time. It is only in the past few years that the #Metoo movement has forced the hand of lawmakers and leaders to stop and/or prevent such acts.

This season of Grantchester tackled the issue as only this show can.

After having her children and spending quite a few years at home, Cathy Keating (Kacey Ainsworth) is ready to go back to work. It’s supposed to bring in additional income and give her something to do outside of the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood.

But like many women across the centuries, Cathy has more than the standard workload on her hands. Her lecherous colleague, Anthony Hobbs (Christian McKay) has wandering hands and the idea that his female colleagues are there for his sexual pleasure. The preview of the scene starts at :11.

There are two ways to resolve a story line of this manner: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way would have been that upon finding out about Mr. Hobbs, Cathy’s husband, Geordie (Robson Green) would have jumped into the car, driven to the store where his wife works and give Mr. Hobbs a beating he will never forget.

The hard way is for the women to stand up and use their brains to stop this man. Cathy enlists Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones) to help her get rid of Mr. Hobbs without relying on on her husband.

I won’t give away the ending of this narrative thread, but I will say that it felt satisfying, despite the frustration of Mr. Hobbs not being exposed for the predator that he is.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a little creativity to ensure that these men are treated as the criminals that they are. Especially when too many women still experience sexual harassment and sexual assault on a daily basis.

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Grantchester Series 3/My Mother And Other Strangers Series 1 Review

There is nothing so wonderful (at least from my perspective) as settling down on a Sunday night and knowing that the programming on Masterpiece Theater/Mysteries will help with the realization that the weekend is over.

On Sunday night, not only did the first episode of the third season of Grantchester air, but also a new show premiered, My Mother And Other Strangers.

Grantchester picks up just a few months after series 2 ended. The bromance/murder solving duo of Vicar Sydney Chambers (James Norton) and Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) are back together again. But while Sydney and Geordie deal with the crimes that are happening in and around Grantchester, Sydney has another thing on his plate: his relationship with Amanda Hopkins (Morven Christie). Amanda is heavily pregnant and in the midst of divorcing her husband. While they are happily ensconced in finally being together, the storm of Amanda’s soon to be ended marriage and impending motherhood creates more than one barrier to their own version of happily ever after.

My Mother And Other Strangers takes place in Northern Ireland during World War II. Rose and Michael Coyne (Hattie Morahan and Owen McDonnell) have a full life of kids, work and just being busy. The war has yet to intrude into their world. It comes in the form of American servicemen, Captain Dreyfuss (Aaron Staton) and Lieutenant Barnhill (Corey Cott). Captain Dreyfuss seems to be paying more attention to Rose than her husband while Lieutenant Barnhill is interested in 16-year-old Emma Coyne (Eileen O’Higgins). The story is narrated by an adult Francis (Rose and Michael’s son). Ciaran Hinds tells the story in voice over flashback as an adult while 10-year-old Francis is played by Michael Nevin.

I’ve enjoyed Grantchester since the first season. Cop procedural shows tend to get a little boring when the only thing that the audience sees is inside the squad room or investigating the scene of a crime. Grantchester adds to this bland story by making the characters human and allowing the audience to see the lives and struggles of the characters outside of work. I was attracted to My Mother And Other Strangers because of the cast and how compelling the series seemed based off the trailer. The problem is that it is a little boring and it has yet to completely hook me in.

Do I recommend them? I say yes to Grantchester and maybe to My Mother And Other Strangers.

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Granchester Series 2/ Mr. Selfridge Series 4 Review

When Downton Abbey left our television screens for the final time earlier this month, there seemed to be a vacuum on Sunday nights. Where there is plenty of programs to choose from, there is nothing like Masterpiece.

Thankfully, Sunday night, the vacuum was filled.

Masterpiece returned with a one-two punch of Granchester and Mr. Selfridge.

Grantchester picks up from where we left Sydney (James Norton) and Geordie (Robson Green) at the end of series one. Finally healed from the gun shot wound, Sydney, Geordie and company are enjoying a day outdoors.

Then Sydney is arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with a teenage girl. Youch. Quite the way to start the second series.

Well, that’s not quite, the way. This is. You’re welcome.

If one looked up the definition of a Greek drama in the dictionary, one would find a picture of Harry Selfridge (Jeremy Piven).  In this final series, viewers will see the downfall of the titular character. Harry is still the same charismatic, charming, intelligent business man that we met in the first season. He also has the same weaknesses for women, gambling and booze.

But Harry realizes in the first episode that he is not the young man he was once was. Now a grandfather several times over, Harry is warned by his family and his faithful employees to slow down. But Harry, being Harry, is still a mile a minute.

Do I recommend them? If you know me and this blog, then you know the answer.

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