With a 30 year career in film and television behind him, the past 5 years for Robson Green have been no different playing Geordie Keating in Grantchester, a Private Investigator who befriends a young clergyman to become an unexpected crime solving team.
While many things are unexpected, the success of Grantchester is not. With the casts natural chemistry and stunning locations, it is not surprising that the series is now in its 4th season. Set in the 1950’s in Grantchester England Green’s character partners with jazz-loving clergyman Sidney Chambers (James Norton). This season however, will be Norton’s last seeing Keating joined by new clergyman Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) as his new crime solving partner.
So how will the new relationship between Geordie and Will play out? “We discovered what Geordie and Will’s relationship is. It’s father and son; Will is the son Geordie never had while Will looks at Geordie as a father figure. So we made that artistic choice, which is a very simple one – that you would do anything for those you love and care about – that really works.”
Green will miss his co-star Norton, filming the final scene with him was emotional for both actors. “It was much more than a goodbye to James. We are kindred spirits James and I. Saying goodbye to someone you’ve shared so much of your life with in such a short period of time is really intense. I love the man deeply. What a talent that young man is.”
Green however is looking forward to the new dynamic that Brittany’s character will bring to Grantchester. “Obviously it is sad to see James go but Tom’s arrival brings a different and fresh energy to the series. He enthused everyone both in front of the camera and behind, that was really reassuring… There’s an innocence about Tom that really resonates on camera. He’s very endearing, engaging and likeable.”
Unlike Green, his character Geordie is stuck in time with everyone around moving on with new colleagues, a new police station and new energy arriving. “Everything is changing and Geordie initially wants to go back to how it was, because he understands, in his own mind, that’s when times were good…That’s not how the world works. Everything moves forward. Geordie blames Elvis Presley for broken Britain in the 1950s, corrupting the minds of everyone. In Will he sees the youth of today who he disagrees with. But Geordie knows people will tell Will things and reveal secrets to him. It is a great tool for a detective like Geordie to use.”
Grantchester is set almost 70 years ago now and while society was different many issues raised in the series are still a factor in 2019. “Grantchester is beautiful, tranquil, serene and quintessentially English. But look around and we have homophobia, domestic violence, racism and so on and we still have that today. Back in the 1950s we see the fear of change. The fear of anything different coming to this country puts some people on the back foot and turns them to hatred. It really does resonate with what is happening today”
Green however appreciates the growth in his character. “Geordie continuing to socialise with liberal-minded, open-minded and progressive people will make him a better person. Geordie is becoming liberated, unbeknown to himself.”
Along with his character Green has also had career growth, or perhaps change. “I’ve had the young parts, I’ve had the romantic leads and now it’s dads, and it’ll be grandads soon. But as long as I keep fit, I can still maintain the dad roles for another few years!”
BBC UKTV – Wednesdays from 15 May, 8.30pm