BBC One commissions second series of acclaimed Sunday night drama The Village

  • @matildbattersby

Its plotlines might go from bad to worse, veering from animal mutilation and suicide to medical manipulation, familial strife and the ravages of The Great War, but BBC One is set to return Peter Moffat’s acclaimed Sunday night drama to our screens.

The Village, which stars Maxine Peake and John Simm, will return for a second series consisting of six further episodes next year. The first series of the drama, which charts the life and turbulent times of one English village in early 20 century England, centred primarily on the Middleton family, concludes this week.

Last night's episode was watched by nearly 5 million people, down from the 6.4 million viewers its opening episode commanded.

Series 2 is part of an ambitious project to chart the history of the 20th century by how it affects one English village which creator and writer Moffat said he believes no broadcaster other than the BBC “would have the confidence” to commission.

Moffat said he is looking forward to bringing his characters “away from the horror of war and into the roaring Twenties”, adding: “Boom and bust, the Charleston and the Black Bottom, motor cars, extreme politics, fish and chips, jazz, bananas, cinema, the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the middle classes - the outside world comes to the village, bringing with it the big drama that change always generates.

The series has been lauded by the critics for being an intelligent Sunday night drama, despite the unrelenting misery of its subject-matter. The Independent critic Tom Sutcliffe described it as “precisely what you always hope television will be – serious, beautifully austere, and grandly ambitious. It might make you giggle from time to time, with its exhaustive inventory of the miseries of early-20th-century life, but then you find yourself gripped by its willingness to let a scene run.”