Perhaps Wallander, Taggart and all those other tough, grizzled detectives were once like Sidney Chambers in Grantchester (ITV): young, dumb and full of concern for his community. Although it wasn't concern for his community that motivated Sidney the crime-fighting vicar to get drunk and gatecrash his beloved Amanda's engagement party, was it? That was just the booze.
Last night's series finale opened with Sidney (James Norton) sitting in his study, staring mournfully at a wedding invitation and thinking of what might have been. It's not even like "the rich one", as Geordie so astutely calls Amanda (Morven Christie), is his only option. One of the charms of this series has been how it constructed a whole 1950s Cambridgeshire village, layer upon layer, by adding new characters with each episode and allowing them to stick around next. Those currently concerned for Sidney's welfare included his housekeeper Mrs Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones), German widow Hildegaard (Pheline Roggan) and local brass Annie. And yet, all he could think of was Amanda.
So it was very decent of Sidney's policeman sidekick Geordie (Robson Green) to get himself shot and give us something more interesting to think about. There was a gunman on the loose and with no Geordie to fight his corner, Sidney soon found himself the target of the police force's hostility. "Piss off back to the church" might have been putting it a bit strongly, but it's about time someone questioned his habit of running around pretending to be a detective.
Sidney had been ostracised from one band of brothers, but he remained a bona fide Second World War veteran, with the post-traumatic nightmares to prove it. He finally revealed the incident he'd been repressing all series with an unusually gritty "Saving Private Sidney"-style flashback. Unburdening himself seemed to have a positive effect on Sidney's mood and he was finally able to envisage a future without either the rich one or the glamorous German widow. Something about "stepping out of the shadows" and "holding a steady course"? Luckily, Geordie was on hand to translate: "You're just gonna get on with it. That's all you have to say."Reuse content