Al Weaver is back as Leonard Finch as Grantchester returns for a seventh season.
Based on the novels by James Runcie, ITV’s popular ’50s crime drama series has been running since 2014.
Six brand new episodes of Grantchester are airing on Friday nights in the UK, set during the long hot summer of 1959.
Weaver is joined once again by Robson Green as DI Geordie Keating, Tom Brittney as Will Davenport, Tessa Peake-Jones as Mrs C, Kacey Ainsworth as Cathy Keating, Oliver Dimsdale as Daniel Marlowe, Nick Brimble as Jack Chapman, Melissa Johns as Miss Scott, and Bradley Hall as Larry Peters.
Season 7 will premiere in the US later this year on PBS.
Watch the trailer:
With the new season launching on ITV tonight, here’s a fun chat with Al Weaver about what to look forward to in this year’s episodes:
Where do we find Leonard at the beginning of Season 7? Does Leonard have a slightly less dramatic story arc this series?
“It couldn’t get any more dramatic than prison could it? Leonard is no longer a priest and he’s out of prison and we find him on a new venture.
“Jack and Mrs C have kindly lent him some money to open up a kind of beat, poet cafe in tribute to his heroes of Ginsberg and Kerouac…
“Leonard’s really excited as well as nervous because it’s a new adventure for him, he’s anxious about it but Leonard is always anxious, isn’t he!”
How was the reaction from Grantchester viewers following Leonard’s arrest and imprisonment?
“The reaction from viewers was really touching, they really seemed to get behind Leonard and really felt for him and wanted to show their support. I don’t think viewers ever expected the story to go that way and I’m so glad that it did and that we had the opportunity to explore that and do something really dramatic.
“These were the consequences of being a gay man in the 1950s, the series showed the punishment for something that shouldn’t even have been a crime.
“The reaction was incredible and I’ve never played a character that’s had that resonance over that amount of time with people, thank you to everybody that watched!”
How is Leonard’s relationship with Mrs C?
“Mrs C is being a bit of a busy-body, the cafe is Leonard’s but she thinks it’s hers too, in the classic Mrs C way. She’s putting her nose in and messing with his vision for the cafe, changing the pictures and the interior. Mrs C envisions a classic English tea room whereas Leonard wants to create a haven for poets and to show his love of culture and Mrs C isn’t having any of it! She does eventually see the light because she realises it’s Leonard’s dream and she has to support that and let him be himself.
“When Mrs C reveals what she’s going through in this series, it’s Leonard that she turns to and they have a real mother, son relationship. Leonard becomes her support system and wants to cheer her up, he gives her some honest truths as well. We filmed some really beautiful scenes between the two of them.
“We do see Leonard in crisis this series because he’s lost his purpose but through Mrs C’s illness we witness his passion for caring for people, that’s what he’s good at and what matters to him and this leads him onto a new path by the end of the series.”
Tom directed an episode in this series, is that something you ever wanted to have a go at on Grantchester?
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, it was talked about for series six but I felt the storyline that I had that it would have maybe been too much and I just wanted to concentrate on doing the best job I could with Leonard.
“I think now that that huge storyline has happened for Leonard I think it’s a good time for me to jump in so watch this space!”
Bonnie, played by Charlotte Ritchie, joins this season as Cathy’s niece. What was it like having her in the cast?
“Charlotte is so lovely! She brought a really great energy to the set. The scenes we had together were great to do and she’s such a great actress.
“It’s a tribute to the show that we’re able to have someone of Charlotte’s position in the industry to come and be part of Grantchester, it added a new depth. It’s a great storyline that she and Tom have in this series.”
There are always some really good guest stars in Grantchester. Who would you most like to have as a guest star?
“Could we get Daniel Day-Lewis out of retirement? That would be unexpected if he came to join Grantchester for a series!
“In terms of British actors I think Alison Steadman would be great or Leslie Manville, wonderful character actors who would be great in the world of Grantchester. Or maybe Ray Winstone, I can see him playing a real baddie.”
Grantchester is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.