‘Grantchester’ producer reveals how they shot Season 6 in Covid lockdowns

Grantchester is back with its most ambitious season yet!

Based on the novels by James Runcie, the popular ’50s crime drama series returns in the UK this week.

The new episodes will then premiere in the US this autumn.

Tom Brittney (Outlander) is reprising his role as clergyman Will Davenport, alongside Robson Green (Soldier Soldier) as DI Geordie Keating.

Watch the Season 6 trailer:


Set in 1958, the sixth season of Grantchester sees trouble brewing for the residents of the Cambridgeshire village – not to mention some significant challenges behind the scenes too!

Here Grantchester producer Richard Cookson explains what it was like filming during the pandemic, and gives some hints about what’s coming up for our favourite characters:

“Working on a period show like Grantchester means you have to do your research and get the historical details right. And if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that they didn’t have the Coronavirus in 1958…

“When we were green lit for a sixth series, back in the early weeks of 2020, the biggest challenge we faced was that ITV and Masterpiece wanted eight episodes rather than six.”

He continued: “And that’s the best type of challenge: make more of that thing you love! But as challenges go, it was nothing compared to what came next. The world went into lockdown, and the idea of getting a big group of people together to film in close proximity – and in small spaces – became utterly unthinkable.

“But as time passed, smart people started thinking about new ways to get back to work. For us that meant the (now) familiar masks, social distancing and hand sanitising, as well as putting the cast and crew into a rigorous testing regime.

“And despite the snow, the swabs and the unexpected national lockdowns, six months later we wrapped with all eight episodes in the can. But truth be told, we had a secret weapon on our side throughout it all…

“If 50 members of the crew can’t see each other smile, then when the actors unmask for filming, you need some pretty big grins to make up the slack, and Robson and Tom are precisely the cheerleaders and comic goofballs we needed (besides being a wonderful pair of actors and true gents.)”

Looking ahead, the producer teased: “So, what can you expect from this series? We begin with a murder at a bustling 1950s holiday camp: Grantchester does Dirty Dancing as Will finds a holiday romance amidst the lovely legs competitions and games of Simon Says.

“And out of this picture-perfect 50s summer holiday spins the terrible thread that weaves through the whole series: Leonard’s homosexuality is placed on trial – literally – when his private life is exposed.

“It rocks Geordie’s faith in the law; it puts Will in the impossible position where telling the truth will doom his friend; it challenges Mrs C’s love for her boy; and it mobilises Cathy’s burgeoning activism. Then, half way through the series, we take a shaken Geordie and pour in more tension when a friend from the war shows up.”

Cookson added: “Hints have been dropped about Geordie’s time as a POW in Burma since series two, so when Johnny (played by the incredible Shaun Dooley) walks back into his life, he doesn’t just stir up old memories – he dredges up an awful guilty secret too…

“It’s not all emotional turmoil this year though – the show’s humour and heart are never far away. Plus there’s a trio of bright and brilliant new characters: no-nonsense Miss Scott (Melissa Johns) joins the police station to bring order to the chaos; troublemaking society girl Tamara (Emily Patrick) crashes recklessly into Will’s life; and eager new clergyman Henry (Ahmed Elhaj) tries to find his place in the world.

“We’re also lucky enough to be joined by a guest cast that includes Rachael Stirling, Andy Nyman, Miles Jupp, Christina Cole, Rebecca Front, Jonathan Aris, Ben Wiggins, Corey Johnson, Tyger Drew-Honey, Paul Bradley, Paul Ryan, Gabrielle Glaister, Michelle Greenidge, Gordon Kennedy and Stuart Bowman to name a few.”

The producer concluded: “I hope that you’ll enjoy these episodes. One thing I’ve learned first hand is that enjoyment runs through the very veins of this show, a trait instilled in it from the first series by Executive Producer Emma Kingsman-Lloyd and Executive Producer and lead writer Daisy Coulam, and carried forward by Robson, Tom, Al, Tessa, Kacey and the rest.

“I think this is why the show is known to a lot of us as our “Happy Place”. And despite the emotional turmoil in the stories this year, and the pandemic turmoil during production, Grantchester thrives – and continues to be that Happy Place for us all.”

Grantchester is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.