Robson Green interview: ‘Geordie is lost’ in new season of ‘Grantchester’

Robson Green is back as DI Geordie Keating as Grantchester returns for a seventh season.

Based on the novels by James Runcie, the popular ’50s crime drama series has been running since 2014.

Six brand new episodes of Grantchester are airing on Friday nights on ITV, set during the long hot summer of 1959.

Green is joined once again by Tom Brittney as Will Davenport, Tessa Peake-Jones as Mrs C, Al Weaver as Leonard Finch, 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 lovely chat with Robson Green about what to expect in this year’s episodes:


Where do we find Geordie at the beginning of Season 7?

“Geordie is lost at the beginning of this series, he no longer has the safety net of family. He is detached from Cathy and the kids and he’s living with Will at the Vicarage, also feeling lost there and like a fish out of water. There’s a lot of scope for odd couple behaviour, Tom is definitely Jack Lemmon and Geordie is Walter Matthau.

“The situation Geordie is in lends itself to lots of levity but he is a shadow of his former self. He’s back to square one and almost a bachelor again and realises he has to try and get Cathy back. It’s a very simple tale for Geordie, a long time ago he met the love of his life in Cathy, then he lost her and now he has to try and win her back.

“The one person Geordie seeks advice from, who he shouldn’t seek advice from is Will, there’s a funny irony being played out throughout the series. Geordie is also giving Will relationship advice when his own marriage is falling apart. There’s a lovely line that sums it up for Geordie when he says ‘It’s not the notches on your bed Will but the miles on your clock and you’ve never got out of the driveway.’

“That sets up the dynamic between the two of them. Will is pursuing Maya, which turns out to be problematic. As well as Will putting himself in jeopardy, this could jeopardise Geordie’s life and career.”


How is Geordie’s relationship with Cathy?

“Although they’re separated, Geordie is the eternal optimist! He calls this a ‘blip’ in the relationship which happens to a lot of couples, they go through their ups and downs and they have to be worked at, which is how he sees it.

“Geordie is quite deluded when it comes to his relationship with Cathy, he thinks she’s just going to come back but the more time he spends away from her, the more detached they become and Geordie becomes more of a stranger, not only to Cathy but to their children as well.

“Everything that anchored Geordie and gave him his sense of worth and belonging and his reasons to carry on is disappearing. Geordie’s love for Cathy is as strong as it ever was but she has moved on, she’s liberated and found a new life and new freedom.

“She now has control over her own life which used to be dictated to by Geordie’s work and by Geordie himself, to a certain extent, and Cathy is enjoying all of these changes and this evolution.

“Geordie not only loses a sense of family and Cathy but also a sense of himself. This is recognised by Will and Bonnie and everyone else around him and they are all trying to get Geordie and Cathy back together but they themselves are the only ones that can do this.”


What are the themes that are explored in this series?

“I think the question of ‘what true love is’ is explored in this series. It also looks at secrets and lies, those who not only harbour corrosive secrets that have occurred in their past but secrets about what is currently happening in their life.

“That situation that occurs with Mrs C which really pulls the rug from everyone’s feet because they’re such a close knit family who depend on one another and if one of them becomes detached, the rest start to fall apart.

“The notion that Mrs C keeps her secret from everyone is such a shock but it is what people of that era did, the kind of illness that Mrs C is going through was almost thought of as taboo, the extent of these secrets and lies is varied.

“It’s unlike today where people are a lot more vocal about their feelings, whether it’s confiding in a friend or talking about it via social media, it’s out there and I think it’s a healthy thing.

“Another theme that’s found in this series is that speaking the truth will always set you free.

“This is true of Mrs C and Geordie also gives this advice to Will. Geordie also takes his own advice and he doesn’t bury the corrosive feelings he’s been having, which also sets Geordie free in the end.”


Tom Brittney directed an episode in this series, what was that experience like?

“Tom did a fantastic job and that wasn’t a surprise! Knowing Tom as well as I do, he’s passionate about film making, he understands how to turn something on paper into a very engaging piece of visual grammar, which is one of the big tasks that a director has in front of them.

“Tom is confident in himself and his ability and that resonates when he is behind the camera as well as in front.

“A director has to have confidence and that will bleed onto the set. If a director is insecure or shies away from issues on set that isn’t a nice place to be. Tom is such a likeable person, he understands his abilities as well as his limitations and is very honest about it so that whole package of the person that he is just resonated on the set, it was a very happy place to be as Grantchester always is.

“Tom has learnt from some of the best be it Rob Evans, Tim Fywel, Katherine Churcher, Christiana Ebohon-Green and he had a great safety net of an incredible team around him including the cast who trust him implicitly. I was mucking about on the first day and he told me ‘Robson, you’re ruining my movie!’ It was a lot of fun!

“On Grantchester we strive to push the envelope and try new things and we don’t rest on our laurels as actors, writers or as a team, we’re always making the series better. Tom took the success of series six on board and wanted to make this series even better, more edgy and give it a unique flavour that made the episode that he directed stand out but still in keeping with the DNA of all things Grantchester.”


Would you be interested in directing or writing any of the episodes for Grantchester?

“I have directed and written for various projects in the past but I’m more interested in investing in projects now and producing projects. The amount of energy required to direct a TV series is incredible, it’s a 24/seven pursuit and there are other things that I’m now involved in which would sadly get in the way if I was to direct an episode of Grantchester.

“In my view, it’s a young person’s game. I’d love to direct a movie version of Grantchester but I’m happy being an executive producer and giving people new job opportunities under the tutelage of (executive producer) Emma Kingsman Lloyd. You couldn’t ask for a better teacher in terms of how to make a quality programme that’s going to sell around the world.

“My energies are divided into running my film company, producing shows including factual projects, investing in dramas and hopefully soon I’ll be employing other people, cinematographers and directors and giving people a chance to enter this avenue of work and support them going forward in their careers.”


Bonnie, played by Charlotte Ritchie, joins this season as Cathy’s niece. What was it like having her in the cast?

“We continue to get great guests on Grantchester and that’s testament to the writing on the show because people want to be part of this very charming and likeable show that has an undercurrent of something very poignant and layered to it and our peers really recognise that.

“To have actors of the calibre of Charlotte Ritchie in the show is a real acknowledgement of the quality of Grantchester. Charlotte is a big hitter, she’s A-list and she’s a triple threat because she has that lovely ability not only to play serious issues but she can bring levity to them as well, in a very similar way that Al Weaver does.

“No matter how serious a situation Charlotte can bring humour where, on paper, there is none. She brings a really likeable aspect to the arc that Tom is pursuing in terms of true love.”


There are always some really good guest stars in Grantchester. Who would you most like to have as a guest star?

“I’d love to have Billy Connolly! I’m also a huge fan of Ben Crompton as well as James Murray, I’m a big fan of his work.

“There are so many great actors, Rakie Ayola, I think she would be great and Jerome Flynn, he would be great to have in Grantchester, he’s a fantastic actor!”


You and Tom are both pretty musical, have you ever suggested a Grantchester storyline where you could show that off?

“Yes! Al Weaver is musical as well, he is a brilliant guitarist and a beautiful singer. Tom is a brilliant guitarist and harmonica player and I play the guitar and I’ve sung a bit!

“I suggested that there is an off the cuff musical interlude but Emma (Kingsman-Lloyd) didn’t entertain the idea but I’ll continue to pursue it!”


Not many shows continue to run for seven seasons, what do you think the secret is to Grantchester’s popularity?

“It deals with serious subject matter in a very charming and likeable way. It’s the writing and the viewers care about each character and I feel everyone involved in Grantchester, in front of and behind the camera, is at the top of their game.”


Do you prefer acting for TV or reality TV, like working on your fishing programmes?

“There has been a lot of investment in the North-East, which really excited me. We have a commissioning editor based here for the first time which is revolutionary. It gives small independent companies like mine, hope to get something produced in this area, using people from the area that can be shown nationally and internationally.

“I’m in a very privileged position where I like both acting and working on factual programmes, I wouldn’t like to do just one of them all the time.

“I like that one minute I’m playing a detective and the next I’m doing the fishing show with my mate Jim Murray. I’m in pre-production of a new fishing show for ITV at the moment and I’m really enjoying that!”


Grantchester is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.