‘Geordie’s trying to help Sidney in a time of crisis,’ says Robson Green. ‘Sidney has this terrible dichotomy between loyalty to the church and loyalty to the love of his life. Geordie’s trying to say, “Sidney, whatever you do, whatever decision you make, it’ll be the right one because you’re a good man.”
‘I say to him, “You believe in God and the virgin birth but you still don’t believe you’re a good enough man to actually be a father, to care for children.” It’s interesting, he has all the clever words for other people but not for himself.
'And Geordie puts that in layman’s terms for him. The uniqueness of their relationship, the unspoken love, is there. In Grantchester we all revolve around Sidney. If he’s lost we’re all lost, so we all have to keep him buoyant.’
James obviously greatly enjoys playing Sidney and relishes the fact that the viewers have taken to him. ‘It’s lovely – I think the reason people love him is because he’s flawed.
'I don’t think people generally like characters who are too worthy or too cheesy. People love to see themselves in characters.
'It reassures them when they see mistakes being made by people like Sidney. It reassures me when I see Sidney messing up! No one’s perfect, no one gets it right.’
He seems to be getting it right at the moment. After his brooding performance as Prince Andrei in BBC1’s sumptuous War And Peace in January, and a second series playing shaven-headed psychopath Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley, Hollywood was bound to come calling for James.
He’s just finished his first big film, a remake of the 1990 psychological horror movie Flatliners which starred Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland.
James plays trainee doctor Jamie, one of five medical students who attempt to find out what lies beyond death by conducting clandestine experiments that produce near-death experiences. ‘I came home feeling really excited that I hadn’t died,’ he jokes.
‘I don’t think it’s any secret that I was a bit apprehensive about the Hollywood thing. I like life in London because it’s a world I know.
'But I met so many people out there and there are so many opportunities I really enjoyed it. I’m happy to go to LA for work, but I like being at home too with my family and friends.
'So I’ll go back and forth if need be – I’d be a fool not to take up that opportunity. There’s so much great work over there and I’d love to get my teeth into a big villain role.’
It’s little wonder that he’s up there with the likes of Aidan Turner and Tom Hiddleston in the heart-throb stakes. How does he cope with it all?
‘I try not to think about it,’ he says, breaking into another wide grin. ‘You can’t really pay any attention to it, and you have to be careful about taking it too seriously.
'We see it a lot in my industry, people who start to believe the hype. It can be lovely, but at times it’s weird. It’s very flattering but it isn’t real.
‘What’s wonderful about coming into acting a little bit later is having family and friends from different walks of life who have no idea about this industry.
'It’s a real leveller to go home and see my grandmother or my friends from university, who just laugh at me.
'They know me as just me. I think the risk is, when you start Googling yourself and reading those articles and believing them, then you’re in dangerous territory.’
A cold case for Sidney in the snow: The killing of a bridegroom leads Chambers and Keating back to an unsolved murder in Grantchester's Christmas special.
nITV drama Grantchester returns for a frosty festive special of Grantchester.
n Geordie and Sidney unravel what’s happened to the missing bridegroom
nSidney faces dilemma as he juggles his love life with his faith in God.
In January he goes straight into filming another BBC1 thriller called McMafia, loosely based on the book by Misha Glenny about modern-day organised crime and Russian gangsters, and of course there’s the third series of Grantchester to complete which is due to air next summer.
He says it’s lovely returning to Cambridge, where he studied theology at Fitzwilliam College. ‘I still have really wonderful nostalgic memories of Cambridge. You know, wandering down to town on Sunday with a horrible hangover from nights at The Green Man pub.’
As a sideline while he was studying he used to sell vintage clothing, so another appeal of Grantchester for James is the 1950s costumes and music. ‘I get to go dancing and wear lots of jazzy clothes,’ he says.
‘I love it. I used to go to a Monday night rock’n’roll class for about a year. I got really into it. But if I were to choose a special night out, a Swing night would be top of my list.’
It’s this down-to-earth attitude that keeps James’s feet on the ground, and he credits much of it to his parents, who were both lecturers. ‘They’re the perfect antidote,’ he says.
‘They’re really supportive, but they’ve never been pushy.’ He’s now looking forward to spending Christmas with his family in Yorkshire, where he’ll take his 93-year-old grandmother to church.
‘She came to the set the other day,’ he says. ‘She’s been twice and each time, at the end of one of the takes, Robson turns to the camera while my granny’s at the monitor and jokes, “I know who did it!”, implying it was her.
‘Christmas is lovely. I think I’m a Christmas cheer person. We watch TV and a Boxing Day film and play lots of games involving hats.
'Depending on how drunk everyone is, we play charades and a game called ‘mafia’, a murder mystery type of thing but it’s all about lying and deception.
'Because I’m an actor everyone assumes I’ll be good at it, but somehow I always get killed first.’
‘Of course, in the 1950s it wasn’t easy for someone to be pregnant without a husband,’ explains James.
‘Amanda can’t live with Sidney, he’s a vicar, but she’s got nobody else to turn to because everybody pushes her away. It’s so taboo.
'There’s a huge conflict because if Amanda does leave her husband permanently, and divorces him, she can’t marry a vicar. So for Sidney it’s this massive question: does he choose his faith in God, or does he choose the woman he loves?
‘That’s the thing with Grantchester, it’s never too dark but it’s never too sugary. Sidney’s conflicted and it’s a huge struggle for him, and because it’s Christmas he wants to do what he always does at this time of year, which is to shut himself away with a bottle of whisky.
'But this is Grantchester so the warmth always comes through. It’s a classic love story, really, and hopefully it’ll leave the viewers feeling elated. But there’s also that slightly dark side to it.’
It’s by no means a happy Christmas for Amanda. ‘She finds herself in a very difficult position of having nowhere to go,’ says Morven Christie.
‘It’s 1954, wives don’t leave their husbands, particularly when they’re pregnant. There’s a lot of judgement from people in the village and she’s been disowned by her family.
'So there are financial issues too. She just becomes lost. Sidney is there, but how do you make that relationship work in those circumstances? They’re pretty extreme. She still feels strongly for him, so they’re both trapped.
‘But she’s committed to the choice she’s made. I think she’s very honest in that way. She doesn’t change her mind even though the circumstances are difficult. She tries to stick with it.’
Her desperation and doggedness are shown in one scene where we see her struggling across a meadow heavily pregnant. But what will happen when the baby arrives?
Unsurprisingly Geordie becomes a shoulder for Sidney to lean on as he deals with this emotional turmoil.
“There’s lots of warmth and you’ll leave feeling elated, but there’s also that slightly dark, twisted side, which is what makes the show so great.”
“All this murder-mystery stuff isn't the real point of Grantchester.”
Seasonal cheer undermined by murder and emotional turmoil
Christmas at the vicarage, 1954 style
Cambridge 1954, and Christmas was coming, which meant carol singing, mince pies and an unnecessarily conceptual nativity play. But murder was also on the menu, and once again handsome, jazz-loving vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) was about to prove himself a more imaginative crime-fighter than his buddy Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green).
Our victim on this occasion was a banker, Bill Davis, a widower about to marry his platinum blonde girlfriend Linda (Maimie McCoy) and then leave gloomy Fifties Britain for a romantic honeymoon cruise under sunnier skies.
In doing so, he was defying the angry opposition of his son Felix, who made it plain that he considered nightclub dancer Linda little more than a scheming gold-digger.
But Linda was left waiting at the altar, as indeed was Sidney, who was about to conduct the service. Bill hadn’t been able to make it because he’d been battered and strangled to death at his ransacked office the night before, with the macabre detail of a couple of wedding rings shoved into his mouth.
Suspicion promptly fell on elderly shopkeeper Albert Tannen (Julian Glover), who’d been the police’s favourite suspect for the remarkably similar earlier murder of his daughter’s fiance, a certain Charlie Parsons.
The cops hadn’t been able to make it stick then, but some convenient circumstantial evidence this time around made it look as if Albert might be due for the long drop.
But all this murder-mystery stuff isn’t the real point of Grantchester, even though it’s handy for giving a shape to an episode. It’s really an off-kilter buddy story, where Keating’s blunt, pragmatic attitude to his work (he can’t see what’s wrong with a spot of brute force or massaged evidence) is complemented by Chambers’s more cerebral, empathetic approach. Mind (or spirit) versus matter, if you will.
The so-called “long arc” story in Grantchester is Sidney’s seemingly impossible love for Amanda (Morven Christie), who has not only been pregnant with another man’s child, but has to contend with the tight-lipped hostility of her martinet father Edward, who’s all set to disown his daughter.
Pip Torrens played Edward with deep-frozen ruthlessness and it was truly intimidating to behold. Even Anna Chancellor’s resourceful Aunt Cece is having trouble working out a way to outflank him.
Norton and Green might have looked like a far-fetched pairing at first glance, but they strike a nice balance. Sidney’s emotional plight has been driving him to smoke more cigarettes and drink more whisky than one might expect of a demure clergyman, and there was a beautifully-played scene where Geordie, waving a bottle, joined him in the snow outside the vicarage while Amanda was giving birth indoors.
Geordie’s sympathetic support and off-the-cuff relationship counselling to the crestfallen cleric explained a lot about how their relationship works.
Threading through the narrative was comic relief from vicarage housekeeper Mrs Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones), while gay vicar Leonard (Al Weaver) confounded the local congregation by berserkly turning the kids’ nativity play into a Brechtian political tract.
As for the murder puzzle, they solved it of course, thanks to a sudden intuitive leap from Sidney (the clue was in the killer's hair). But it was a doddle compared to sorting out his love life.
“The Christmas special was a joy, beautifully written, has all the ingredients for the event, and I defy anyone not to cry in the places where you’re meant to cry, laugh where you’re meant to laugh, it’s a joy. This is my happy place, sometimes you just do a job for fun.”
“Viewers can expect to shed a tear in the emotional festive episode. It’s a real televisual event, I defy anyone not to cry, laugh and feel joyful as they watch.”
No sign of a silent night for Sidney and Amanda in Grantchester's Christmas Special
The vicar and his off-limits love are a little less Matthew and Mary and a little more Mary and Joseph
“How is it going to work?” That’s the question everyone’s left asking by the time the curtain falls on the Grantchester Christmas Special.
It’s been a long and winding road for Sidney Chambers (James Norton) and his beloved Amanda (Morven Christie) who are little less Mary and Matthew and a little more Mary and Joseph as the snow begins to fall in 1954.
Amanda has fled from husband, Guy, and is living with her charismatic Aunt Cece (Anna Chancellor). Cece is particularly enamoured with her niece's vicar pal's shoulders, and can't help but offer him "ice and slice" in his G&T when things get a tad heated around the Christmas tree.
Life seems sweet for the runaway bride, that is until daddy Kendall (Pip Torrens) pops by to threaten Cece and cut his daughter off from the family. Amanda’s festive cheer swiftly disappears and Sid’s loyalty to her – and the baby – is really put to the test.
Heavily pregnant with nowhere to go, all hope seems lost for her. That is until she discovers the only inn with any room for an expectant mother is her darling commitment-phobic Sidney's house.
A Christmas mystery
Chambers doesn't have to think about Amanda's problems too deeply, though, as there's never a silent night in Grantchester and it's not long before there's a murder to distract him. The latest case is a particularly sinister one, bearing the echoes of a crime Geordie and local plod failed to solve almost a decade previous.
When a banker is found murdered on the morning of his wedding with the rings lodged in his throat, all signs point to toy shop owner Albert Tannen (Julian Glover), who was thought to have murdered his soon-to-be son-in-law on his own wedding day. The accusations left their mark on Tannen and his family, and now the old man is a cynical and twisted character who strikes fear into the hearts of the children he makes toys for.
Of course he’s far too obvious a suspect, so the finger of suspicion points to the murdered man’s son (Enzo Cilenti) and seedy sinister club owner Larry Simpkins (yes, that is Terrence Maynard aka Tony from Coronation Street) before finally falling on a suspect who’d been ruled out early on: the bride herself, Linda Morgan (The Musketeers’ Maimie McCoy).
It turns out she's the black widow type, who tends to murder the men she's about to marry on the day of their intended nuptials.
And she would have gotten away with it this time too, if Sidney hadn’t downed every bottle in his liquor cabinet while listening to Amanda screaming her way through labour.
Who knew whiskey and a wailing woman in childbirth could help catch a criminal?
Speaking of childbirth, what is a womb?
Amid lovers angst and murder most foul, Geordie’s darling daughter Esme (played by Bad Girls star Simone Lahbib's daughter, Skye Degruttola) lightens the mood by asking her mum and dad about the facts of life.
Poor old Geordie and Cathy don’t know what to say to their daughter, and ultimately end up spinning a yarn that has Esme convinced a womb is an accessory like a handbag.
Needless to say, Mrs Maguire isn’t impressed when the young lass loudly compliments hers.
Meanwhile Leonard (a brilliant Al Weaver on top form) is attempting to instil a love for the arts and theatre in a group of nativity play nippers who are more concerned about nipping to the loo mid-rehearsal.
The show MUST go on, darling. And our Leonard's the man who'll make sure it does, while also proving himself to be Grantchester's answer to Call The Midwife.
How is it going to work between Sidney and Amanda?
That’s the question that almost every single character asks our Sid at some point in the 90-minute Christmas caper, and it’s a very good one indeed.
The man of God can barely cope with the thoughts of taking on an other half, let alone another man’s baby, and needs to down the contents of several bottles of whiskey to even be able to admit that.
But when he finally meets the child, and introduces the baby to his beloved jazz, we get a hint that there might just be light at the end of the tunnel – until Guy eventually shows up in series three, that is.
After all, Amanda’s darling daddy has pointed out that her husband would take her back. Now that she’s given birth to his child he’s sure to come calling - even if we've not had any confirmation that he will yet.
The one thing the duo do have now , though, is a solid support network. Geordie’s onside. Leonard’s onside. And even the formerly frost Mrs Maguire seems to have thawed.
As the camera pans out we’re left with just two questions.
How on earth is it going to work between the man of faith and the woman who’s fled from her husband in series three? And can that baby actually breathe while his mum and surrogate dad are engaging in some feverish festive snogging?
Robson Green knows how to make a point. “Last year was pretty dark, Christmas was like: ‘F*** you! Humbug!’ But it was what it was – I was homeless.”
The Northumberland actor’s house was severely damaged by Storm Abigail last December, and he was only able to move back in two weeks ago.
This year, not only will he be home, finally, but things are looking distinctly less humbug thanks to the first Grantchester Christmas special.
Based on The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie, the ITV series sees Green play cantankerous Detective Inspector Geordie Keating, opposite actor James Norton’s chiselled, yet troubled, Anglican vicar, Sidney Chambers.
The special, which sees 1950s Cambridgeshire heavily frosted with snow, fills the gap between series two and series three, the latter of which is currently being filmed and due to air next year.
“The Christmas special was a joy,” says Green, 51. “Beautifully written by Daisy [Coulam], it has all the ingredients for the event, and I defy anyone not to cry in the places where you’re meant to cry, and laugh where you’re meant to laugh, it’s a joy, and James is on fine form.”
There is a murder too, of course; a groom goes missing, only to be discovered dead with the wedding rings wedged in his mouth, reminding Geordie of an unsolved murder from almost a decade ago.
But Norton also promises “snow, carols, turkeys, some dodgy Christmas jumpers, more snow, a little heartbreak and a lot of Christmas cheer!”
Series two ended with a very pregnant Amanda – Sidney’s forbidden love interest – leaving her husband and turning to the vicar for support, so it’s no surprise that the heart of the Christmas episode is still a will-they-won’t-they romantic struggle.
“They’re going to do their best, but it’s a really complex situation,” says actress Morven Christie, 35, who plays Amanda. “Given that it’s 1955, divorce isn’t particularly straightforward...” – especially as vicars were not permitted to marry divorcees.
“They’re like magnets, they attract and repel,” says Christie of the love-struck pair. “For Amanda, he’s something around which she orbits, so she can’t ever quite let go because he’s the love of her life, her soulmate, but also her best friend on a day-to-day practical level.”
“It’s typically confusing and complicated,” agrees Norton.
He explains how it’s gradually building towards a point where Sidney must choose between “his faith, his duty to the church, and his love for Amanda”.
“It’s a happy kind of an ending in one sense, but it’s also a, ‘What now?’”
The comedic elements are set to come largely from Sidney’s naive curate Leonard Finch, played by gangly Al Weaver, 35.
“So Amanda’s heavily pregnant and what am I doing? I bugger something up – that’s it, the nativity!” he says with a laugh.
“Originally in the script it was like, ‘Sidney? He gets to do everything! He won’t let me do anything!’ [Then Sidney goes] ‘Oh, have the nativity, Jesus, have it,’ – which is weird because Leonard really isn’t good with kids.
“But he’s got this vision, and he’s been reading lots of Brecht, so he attempts to put on a Brechtian-style nativity – with a bunch of four-year-olds.”
Weaver explains the finished result is an “absolute disaster and it’s just me running ‘round like a headless chicken” –which is something to look forward to.
While Weaver just about managed to keep control of his gaggle of child co-stars and slip nine of his family members into the midnight mass scene, he found dealing with the drifts of fake snow far less enjoyable.
“Fake snow and green screens – it sounds more exotic than it is, it’s like burnt stuff which smells of fire and it gets in your nose and your eyes,” he laments ruefully.
The cast and crew had been planning to watch the Christmas special together, but star of the show James Norton admits he has no intention of watching himself onscreen.
“We’ll get very, very drunk and watch it – and hopefully, by the time it starts, we’ll all be asleep, haha!”
The Grantchester Christmas Special, STV, tomorrow at 9pm.
Robson Green: Murder, baby and snow add up to perfect Grantchester
Robson Green said it was a pleasure to be working on Grantchester
A wedding day murder, a Christmas baby and a snowy landscape add up to the perfect festive Grantchester visit, according to the programme's stars.
The 1950s-set drama airs tonight and Robson Green, who stars as Detective Inspector Geordie Keating, has promised that it will be ideal viewing for curling up on the sofa ahead of the festivities.
He said: "The Christmas special was a joy, beautifully written, has all the ingredients for the event, and I defy anyone not to cry in the places where you're meant to cry, laugh where you're meant to laugh, it's a joy.
"This is my happy place, sometimes you just do a job for fun."
The episode features Geordie and clergyman sidekick Sidney Chambers (James Norton) investigating the disappearance of a groom on his big day, who later turns up dead with the wedding rings in his mouth.
Meanwhile, during the snowy lead up to Christmas, Sidney is trying and failing to save pregnant Amanda Hopkins (Morven Christie) from the ire of her father - but will the baby arrive before he can help her?
Robson Green on Grantchester Christmas Special: It was a joy to film
James Norton and Robson Green return for a special episode of Grantchester. And it’s a real festive treat, they tell Saturday.
Asked what is in store for the first Grantchester Christmas Special and actor James Norton declares: “Snow, carols, turkeys, some dodgy Christmas jumpers, more snow, a little heartbreak and a lot of Christmas cheer.”
His co-star, Robson Green, who plays Detective Inspector Geordie Keene to James’ Reverend Sidney Chambers, adds: “It was a joy to film, with a beautiful script and all the ingredients for a big TV event. I defy anyone not to cry in places where you’re meant to cry and not to laugh where you’re meant to laugh.”
The 90-minute drama opens in 1954 and finds Sidney so busy he doesn’t have much time to dwell on his relationship with Amanda (Morven Christie), his pregnant, married lover – until she goes into labour.
For Morven, it was pretty tough filming a birth sequence that starts in the meadows and ends in the vicarage. “You spend a lot of hours making big noises,” she says.
“It is really sad and then funny and then moving and then just really heartwarming.” It was also shot out of sequence over a period of time. “So I had my first contraction at the end,” the actress laughs.
This being Grantchester, there is also a murder to be solved – namely that of a bridegroom who is found dead with the wedding rings crammed into his mouth.
But there’s comedy, too, when curate Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is given the task of organising the annual nativity play.
“He really messes it up,” admits Al. “It’s an absolute disaster, with Leonard running around like a headless chicken. He isn’t good with kids and he’s been reading lots of Brecht,” adds the actor, referring to radical 20th-century German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht. “So he attempts to put on a Brechtian-style nativity with a bunch of four year olds.”
His young co-stars were a bit of a handful, “fighting and really going for it” as stern housekeeper Mrs McGuire (Tessa Peake-Jones) witnessed the shambles from the sidelines. “Leonard takes it to an extreme as only Leonard can,” smiles Tessa.
The actress believes fans will be both chilled and moved by the Christmas special. “It’s got a murder and you need a few of those, but it’s also got snow – and Dickens.”
In this instance, Dickens refers to the show’s black Labrador, which has grown from a puppy into a big dog.
“He’s full-grown now and very much the star of the show,” she says. “He comes in and knows exactly what to do. You used to have to shovel him lots of sausages to get him to do anything, but now he’s really chilled out.
“There’s a scene where he’s sitting on a sofa in the vicarage where everyone is playing Christmassy games and he sat right in the middle just watching – with nobody slipping him sausages – like a real pro.”
The only hitch was that Grantchester was filmed in an unseasonably warm October so two specialist snow machines had to be brought in to produce mounds of the white stuff.
“It felt very odd to feel so festive, but the snow machine was definitely a hit. I want one for Christmas,” says James. But Robson, who has become great friends with James both on and off set, wasn’t so convinced.
“Filming with snow machines in the centre of Cambridge and Grantchester is a lot more fun for the people watching than those actually working with it,” he explains. “But of course it provides a stunning backdrop and spectacle for this life-affirming Christmas story.”
When the actors are asked about their festive memories, Scottish-born Morven recalls: “Mince pies heating on top of the wood-burner, in a cottage on the Isle of Skye”.
For Robson it was the year he received a bright orange Chopper bike. He was seven years old and couldn’t ride it until stabilisers had been fitted.
“Then I hit the road like Newcastle’s answer to Barry Sheene [motorbike racer]. I loved that bike,” he adds, “though how Santa ever got it down our chimney remains a mystery to this day.”
The bike may have been his best Christmas present, but the worst was a set of left-handed golf clubs from his dad a few years ago – the problem being that he is right-handed. James trumps him, though, with the washing-up brush he found in his stocking last year.
The cast and crew are currently filming the third series of Grantchester, which will be arriving back on our screens in the New Year, and have been working hard right up to Christmas.
They were on-set when Robson turned 52 on December 18, although James is keeping quiet about what they gave him for his birthday.
Then it’s home to their respective families for Christmas, with Morven painting an especially idyllic image of “family, friends, food, fires, films and big Scottish walks.”
At first sight the picture-postcard Cambridgeshire village of Grant- chester, with snow falling over the ancient church and rows of pretty thatched cottages, couldn’t look more charming.
But it soon becomes apparent that all is not as festively tranquil as it seems. Standing in the church doorway is a tearful young bride dressed in her wedding gown, being consoled by local vicar Sidney Chambers. For reasons unknown, the man she was to marry hasn’t shown up.
So begins the first ever Christmas special of ITV’s hit series, in which Sidney, played by War And Peace’s James Norton, enjoys a sideline in sleuthing with no-nonsense Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green), tackling dastardly deeds in bucolic 1950s Britain.
The show, based on the Grantchester Mysteries series of novels by James Runcie, the son of former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, has proved a huge hit since it first aired in 2014, with the unlikely partnership between gruff Geordie and complex but intuitive Sidney at the heart of it.
It’s much more than just a whodunnit show, though. Sidney saw service during the war and his experiences have left him traumatised to the point where he has flashbacks and self-medicates with alcohol to dull the pain.
He’s a jazz-lover too, with an eye for the ladies, but the course of true love runs anything but smoothly for him.
His beautiful, upper-crust on-off girlfriend Amanda Kendall, played by Morven Christie, has married another man, and he was led a merry dance by feisty police secretary Margaret in series two earlier this year.
Add to all this the pretty backdrop of the real village of Grantchester and the nostalgic 1950s feel and you’ve got a show that ticks all the perfect period drama boxes.
Now it’s Christmas 1954, and when Geordie and Sidney set about unravelling what’s happened to the missing bridegroom, what they discover is truly alarming.
They find him murdered, with the wedding rings stuffed into his mouth, and Geordie is particularly horrified as it bears all the hallmarks of an unsolved killing nine years previously.
The prime suspect back then was local toy shop owner Albert Tannen, played by Julian Glover, and while nothing was ever proved, malicious gossip has turned him into a pariah.
Sidney and Geordie join forces again to hunt for the killer – hoping to bring justice to two women mourning their lost loves.
As realistic as it looks, the snow falling over the actors is fake as the show is actually being filmed in October.
‘I have to admit for the first few days I was resisting it being Christmas,’ says James relaxing between scenes, still sporting his black suit and dog collar.
‘I was thinking, “This is weird, it’s mid-October.” Then we were in the vicarage eating turkey and pulling crackers, the snow machines started and we had a chorister from King’s College Cambridge come and sing carols in the church for one of the scenes.
'The whole church was full of candles and it was a beautiful Christmas service – so I gave up resisting and started to feel festive. Now I’m ready for the real thing.’
As well as trying to track down what might turn out to be a double murderer, Sidney’s still struggling with his personal life.
His relationship with Amanda took quite a turn in the last series after she got married, but Sidney still has strong feelings for her, and now she’s left her husband and is heavily pregnant.