REVIEW: Grantchester season two return all ab and no fab
Grantchester returned for its second season last night with an Aidan Turner-esque Poldark turn, as man of the moment James Norton (A.K.A Reverend Sidney Chambers) took his shirt off for a dip in the stream. Not to be left out, Norton’s rather more senior sidekick Robson Green (playing DI Geordie Keating) braved the inevitable comparison by doing the same.
Undoubtedly to ITV’s delight, this Mr Darcy-inspired scene received generous attention from the press in the run-up to last night’s episode. By now it would seem that the baring of torsos is a failsafe way of whipping up an audience frenzy and elevating leading men to heartthrob status; not to mention garnering those all important column inches. Nevertheless, the plentiful pecs didn’t make up for what was an ultimately disappointing introduction to season two of Grantchester.
The episode’s premise was an incredibly dark one, as our beloved crime-solving vicar was accused of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl, Abigail, by her anguished father (Neil Morrissey). The father claimed to have found entries in his daughter’s diary which detailed the duo’s rendezvous in a hotel room; the girl was missing at this point, as was the diary.
Sidney was promptly taken into the police station for questioning, all the while maintaining that the whole thing was a lie fabricated by Abigail. With the help of his detective pal Geordie, they set out to prove his innocence. As news of the accusation against Sidney became known, he was visited by an old friend and fellow vicar, Sam, from another parish.
In spite of the shock tactics of putting the show’s hero in handcuffs, the episode was stodgy, lifeless and not very engaging, as the plot was a rehash of a tale told many times before. It turned out that Abigail was mature beyond her 15 years, and had allowed a school photographer to take inappropriate pictures of her in the hope of bringing her fame… When her body was found in the photographer’s makeshift studio in the village, Geordie lost no time in tracking the photographer down.
I must confess that by this point I didn’t really care whodunnit, as everyone on screen just seemed to be going through the motions to crack the case. The premise of the plot was hackneyed and pedestrian, and as such not terribly interesting.
We hope that the writers have some clever, original cases for the duo to solve in future episodes to capture the audience’s attention, instead of relying on the blatant use of bare torsos.
Grantchester continues next Wednesday at 9pm on ITV.