First the good news for Grantchester fans: The ITV & PBS series has been renewed for Season 4. Now the rotten news: They will be the final episodes with star James Norton as the jazz-loving, crime-solving vicar Sidney Chambers as the actor segues to the BBC-AMC drama McMafia.
Norton, whose name has been bandied about as the next James Bond, will return to the Masterpiece series alongside Robson Green, who co-stars as his partner-in-crimefighting Detective Geordie Keating. Al Weaver, Tessa Peake-Jones and Kacey Ainsworth also star. Production begins in June in London for a 2019 premiere.
But Norton’s exit won’t signal the end of the series set in the 1950s in the English hamlet of Grantchester.
“It’s a bittersweet time for Grantchester fans, who will be cheering the return of the series but crushed to say goodbye to James,” said Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton at WGBH Boston. “We want to assure them that the series they love will continue — with brilliant new episodes and a captivating new vicar.”
Season 3 saw Sidney (Norton) choosing between Amanda (Morven Christie) and the church; Detective Geordie Keating (Green) working to repair his tattered marriage; Mrs. Maguire (Peake-Jones) becoming Mrs. Chapman, and Leonard (Weaver) on the verge of finding love.
“I’m ecstatic that — with Masterpiece and ITV — we are returning to Grantchester with all our favourite characters,” executive producer Diederick Santer. “While I’m sad that these will be James Norton’s final episodes, we will make sure he goes out with a bang. We’ve got exciting plans for where the show is heading and the vicarage won’t be vacant for long.”
Grantchester is a co-production of Kudos and Masterpiece for ITV and is distributed internationally by Endemol Shine International, who have sold the show across 162 countries. The executive producers are Santer, Emma Kingsman-Lloyd, Daisy Coulam and Eaton. Season 4 will be produced by Richard Cookson.