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This episode is sponsored by Viking Viking offers an all new Custom-Built Ocean fleet designed to bring the traveler closer to the destination with all veranda staterooms and a short excursion included in every port Viking by river and by sea. Learn more at Viking Cruises Dotcom. I'm Jace Lacob and you're listening to Masterpiece Studio. A shocking revelation brings the bustling village of Grantchester to a halt and shakes Reverend Wil Davenport to his very core.
I'm good. Mind you really believe it. If that boy wants to stand up in court. And savories vile things about me, and that's what is going to have to. But if my word against his. And I don't like his chances. The green and pleasant contemporary Eden of the last few months is lit ablaze after boxing coach Vic Morgan is revealed to be a serial sexual abuser of the young men who train with him. And Will can't help but feel responsible after sending one wayward youth, Matthew Butler, right into Vick's clutches.
When you live with some of the Kim. They approved you. You lose your sense of who you are. It's only about that. They make you feel weak. And lost. Marie. You don't have to feel lost anymore. It's an alarming turn for the Kotsay series, but one with subtle hints sprinkled throughout the entire season, thanks to the depth scripting of creator Daisy Culham and her team of writers.
And how come he's always so bloody cheerful? Vick's victims. Too many punches to the head, if you ask me. Oh, come on, it's going to be better than Borstel hard work, discipline, a chance to make something of themselves. Yeah, tougher criminals.
A regular here on the podcast, Cullum joins us once again for a conversation about false eatons, this season's themes and the upcoming fifth season finale. And this week, we are joined by Grantchester head writer Daisy Gulam. Welcome. Thank you very much. Back again. Back again. Good to have you again. Season four of Grantchester was a season where you reset. James Norton left. Tom Britain came in after that experience. How different was it prepping for season five in terms of story?
Did you know? It sort of cleared the deck, really gave us a chance to breathe and go, OK, we've got a new character. What do we want to put him through? And I think because, well, is such an idealistic character, we decided we wanted to put him through the middle bit and shake his values.
So that was the basis for a series where they gave us quite a good shape and it did, I feel like shake things up creatively overall. I mean, every character had to deal with this departure of the main character. The baton handing was very smooth. It also injected this new sense of vitality to Grantchester. Did you see it as an opportunity to sort of shake things up creatively? Yeah, I'm glad you thought it was smooth, thank you, because it was it was a very hard thing to do, really, because being totally honest, there was part of me that thought if James leaves, does that mean the show ends?
And I think we were lucky to get somebody like Tom. Britney is adorable and passionate and energetic. And he sort of he is what the character is, really. And that really helped us kind of give a fresh energy to the show.
And he was bicycle leathers, you know, he's just he's just modern. And I think that really helped shape the season.
Season five saw the entire cast return intact. Allowing those new relationships time to further develop. Has the genuine rapport between Tom, Britney and Robson Green surprised you?
Not really, because Robson Green is the kindest, most generous actor. And I think he brings out the best in anyone. But I think we were surprised that we managed to find chemistry again between two actors because we always talk about it. It was alchemy with James. The reason I didn't think we'd create again, and yet we did in a slightly different way and a more father son way. So it was just relief to me that it works again.
Relief and excitement. I mean, it's funny you say that because I was going to ask Sydney and Jordy were more of contemporaries, but there is this sort of father son quality baked into the dynamic between Will and Geordie, one that definitely plays itself out this season.
Just what I need is a night of masculine pursuits. Study on Jordan, two men, beer, no talk of women. How is the mother in law school driving around the bend, not only talking about manly things like boxing?
And how did you approach their growing friendship coming into season five? What were the sort of beats you wanted to hit?
It was Will's journey mainly, and Georgie playing into that Georgie seeing that his essentially his son has had his faith in himself and his faith in the world shaken to such an extent that he's in danger of going off the rails. And it's about pulling him back. Georgie is the father will never has. And it's so lovely to see that in place. In a sense, Rabson is a mentor to Tom because Roxanne has been through is had the most amazing career and Tom is about to have the most amazing career.
So it's it's the same dynamic off screen as it is on.
There is one major addition to the Grantchester cast in the form of lowering casts. Ellie Hearting, where did the idea for the character of Ellie come from and how is she different from the love interest we've seen to date on Grantchester?
We wanted somebody to challenge. Will is quite as well as idealistic.
He has he has this sort of very strong belief in right and wrong. And Ellie is a character who I want to deliver his girl Friday kind of Bantry relationship that sort of challenged him a bit and challenged his sense of right and wrong and challenged him sexually.
Let's be honest, that's what it's all about.
Here's a man who's committed to celibacy and you throw an attractive talking girl who isn't going to play by the 1950s rules. And it's kind of a recipe for disaster. But again, we were challenging him, I think, because he is so set in his beliefs, he was good to challenge him. Ellie loves a pint in a fight. She's outspoken and in your face, she's ambitious and smart. What did Lauren bring to the role?
I sat in on the auditions for that, and we all as soon as she left the room, we kind of did a little dance because she was perfect. She's kind of from a working class background she went to. And there's a drama school over here that I've forgotten the name of the working class kids go to that is about being natural and being comfortable with acting and not putting on a performance. And as soon as you did that kind of performance, she she screamed at us and she's just she's just fun.
It's been nice to have a feminine element in the show.
Will's proposal of marriage to Ellie comes out of the blue. It's so misguided and so confused and so tied up in his struggle to remain celibate. It also subverts our own expectations about courtship on television. Where did the idea come from that he would ask her to marry him so early on? I think so John Jackson, who is another writer on the show, who's actually done the most episodes after me, it was his idea, really, because I think will seize the world that way.
He thinks here's a problem. This is how you overcome it. So it's you know, here's a I can't say I love this girl. I can't sleep with her. Let's just get married. And it felt it felt really sort of left field, but also quite right for will that he he can't a problem is always surmountable in his mind.
I mean, the whole idea that will should remain celibate is tangled up in this notion of shame for his past and his dealings with women and his vocation. Without spoiling anything, can we expect that Will might be able to unpack his complicated feelings before the end of the season?
I hope so, yes. I think we can say that he safely does that. So the thing with Will's character is that he's scared of falling. He's scared, falling from grace. He's been there before in his teenage years. He was a rebel who drank too much and had far too many women. And so for him, he's on the straight and narrow. And if he takes one step of that, he's going to keep falling until he's in hell.
And I think what he needs to learn by the end of the series is life is more nuanced than that. There are more ways to live. And shame isn't helpful, really. He needs to shed his shame. Surprisingly, Leonard and Daniel seem truly and genuinely happy this season, which took me by surprise, their initial handshake upon arriving back in Grantchester after the Marrakesh holiday signaled that there might be distance. But that Euro vision party was so charming that we finally sort of get this sense of them as a domestic couple.
What was the concept for the two of them this year? We were determined for them to be happy, actually, because in truth, being a gay couple in the 1950s was hard and just punishable by arrest and imprisonment.
And we wanted to show I mean, there must have been a number of gay couples in the country at that time who were sort of living under the radar. And we wanted to do a story about a couple who can hold hands of America but can't hold hands on the High Street and Grantchester and yet still find they snatched happiness wherever they can. And that's what we wanted. We wanted romance for them and and for Leonard to find joy.
You've been the light in my life. I know that might sound trite. Sounds rather wonderful, actually. You've made all the darkness disappear. And part of that darkness is him, it's. My father. I'm scared to revisit that, I won't let you Grantchester is a show about murders and morality, but it's also show that leans rather deftly into its themes. The concept of Eden and sin looms large this season, as does families, both biological and found, and the changing role of women in the 1950s in crafting the season arc.
Do you start with plot or theme? This year, we started the theme and it came from really looking at the 1957 specifically and seeing what that year was all about and for for that year was a year of optimism and prosperity. And there's Big Mac in power saying Brits have never had it so good. You know, this is they have money, they have jobs. Everything on the surface is perfect. And so that's where we started. It was it was John Jackson actually, who coined the phrase, you know, Grantchester is eat in this series.
But beneath that beautiful veneer, there are a hell of a lot of snakes just waiting to pounce.
We'll get to those snakes in a minute, because I do want to talk about episode five. Before that, Kath's career path continues. This year, she juggles work and home life. Ellie represents a young, upwardly mobile working woman. Ronke Heather and Andrea bemoan the traps that ensnare women. How are the show's female characters straining against expectations this season?
They're all doing exactly that. I think they're all pushing the boundaries. Cathy is a working mother, which is quite unusual and quite she's quite empowered. Ellie is definitely she's in a man's world. She's in a man, an office full of men. And it's she's ambitious. She has to be ambitious because if she's not a man is going to take her job. So they're all pushing even Mrs. Maguire in her own small way is moving into the future.
I think when her relationship with Leonard and Daniel, which you won't see into Episode six, but they're all pushing forward.
They're all finding themselves in this show. And hopefully, will they continue over the because, yeah, next season are pretty much the same. We're going to keep pushing and pushing these women. Mom, Kathy and Diana storyline this season is particularly heartbreaking as Diana's mental illness begins to worsen and we learn about Kathy's childhood, which she has kept secret even from Jordi. Where did the idea for the Diana storyline come from?
It came from Kacey Ainsworth, who had in the past as a child, she had experience with a grandmother who had mental health issues, and she just found it very fascinating looking back at that time, which obviously wasn't the 50s, because much younger than that. But she even then, there was a stigma attached to it. And even then she didn't fully understand until she was much well, and, you know, a grown up she didn't understand until then that this woman had had mental illness and it was brushed under the carpet.
And we just wanted to do something quite different, sort of through through space.
Grantchester always just tries to throw the limelight on modern issues through the prism of this 1950s world. And I found it fascinating looking at the research, how women were. She has her ups and downs. That's it. That's as far as he went. You didn't talk about it beyond that. The scene where Jordie and Cath have to coax Diana into the ambulance was incredibly powerful and it also showed a very different side to Jordi.
I know we just want you to get well, but if I know one thing about the women in your family. It's that they're as tough as diamonds. Now, shall we show the neighbors just how important you are? When did it become clear that this is how the Diana storyline would end? Basically, Jodi has to make amends to Kathy for all the mistakes he's made in the past. And he he does that by making a decision for her, a heartbreaking decision, which is that her mom needs to get help, essentially.
And so it resets Kathy and Jodi. They are never closer than they have been since there is one probably, but they're back together now. So we've reset that relationship. And next series, we'll get to take them in a new direction before this next question, a brief word from our sponsors.
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The strained relationship between parents and adult children is particularly key to the season, Will and Amelia, Katherine, Diana, Leonard and his father next week, and even in the episodic crimes this season, did you plan to mirror these strands or did that come about organically?
We knew that we wanted Leonard for his father to visit when Casey brought us Cathy's story. It all seemed to dovetail. And it is, you know, Will essentially is constantly escaping his father. So even without his father being there, he's on the same journey as the rest of the characters, which is to shed that skin and move on and find himself out of the shadow of his parents, which is and I think there's a particularly nice scene.
I say that myself with with Will's mum, Amelia. And in the last episode where she's pleased he's escaping, she can't escape her legacy, but he can. So it's about yeah, it's about moving on and about putting up with the imperfections and making the best of it.
Those strands are echoed in the relationship between Will and Vic Morgan, who functions as a father's surrogate for Wil until this week's very explosive reveal. Take me through the planning of the VIC reveal how early into planning the season. Did you know what he truly was?
We knew from the start. That was our first story idea that we had. That was the biggest book we had. And we always knew in Episode five that was going to be the reveal. And we wanted to try to sort of tease it through that. In a way, your mind is tricked into thinking maybe this is a story about Will becoming better friends with Vic Jodie. Maybe it's a father figure tussle. And then you realise it's kind of more than that.
And it's about. It's about. Yeah, wills. Wills. Well, just shaken to its core really in that episode. I mean, the season just such a good job of making you trust Vick just as well does I mean, he's kindly he's funny. He seems to care deeply. He's a do gooder in the sort of spirit of, well, how important was it that we come to see Vick, as Will does before you yank the rug out from under our feet?
I think it was really important to us because that's how those men operate. They fool everyone, as Judy says it to. Will these men fool everyone? They hide behind institutions and they hide behind this, in Vick's case, the veneer of his lovely marriage with Marie. He's doing good in the world, but he really is. And and I think for Will to see that somebody has used the church in that way, used charity and goodness as a mask for something so vile.
I mean, a lot of the success of that is down to Ross boatman's, incredible performances. Veck, his character, manages to turn on a dime from this kindly avuncular boxing coach to a depraved sexual predator. How much did Ross know ahead of time about his character's true nature?
We funny enough. So Ross and I had a little chat on the phone. He was eating ice creams, which is an important detail with his kids.
And he said, so I'd written a little page for him. And he said the first paragraph it started off with, as all my characters do, he's an avuncular man. Everyone likes him. He's like, that's what I get all the time. And then paragraph three turned on its head and he said, from four men I knew, I want to do this role. And I because I thought I was phoning him to persuade him to do it.
And actually he's like, no, man. I mean, that's great. And I think what he does so brilliantly, even in Episode five, those scenes where he's being questioned, he still plays as if he's innocent. He's still sort of believes he hasn't done anything wrong, that he that he helps these boys and he, you know, sets them on the right path. I think there's a sort of element of self-delusion there.
Where did you buy the Mr Morgan? Well, it wasn't my message, was it? Why would you buy them for the boys aboard Allsorts car magazines, comics?
What else did you buy them? You're going to try and make my general say you look sinister. What did you expect in return? Nothing. You don't expect them to pay you back? Oh. The case. How could you even think that? And by climbing into bed with her. Is that what Matt said? That is disgusting and disgusting lies. Boy made that up. A convicted criminal. I never agreed with your scheme I thought was a lot about Bollock.
I admired you for standing by those boys. How quick you are to throw them to the wolves. That's what makes him such a monster. Those scenes, I think you're right, I mean, he is still sort of professing his innocence and it's like, well, you know, I just so I help them. It's so monstrous and it's so unexpected from Ross Boeckmann.
I know. And I just love that. I just he, again, is one of the nicest men in television.
So to make him play that part. It was it was quite special.
I thought there is a subtle art to how Vic is written this season. It's only after you realized that the truth about him, that the earlier episodes take on a very different light. I mean, when you watch the season, the truth is suddenly jumping out at you every time Vic is on screen. But when you're watching it the first time, it's not obvious at all how difficult a needle was that to thread in the writing? It was quite tricky.
It's funny because I worried we'd gone too far in places that were moments where I thought, oh, no, they're going to when Matthew gets arrested and he's obviously kind of hiding something and he wants Will to know what he's hiding. I thought, oh, no, people are going to guess it now. We're going to. But I think we sort of managed to get away with it. I was quite surprised. I suppose you have to you, in a sense, be so those seats quite carefully and then just wait for them to explode.
So I'm to be shocked rather than I could see it coming a mile off.
No, super shocked. And like I said, it's only going back and re watching the season that every time Vick is there, it becomes so creepy. And but at the time it didn't feel that way. It is so unnerving that you're you feel like Will does. How was I fooled? Yeah, but his performance is so fantastic that it's incredibly obvious how you were fooled because he seems so avuncular and so charming and so kindly. And that is his weapon.
He's able to weaponize that. Yeah. Vic drives a wedge between Will and Jordy. It's Vic that Will confides in about asking Ellie to marry him and not Jordy. Why is Jordy initially so put out by Will's burgeoning friendship with Vic? Are there suspicions or is it just jealousy?
It's just jealousy.
I think, you know, in a small, manly way. I think what's interesting about it, that sort of fatherly nature in Vic is that it's grooming in a sense. He's grooming will as much as he's grooming anyone to to hide who he truly is. And those little chats about my wife and I, we met on the pier and he tells all these lovely stories, it's just a way of bringing Will into his confidence so that he doesn't look he doesn't look for what is kind of quite obvious when his relationship with Will does give him this sort of additional veneer of respectability that he's so close with this vicar.
And, you know, if a vicar is friends with him, I mean, obviously that nothing could be wrong here. It does give him this respectability to bring in.
You know, he's quite blatant with it, bringing him into the ring and saying, without you, none of this would have existed. He will. Is his is his front his. Yeah. As much as Marie is, he's being used and it's horrible.
Geordie does have a coppers instincts. I mean, Vic does rub him the wrong way all the way back in the first episode. How is he always so bloody cheerful. Viks victors too many punches to the head. If you ask me, does he know something subconsciously that there is something off with Vic Morgan? Is it? Is there something there? I think the probably is I think that Jodi is an instinctive man, as you said, is an instinctive copper.
And if he doesn't like somebody that doesn't like them, I think you see that in storytelling terms. If Jodi had got there first, it would have possibly ruin the surprise. But but, you know, I think I think it didn't surprise Jodi when he found out that he was a paedophile.
We meet Matthew in the first episode this season when he's working at Newnham College. He's disadvantaged. He's prone to anger the scene in the hospital where it clicks for will links the two of them in these feelings of shame does will recognize it instinctively in Matt.
Yeah, I think Will is a man who has, in essence, been abused by his own father, and he knows that he carries that shame with him and he hit that shame out of, I don't know, some misguided loyalty. And and he sees that poor Matthew, he is just as easily manipulated as anyone because who's going to believe him? He's a kid. He's broken the law. He's you know, he's poor. Why would anyone believe him?
So I think we'll see that this this kid is in a lot of trouble and and sympathizes empathizes with him.
How much damage does this revelation that Vick is molesting the boys due to will? Does this sort of shatter his entire world view?
Yeah, I think it does, because he has found in his role as a vicar, he has found a way to help people. And this has actually been doing the opposite, complete opposite. Not only that, he sent Matthew tried to leave and he sent him back into the lion's den. And I think he feels wholly responsible for it. He feels, yeah, completely responsible. And it sort of is a is this is losing faith in his self, his own judgement, and it makes him really angry.
And I at the end of Episode five, we get this kind of slightly fire and brimstone sermon from Will because religious, you know, punishment, he suddenly he's he's gone from this kind of quite liberal vicar to this, you know, these people should be punished. He's so angry at himself and at the world. And I think in that moment, I think Britney pulls the blinds are actually that these targets that seem so angry.
Well, I want to talk about the scene in the vestry before the sermon. I mean, his anger finally boils over. He smashes the mirror. The fact that it's a mirror here seems significant is his anger, not just at Vic or God, but also himself.
And we undenied about that scene and my producer was like, it's a bit metaphorically on the nose, but we saw and we saw him do it when we saw him do the same.
And the director rope was like, no, I can make this work. This is going to be good. And he there's such an intensity there. And I think the silence, the music kind of cuts away and it's all silent. It is. It's just him. And as we've been saying, his own sense of shame. So it's him in that moment alone with no comfort. He carries that fury into his sermon, it's the sort of embodiment of his rage.
God gave us even. He gave us perfection. And what did we do with him? We destroyed it. We send. And we grew prideful and vengeful and angry, we surrounded ourselves with snakes who only want the worse for us. And who do we blame for that? We blame God. How dare we? It is us. It is our doing. And it is all we deserve. God will always forgive. He will always offer salvation, but I don't believe all of us deserve it.
If we sin, we break God's law, if you sin, you do not deserve his love.
You do not deserve his Salveson. You deserve all of the snakes and the misery and the suffering. That is all we deserve. It is only Joseph. Why did you choose to end the episode on this note? We've seen him do these kind of very lovely generally lots of chat about, you know, call me and Missy's cakes and his world is Eden and now he's confronted hell. And I think he wants everyone else to realize this is, you know, we're not playing around our people.
The world is broken and we've got to face this world. And I really just wanted in the edit, you could have played around quite a lot with trying to keep it on his face as much as possible, because this is it's just him. It's him against the world. That's what he feels like. And so, yeah, I enjoyed writing that scene.
The final moment of the fifth episode has Jordy watching Will from his pew in the church. What is going through George's head here and can save Will from himself?
I think the fact that George is in church in the first place, we don't we try to keep him out because he's not really, in truth, religious man. He is there purely in that moment to look on his friend. And, yeah, he's spiraling. He's spiraling to a bad place. And I think that sets the mission really for the last episode. And Jordis going to save his friend. And I will not say if it works, but yeah, it's about saving Will, bringing him back, showing him that the world isn't all snakes.
So the sort of mission statement for the final episode is saving private will. Oh, yes. Why don't we think of how dark will things get before the end of the season? If it goes a little bit dark, there is some darkness, but I think this show tries to have a positive outlook on the world.
So I'm not trying not to give things away, but there is a surprising element, shall we say, in the next episode. Will things between Will in L.A. come to a resolution of some kind, is there a hope for reconciliation perhaps between them?
Yeah, I think so. I think there is hope and there is potential for her to keep popping up, I think. But also, I think Will will be released after this series to go forth and find love, hopefully, maybe not in series six, maybe three, seven.
What can we expect from a sixth season of Grantchester in sort of the broadest terms? Where would you like to take the characters next as we move ever closer to the 1960s? I think when we hopefully get to make this show, when we can get some actors in the same room, I'm really excited about the series. It's a big test for all our characters. We wanted to do one story that would test them all, and that kind of drives the series through.
And I think it's going to put some of our characters in pretty dire straits. So that's that's where we're taking it somewhere quite different.
I think so. Serial killer on the loose in Grantchester, yet Leonard is a serial killer.
No, Leonard, no. Nothing, nothing. There's no death.
Well, there obviously is death. There's lots of death. But in amongst our characters, it's much more of a moral dilemma which has massive repercussions for everyone, especially ones we love the most.
So, yeah, it's really fun. I'm really I'm really enjoying it. And we've got other writers were acting away, so we're all hopefully making something good for you.
I can't wait whenever it gets filmed. Finally, how are you spending time during these stay at home orders? You know, it's weird because I always work from home and I always wear less dictated slacks and I always, you know, I always have snoozes in the middle of the day. So it's in a weird way, my world hasn't changed that much, and yet everything just feels very different. So we're doing a lot of I'm doing a lot of yoga because I've got into yoga, a lot of dog walking, a lot of watching Cuero and drinking wine.
Really, that's I mean, it's there are elements of it. I know it sounds awful. There are elements of it that are quite nice, like being at home with my husband and seeing more of him and and then obviously and then there's just the general horrific massacre. Also, it's strange. It's a strange balance. The good with the bad.
Yeah, exactly. And you did with snakes, yeah, with the snakes bringing it back to Grantchester, Daisy Cullen, thank you so very much. Thank you. It's lovely to speak to you again.
Will India already have but one more mystery to crack this season and it's a real puzzler and Mr. Martin, Inspector Keating, Robin Akello not a kid that this morning found the body of a woman on Jesus Green.
We believe it to be that of your wife. Series stars Tom, Britney and Robson Green return to the podcast on Sunday, July 19th. Masterpiece Studio is hosted by me, Jace Lacob, and produced by Nick Anderson, Alicia Easthope is our editor. Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer at large of Masterpiece, the executive producer of Masterpiece with Suzanne Simpson. Sponsors for Masterpiece on PBS are Viking Cruises, Raymond James and the Masterpiece Trust.