Robson Green opens up about why he will miss James Norton when the Yorkshire actor leaves Granchester

Tom Brittany as Rev. Will Davenport, Robson Green as Geordie Keating, James Norton as Sidney Chambers
Tom Brittany as Rev. Will Davenport, Robson Green as Geordie Keating, James Norton as Sidney Chambers
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Robson Green isn’t one to mince his words.

As the 54-year-old, who was born in Northumberland, discusses why he loves his role in ITV’s Grantchester, he blurts out that other acting jobs have made him “deeply unhappy”.

“There’s a couple of things I’ve done where I’ve walked off, because I just can’t abide the people I’m working with,” he confides. “I mean, narcissism is part of the equation of being an actor, but my God, there’s different levels and scales, and I’ve been alongside most of them.

“But here [Grantchester] genuinely makes me happy. And I get paid for it. That’s a terrific thing to have in your life.”

The detective drama in question, set in the Cambridgeshire village of the same name, is about to return for a fourth series. It’s now 1956, and “things are changing in that very likeable world of Grantchester”, as Robson, who plays gruff, down-to-earth police inspector Geordie Keating, puts it.

“It’s moving far too fast for Geordie. And he wants to go back to how it was, the good old days, which is quite relevant to today ... Whatever you think of Brexit, the argument is the feeling there are too many corrupt minds within young people. You know, ‘There used to be discipline, and integrity, and dignity and you knew your neighbours’ and all that.”

The cast of Grantchester is going 
to look a little different in the new episodes too.

Yorkshire’s James Norton, who plays charming clergyman Sidney Chambers, is leaving at some point during this series, while Outlander star Tom Brittney, 28, is joining as the young and confident Reverend Will Davenport.

The friendship between crime-fighting pair Geordie and Sidney has undoubtedly been a huge part of the show’s success.

Was Green worried about what it would be like without Norton by his side on screen?

“I think everybody was, deep down,” he admits. “But I was fortunate enough to 
do the chemistry reads with the actors who were going to replace James, way before the show was even starting filming.

“As soon as Tom came in, it was immediate. We just went, ‘Oh, that’s him. That’s the guy’.”

As for his relationship with McMafia star Norton off screen, Green says: “First and foremost we’re friends, we’re kindred spirits. So that element’s never gone. But he doesn’t reply to texts!” he adds in jest. “He’s terrible.” It’s evident he and Norton have a lot of laughs together.

“The strange thing, for me, was saying goodbye to the laughter, the joy, the intense relationship we had within this very short period of time, every year, for four years.”

Grantchester returns to ITV on Friday January 11.