Meet the new Grantchester vicar Will – Sidney’s angry replacement!

Will Davenport has a dark side...

We visited Cambridge on a gloriously sunny day last summer to meet Tom Brittney, the man stepping into James Norton’s shoes in Grantchester. Charming, excited and slightly intimidated by the task ahead, he shares his disbelief at snagging the dream role and reveals what’s in store…

Here’s what Tom Brittney told TV Times about Grantchester new boy Will…

What can you tell us about him?

Tom Brittney: “Will’s young, ambitious and optimistic, and he’s using his position in the Church to fight for equal rights and stand up for the common man. He’s lovely and charming but underneath it there’s quite a dark side that will come out. There are secrets from his past that he buries inside… He’s very strong-headed and he can get angry sometimes, so he does boxing to helps him control that.”

Grantchester - shows Sidney looking into the distance

James Norton has left Grantchester as Sidney

How does Will get involved in the crime-solving?

TB: “Geordie just needs a vicar to help him, that’s how it works in Grantchester! Will doesn’t take to the detective work as easily as Sidney did, Geordie has to work a little harder. There’s a generation gap there, and Will sees the good in everything while Geordie sees the bad.”

[James Norton on why he left]

How does Will get on with Leonard and Mrs C?

TB: “There’s friction to start with, as there would be with any new vicar. We’ll see if they warm to me, I hope they will…”

Grantchester

Grantchester has seen a big change in this series

Robson had chemistry reads with 14 other actors but says he instantly knew you were right for the role. What was the audition process like?

TB: “Well it didn’t help that I was convinced that Will was a villain and had murdered someone – only when I got in the room did I realise I was there to potentially replace James Norton! I grew up watching Robson Green and my mum is a very big fan, so I was nervous.

“But it was great, I walked in and we instantly hit it off, I felt like I’d known him for years. When I walked out of the room I knew I was meant to play this role, I wanted it more than anything and I was ringing my agent every single day afterwards to ask if they had heard anything.

“I was so chuffed that they chose me. They kept me waiting for three weeks before they told me! Robson and I hang out all the time now and we’re really good friends – I miss him when we’re not together. We’re in the honeymoon phase at the moment!”

We saw Will whizzing into the village on his motorbike, are you a biker?

TB: “I’m not, I had to have lessons in between takes. I had never thought about riding a motorbike before but I loved it, I feel like I was born to ride now. After they offered me the job they just came out with it: ‘Can you ride a bike?!’ I love being a leather-clad vicar, I want to do as much of the stunt riding myself as I can, it’s so cool. Although my bike in the show is vintage and all the gears and brakes are on the opposite side, so that could cause problems!”

It must have been scary joining such a well-established show?

“It was the most frightening experience: everyone was so welcoming but it really hit me about half way through filming how daunting it is to follow an actor like James. I’m hoping fans will still love Grantchester without him.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in, it’s incredible and surreal. I never thought I’d get a role like this in such a wonderful, loved show with Robson. It’s the dream job really, my family loves this series and I know how important it is to people.”

Is it true you were once in Call the Midwife?

TB: “I had one line! It was a much bigger part before, but I got there on the day and it had been cut down. I can’t remember them now, but I was very worried about forgetting my words at the time – when you only have one line you can’t mess it up! It’s such a prestigious show though, I was very proud to be on it.”

Grantchester continues on ITV.