The Doctor can’t be a nasty big racist.
That’s the first thought that springs to mind as 5th Doctor Peter Davison bounces out on to the Grantchester cricket field in his all-too familiar attire to give the team’s star Pakistani player a dressing down.
The Doctor Who star joins the cast in this week’s second episode as Geoff Towler, the town’s solicitor cum representative of every oppressive view the 1950s had to offer, and he’s not long ticking the racism, sexism and elitism boxes.
Naturally, he’s only one of the villains of this week’s trip to the Cambridgeshire parish, but we’ll come back to that momentarily.
Sidney (James Norton) and Amanda (Morven Christie) are still battling the inevitable when we catch up with them on the field. She’s getting funny looks from the local ladies who seem more interested in Guy’s whereabouts and he’s struggling to keep his dealings with a married woman a secret from the Archdeacon (Gary Beadle).
Things are made all the more difficult for the duo when Sidney and the cricket team are struck down by poison, which naturally requires Norton to strip off and bare his six-pack in bed while Amanda keeps watch.
But he’ll be lead not into temptation, unlike best buddy Geordie, who’s still getting up to all sorts with police secretary Margaret while not-so-new boy DC Phil Young watches from outside the office door. We’re guessing Phil’s supposed to be disgusted by Geordie’s adulterous actions, but his gaze is just a tad too voyeuristic, being perfectly honest.
Geordie and Margaret’s inability to keep things on the down-low means it’s not long before Sidney cops that something’s up, prompting a complete confession from the copper. He’s having none of Sidney’s disapproval though, berating the golden boy for his hypocritical hip shaking with the still-married Amanda.
His tantrum throwing is enough to make you wish on-screen wife Cathy (aka EastEnders’ Kacey ‘Little Mo’ Ainsworth) would whack him over the head with the iron and be done with it. Watching her heart break is almost more than we can bear.
Speaking of painful scenes, dear old Leonard’s (Al Weaver) still attempting to convince himself – and the – that he’s not gay by courting his new friend Hilary (Emily Bevan).
The pressure from the Archdeacon is mounting, and Leonard’s utterly terrified of letting him down. He even finds himself slipping poisoned beer to dear old Dickens (albeit unwittingly) and slinking off to Amanda’s house to warn her off Sidney once and for all.
He hardly needs to stick the knife in, though. Amanda’s already had an earful from town tyrant Geoff (Davison), who’s basically told her that she’ll be branded a slut and ruin Grace’s reputation if she even dares consider taking up with Sidney after her divorce.
What’s a girl to do in such a difficult situation? She’s given plenty of time to ponder that question while Sidney and Geordie solve this week’s crime.
Grantchester’s star cricketer, Zafar Ali (Dinesh Sundran), dies after a bout of what appears to be alcohol poisoning strikes the whole cricket team down. Of course it’s not that simple, as there’s clearly been foul play, so Sidney and Geordie get on the case immediately.
You see Zafar was in love with Geoff Towler’s daughter, Annie, and the pair were planning to marry so her father would accept their union. Zafar’s brother, Munir (Parth Takerar), put a spanner in the works when he revealed the young player was due to be married in Pakistan, and is utterly convinced Annie has poisoned his baby brother for revenge.
But it later transpires that things were a LOT more complicated than that. Annie’s mother, the cake snob who’d turned her nose up at ‘adulterous’ Amanda’s victoria sponge, was wise to her daughter’s dealings with the young cricketer and decided to stop them in their tracks.
She’d read one too many of her Mills & Boon style romance novels and decided to commit her very own crime of passion in order to force her child to have a ‘proper’ future with the local vet, who really just saw Annie as another daughter.
Rosie Towler was villain of the week, but her values are certainly the villain of the series. “It must be awful not being able to love who you want” Leonard laments, summing up the gravest injustice of Grantchester series three so far.
The need for propriety is what’s driving him to hide his sexuality, and what forces Sidney and Amanda to mutually end their arrangement in a terribly tearful living room encounter.
Geordie, who seems to have FINALLY seen sense heads to call things off with Margaret too. “I’m not coming in” he tells his secret lady love when he gets to the door.
Oh but he is and, er, quite literally too, rounding off the episode with a rather steamy bedroom scene in Margaret’s little flat.
Someone fetch an actual doctor, we think mother may have fainted.