Fans of the PBS series Grantchester will have noticed that vicar-sleuth, Sidney Chambers, has a taste for whiskey and ale. But not sherry, which people assume must be the vicar’s drink of choice. He drinks to get drunk at upper-class dinner parties with Amanda and her set, and with the detective Geordie Keating at the pub. Alcohol plays a role in every episode. It’s not giving the plot away to say the murder in Episode 1 is solved when Sidney realizes it’s the wrong whiskey.
In episode 2 [watch here through February 22nd!] a friend from school days slips him an article “Alcohol Consumption in the Post-War Male” — from flashbacks it’s evident Sidney suffers for post-traumatic stress disorder. Other times he’s drinking to treat love-sickness. He’s self medicating. Sidney’s housekeeper makes it clear she does not approve of his drinking — that he keeps a bottle in his desk drawer. And it’s plain that alcohol affects Sidney’s work.
How do you see the role of alcohol in the series? Is Grantchester raising important questions about alcohol abuse? Or does it glamorize drinking?
Posted by John B. Chilton