Grantchester star: ‘TV should cast a more positive light on faith’

The star of ITV’s Grantchester has criticised screenwriters and producers for constantly portraying faith in a negative light.

James Norton, who plays Reverend Canon Sidney Chambers in the detective drama, said he was proud to play the role of a churchman.

His comments come after BBC radio stalwart Roger Bolton blasted the broadcaster’s “liberal and secular” staff for being “dangerously out of touch” with religious people.


In an interview with the Telegraph’s Weekend magazine, Norton said: “The idea of faith isn’t really explored any more on television; now the only real representations of it are either comic or sinister with exorcisms and weird culty things.

“But so many people have faith and I enjoy showing that.”

Referring to the character of Sidney he added: “He’s a hero and has a faith and there are lots of good people out there who are the same, so I’m proud to play him.”

Christian values

Earlier this month, Roger Bolton, who hosts Feedback on Radio 4, said the BBC’s workforce shares little common ground with religious people and blasted its religious coverage strategy as ‘confusing’ and “not fit for purpose”.

Last year he also attacked the broadcaster for failing to communicate the “crucial role Christianity has played” in the formation of British culture.

In an article published in Radio Times, Bolton said he was “worried by the BBC’s whole approach to religion.”

Coming up short

“How can young people and immigrants to this country understand the UK without learning of the crucial role Christianity has played in the formation of its political structures and culture?”

He added: “This is not about promoting faith; it’s about promoting knowledge and understanding — surely a central role of a public service broadcaster? But the BBC is coming up short.”

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