When the coronavirus pandemic rolled into the summer of 2020, it was the first sign for many that the disruption to daily life wasn't ending anytime soon. Even as ITV announced Grantchester would be greenlit for more episodes, the question was, yes, but when? Filming for the series was usually a fall affair, and with cases seeming to fall in Europe over the summer, there seemed real hope the show could find a way to function close to its original schedule. But with filming concluded, all signs point to a fall arrival.
Nothing in 2020 went to plan. Filming for Grantchester only started a month later, in October, but each delay and pause meant the premiere on ITV fell back. As long-time fans will recall, Grantchester's initial season ran in the fall from October to November. However, since then, ITV turned it into a show that comes early in the year, with debuts in March and April for Season 2 and 3, before pushing it to winter debuts, and January starts for Season 4 and 5. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., debuts stuck to an early-to-midsummer launch. With filming continuing over the winter months, it was apparent the series would not be arriving anywhere close to that on either side of the pond.
The good news is that after a six-month journey, the series has finally completed principal photography. On March 19, The Daily Mail posted photos of the show's final day on set with stars Tom Brittany and Robson Greene cutting it up after months of hard filming. In a statement, executive producer Emma Kingsman-Lloyd said of filming amid the pandemic: "In these difficult times, we are delighted to be able to film another series of our beloved Grantchester. The cast and crew have worked tirelessly to bring the series to the screen, and we know the audience are very excited to see what Will, Geordie, and the Grantchester family have in store for them."
Knowing the show has reached the editing suite and will probably arrive on ITV in the next few months is great news for fans. But what does that mean for PBS?
Like so many PBS shows, Granchester isn't a day-and-date arrival on both sides of the pond. The gap between debuts often spans months. In 2019 and 2020, the show ended on ITV in mid-February but didn't premiere on PBS until June or July. The reality is, those gaps are probably unnecessarily inflated and PBS is simply scheduling Grantchester wherever is convenient on the schedule. But the fact remains that it doesn't debut over here until it's done running over there. Moreover, like all ITV shows, it requires editing work on the PBS's end, as ITV is a commercial network and PBS is not.
Right now, ITV suggests Grantchester is probably heading for a late summer/early fall debut. With six episodes planned for Season 6, that means a six-week run before Americans can even think about seeing it over here. PBS is currently also saying fall for Grantchester, but chances are unless there's a deal worked out, Masterpiece's run will be late fall, not early.
From the on-set spoiler reports, this season will be worth the wait. As usual, the story will move up a year, with Season 6 set in 1958. So far, Miles Jupp (The Thick of It), Jemma Redgrave (Doctor Who), and Rachael Stirling (The Bletchley Circle) are all confirmed as guest stars. Moreover, there are rumors that this season will focus heavily on a more serialized story, with a murder at a resort casting a pall over the entire group of episodes.
Fans will be waiting at least a few more months to learn more. Grantchester Season 6 is expected to arrive on Masterpiece before the end of 2021.