James Norton and Morven Christie will deal with the stigma faced by divorced women in the 1950s in the new series of Grantchester.
Morven’s character Amanda Kendall is through with her husband Guy and wants to divorce him when the series returns this month.
But she is unable to freely be with the Reverend Sidney Chambers, played by James, because of his role in the church.
They also come up against hostile attitudes from others in the Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester.
Morven, 35, said: “It’s not any less complicated now she’s not with Guy because obviously in the 50s a divorced woman was a very taboo thing.
“It’s a big issue and for a vicar to try and be in a relationship with a divorced woman is fraught with issues. They have a lot of challenges to face but they really love each other.
“At the beginning of series three, I think Amanda gets a shock when she realises quite how difficult officially ending this marriage is going to be and just how much judgment there is in the community about her situation and about Sidney being involved in that.”
James, 31, added: “If Amanda divorces Guy she can’t marry Sidney and she can’t have a relationship with Sidney unless he leaves the church. So it sets up this duty versus love conflict.”
Cancel your Sunday evening plans* from 23 April! #Grantchester is BACK.
*Yes, even church. We've checked with the Archbishop. https://t.co/5uV2Xvde2z
— Grantchester (@GrantchesterUK) April 11, 2017
The Church of England started allowing people to remarry in the church in 2002 but only under “exceptional circumstances” because of the view that marriage should be lifelong.
In 2011, rules were relaxed to allow clergy to be made bishops even if they are married to a divorcee whose former partner is still alive.
The show, based on The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie, has previously dealt with homosexuality being a crime during the period and the death penalty being legal.
:: The new series premieres on ITV on April 23.