Grantchester star James Norton has said he shed “many tears” while filming his final scene for the ITV programme.
The actor, 33, recently wrapped the fifth series of the detective drama, his last starring as clergyman-cum-private investigator Sidney Chambers.
Norton, who will be replaced by Tom Brittney playing Reverend Will Davenport, said filming his final scene had been “really very sad”, reducing him to a “big emotional self-indulgent mess”.
He said: “The final scene I did with Robson (Green) was really very sad.
“We didn’t need to do any acting because Daisy (Coulam) wrote it so beautifully.
“My personal investment in Grantchester and in the character is so strong that, actually, you don’t need to do any work in a scene like that.
“The lines between the reality and the story are so blurred.
“It’s no secret that Robson and I are very good friends.
“I have so much love and respect for that man.
“The relationship Sidney and Geordie had was largely informed by that.
“And so when you have two very good friends having a version of a goodbye, both Robson and James and Geordie and Sidney were all in this big emotional self-indulgent mess.
“It was very sad, but very easy to act because it felt very true to the reality of the situation.”
He added: “I shed many tears. I genuinely did. I shed them as James and I shed them as Sidney.
“The final day was always going to be a big day.”
Norton, best known for starring in BBC One’s McMafia, exits after four series playing the jazz-loving, crime-fighting clergyman.
He celebrated how the programme continues to translate contemporary themes into a period setting.
He said: “It’s wonderful how our writer Daisy Coulam is able to interweave the 1950s with the present day.
“Right now the world is in slight disarray with lots of very confused and scared people.
“With fear comes, often, hostility, aggression, prejudice and bigotry.
“It’s amazing how apt some of the lines and themes are in the first story and how relevant they are to today.
“There is this sinister side to the populist right which we are, unfortunately, experiencing the world over.”
The fifth series of Grantchester, a co-production with Masterpiece on PBS in the US, was filmed in London, Cambridge and the eponymous village, and will see a self-destructive Chambers spiral out of control.
Norton said: “His self-respect and his self-love is definitely waning.
“There is a bit of a death wish.
“He has lost control and people around him are starting to recognise that.”
Grantchester returns to ITV on January 11 at 9pm.