James Norton admits his dismay over being replaced by Tom Brittney on Grantchester

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James Norton has candidly spoken about being replaced by Tom Brittney on Grantchester, admitting his dismay at having to leave the show.

The actor, 37, had starred as the protagonist Reverend Sidney Chambers, who worked alongside DI Geordie Keating (Robson Green) to solve crimes.

He had appeared on the show since it began in 2014 but made his final appearance in 2019, when he was replaced by Tom, 32, who took over as the new lead, Reverend Will Davenport.

James Norton admits his dismay over being replaced by Tom Brittney on Grantchester

Upset: James Norton has candidly spoken about being replaced by Tom Brittney on Grantchester, admitting his dismay at the decision

Speaking about his exit from the show, James admitted his heart ‘slightly ached’ over the decision to replace him as he gushed over his time working on Grantchester.

According to The Express, he told Radio Times: ‘I had more fun than I’ve ever had on the set of Grantchester. When I read about it, my heart slightly aches. I’ve been replaced by Tom [Brittney]. Which is fine.’

James also admitted he no longer watches the show, adding: ‘I feel bad because it’s such a lovely show and Robson [Green] is one of the nicest men in the world.’

Replaced: The actor, 37, had starred as the protagonist Reverend Sidney Chambers but was replaced by Tom, 32, who took over as the new lead, Reverend Will Davenport (pictured)

Replaced: The actor, 37, had starred as the protagonist Reverend Sidney Chambers but was replaced by Tom, 32, who took over as the new lead, Reverend Will Davenport (pictured)

In 2018, James confirmed that season four would be his last on the detective drama, with ITV later announcing that Tom would be his replacement.

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At the time, James revealed he was ‘heartbroken’ to be leaving the show, but was looking forward to pursuing new roles.

He said: ‘As excited as I am to be filming a new series of Grantchester, it’s also heartbreaking to be saying goodbye to Sidney Chambers.

‘I’ve loved this experience, and particularly working with such an extraordinary cast and crew. All the best to the fantastic Tom Brittney in his role as the new vicar. He is a wonderful addition to the Grantchester family.’

Worlds apart: The actor recently seen on screen as do-no-wrong character Reverand Sidney Chambers in Grantchester (pictured on the show)

Sad: Speaking about his exit from the show, James admitted his heart ‘slightly aches’ over the decision to replace him as he gushed over his time working on Grantchester 

Grantchester returned for a seventh series earlier this year and ITV has already confirmed that it will be back for an eighth installment.

Despite leaving Grantchester behind him, James is set to return to Happy Valley for its third season as behind-bars villain Tommy Lee Royce.

Photographs of his return show James sporting a grown-out beard, unruly long locks and a massive forehead scar while portraying the murderer and sex offender.

James’ character Tommy is seen in prison in the new episodes, after being sentenced in season one for rape and abduction.

He's back! Despite leaving Grantchester behind him, James is set to return to Happy Valley for its third season as behind-bars villain Tommy Lee Royce

He’s back! Despite leaving Grantchester behind him, James is set to return to Happy Valley for its third season as behind-bars villain Tommy Lee Royce

Donning a green and yellow jumpsuit as he spends time behind bars, the criminal is seen in handcuffs while being escorted by officials in new pictures from the show.

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Filming for the much-anticipated third and final series got underway earlier this year following a six-year hiatus and is certain to be the most thrilling yet.

In October, BBC confirmed a third season of the hit show would be on its way, and that it would be its last.

Behind bars: James' character Tommy is seen in prison in the new episodes, after being sentenced in season one for rape and abduction

Behind bars: James’ character Tommy is seen in prison in the new episodes, after being sentenced in season one for rape and abduction

The final season will follow Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) as she investigates a gangland murder that leads her back to Tommy, and her struggle to end the drug supply in the valley. 

James previously said of reprising his role as Tommy: ‘To take on Tommy one final time is a wonderful and daunting privilege, and something I’ve been looking forward to since we wrapped the last series, six years ago. 

Happy Valley was a big hit with audiences after first airing in 2014, winning a BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series, with a follow-up second series in 2016.

Return: Donning a green and yellow jumpsuit as he spends time behind bars, the criminal is seen in handcuffs while being escorted by officials in new pictures from the show

Return: Donning a green and yellow jumpsuit as he spends time behind bars, the criminal is seen in handcuffs while being escorted by officials in new pictures from the show 

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