Why is Tom Brittney leaving Grantchester as Will Davenport and where have you seen his replacement Rishi Nair before?

Fans will soon Tom Brittney leaving Grantchester as it's confirmed that season 9 will be his last as Reverend Will Davenport

Is Tom Brittney leaving Grantchester? Seen here is him playing Will in the season 8 trailer
(Image credit: YouTube/Masterpiece PBS)

Knowing we’ll soon see Tom Brittney leaving Grantchester has made season 9 incredibly bittersweet as it’s been confirmed that this is his last outing as Reverend Will Davenport. 

Hit crime drama Grantchester has seen a fair few vicars come and go as firstly Reverend Sidney Chambers and then Reverend Will Davenport have put their investigative prowess to the test. Pairing up with local DI Geordie Keating, both have made a huge impact during their time on the James Runcie adaptation. Whilst fans might have made peace with Sidney's departure in season 4, they’ll have to bid a fond farewell to Will. It’s now been announced that Tom Brittney is leaving Grantchester after season 9. His replacement as the parish vicar has been announced as Rishi Nair as Grantchester season 8 continues weekly in the US.

But why is Tom Brittney leaving Grantchester as Will Davenport and where have you seen his replacement Rishi Nair before? We reveal all you need to know…

*Warning: Spoilers*

Geordie and Will in Grantchester

(Image credit: YouTube/Masterpiece PBS)

Why is Tom Brittney leaving Grantchester as Will Davenport? 

Losing a beloved main character from a popular long-running series is never easy. Just like when we learnt Douglas Henshall was leaving after Shetland season 7, the confirmation that Tom Brittney will be leaving his fans and his flock in Grantchester will have been met with sadness. Thankfully, there’s still one more season before his exit and according to RadioTimes.com, Tom described his move as being motivated by it just being the right “time”.

Reflecting upon his experience on Grantchester, Tom declared, “I've had the most incredible time playing Will Davenport for the last five years. I got to solve crimes with my best friend, and work with the best cast and crew I could ever ask for.”

"I’ll miss it more than anything,” he added, before explaining, “But it’s time for the baton to be passed, as it once was to me, and I’m so excited for Rishi to join the Grantchester family."

Meanwhile, ITV which airs Grantchester in the UK also disclosed that Tom will be leaving as Will Davenport to “focus on new projects”. After amassing fans across the world with his portrayal of the vicar for so long, it seems Tom Brittney is leaving Grantchester as he just felt the time had come to let someone else enjoy being part of this amazing show whilst he explores other exciting acting opportunities. 

Tom Brittney attends the ITV Palooza 2019

(Image credit: Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)

And whilst fans will no doubt wish him luck, his departure will also be met with sadness as we anticipate watching him say goodbye to his friends and parishioners and, of course, to his friend, uncle-in-law and crime-solving partner, Geordie.   

When is Will Davenport’s final Grantchester episode? 

It’s not known exactly which episode will be Reverend Davenport’s last as fans prepare for season 9 knowing it will mean seeing Tom Brittney leaving Grantchester. However, we now know it will come at some point in Grantchester season 9 and a behind-the-scenes photo posted showing new cast member Rishi Nair with Robson Green seemingly at a table reading suggests that this will be his introductory season. There could potentially be some overlap between Will and Alphy’s times on the show as viewers meet the new vicar and grow accustomed to him before the emotional upheaval of saying goodbye to Will.

Grantchester starring Tom Brittney as Will and Robson Green as Geordie

(Image credit: BritBox/ITV)

It’s also always lovely for the departing main character to interact with - and give their blessing to - the new main character on a long-running show, even briefly, like when Kris Marshall left Death in Paradise. A synopsis for Grantchester season 9 has given away a few details about how Will’s exit storyline might go, though, and it couldn’t be more different to the reason the previous vicar, Sidney, left. 

“It’s 1961 and life is good for Will and Geordie. The families are always together, from Sunday lunches to planning summer holidays and with honorary Grandparents Mrs C and Jack, and adopted uncles Daniel and Leonard, it’s one big happy family! But when Will is approached with a life changing offer, can he leave Grantchester, and Geordie behind?”

Tom Brittney in Grantchester season 8 trailer

(Image credit: YouTube/Masterpiece PBS)

Given that we know Tom Brittney is leaving Grantchester it seems like the answer could be “yes”, although this could be a red herring and his exit could end up being entirely unrelated. Whether or not Will’s wife Bonnie, stepson Ernie and their as-of-season-8-unborn baby will join him remains to be seen. 

Where have you seen Rishi Nair before his role as the new Grantchester vicar? 

Whilst it took several months before Douglas Henshall’s replacement in the Shetland season 8 cast was announced as Ashley Jenson, it’s already been confirmed that Rishi Nair would be joining the cast of Grantchester as the new parish vicar. For those who might be wondering where they’ve seen Rishi before, he starred in UK soap opera Hollyoaks as Sami Maalik from 2017-2021. Rishi has also been in Count Abdulla and in episodes of New Tricks, Whitstable Pearl and Treason. 

Revealing his excitement at the prospect of joining Grantchester as Alphy, Rishi said, “I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining Grantchester. The welcome and support I've received from everyone has been overwhelming.”

Rishi Nairattends the 2022 British Soap Awards

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

"The success of the show and the reason we are here for a ninth season is a testament to all the people that have previously worked on it,” he continued. “I'm really excited to get started and cannot wait for the Grantchester fans to meet Alphy and to see all that's in store for him."

The synopsis for season 9 has also teased that Alphy and Geordie might not see eye-to-eye at first but will soon form a bond with each other. 

"Reverend Alphy Kotteram has an instinctive distrust for authority and absolutely no desire to get involved in murder investigations. But Alphy and Geordie will discover they have a lot more in common than they first think, and Alphy will find that in Grantchester, murder is never far away,” it said.

Rishi Nair attends the launch of "Bad Sisters" hosted by Apple TV+ and British Vogue

(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

"From deadly circuses, abandoned babies, and hostile historians to vanishing valets and murderous satirists,” the synopsis added. “Together, Geordie and Alphy witness first-hand how religion can be corrupted, but also how faith, love and friendship can offer hope – and renewal."

We might have to wait for a while longer before seeing Alphy and Geordie’s first meeting but it will certainly be exciting to welcome a new member of the Grantchester cast.

Grantchester season 8 is currently airing on PBS in the US with a UK air date set to be announced.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.