13 January 2014
The Village – set in Derbyshire – leaves horror of war behind and moves into the Roaring Twenties
Filming for a second series of hit BBC drama The Village – set in the Derbyshire Peak District – will get under way in March, television bosses have confirmed.
Starring Maxine Peake and John Simm, Peter Moffat’s epic story charts the life and turbulent times of one English village.
With the first series attracting around six million viewers per episode in spring last year, the BBC said it would return for a second run – and possibly a further five series.
Creator Peter Moffat wants there to eventually be 42 episodes so the programme can tell the story of the Derbyshire village over a 100-year period.
The first series was set during the First World War.
The second series will see villagers leave the conflict behind and enjoy the modernity of the 1920s.
Providing more runs are commissioned, future series would be set in the Second World War, post-war Austerity Britain, and so on.
In announcing plans to film a second series, Danny Cohen, controller of BBC One, said:
“The Village is drama of the highest quality.
“It is brilliantly written, beautifully produced and performed with huge talent and imagination.
“I’m really proud to have it on the BBC and delighted it is coming back for a second series.”
A BBC spokeswoman said filming was due to begin in March, with most scenes being shot in the Peak District.
Mr Moffat said he was delighted that the BBC wanted to make more episodes. He said:
“I’m thrilled at the prospect of bringing to the screen the plans I’ve got for all these characters – and some new ones – as the life of the village moves away from the horror of war and into the roaring Twenties.
“Boom and bust, the Charleston and the Black Bottom, motor cars, extreme politics, fish and chips, jazz, bananas, cinema, the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the middle classes – the outside world comes to the village, bringing with it the big drama that change always generates.
“I’m very grateful for the support the BBC has given this project right from the start. No other broadcaster I can think of would have the confidence to do it.”
The series tells the story of life in a Derbyshire village through the eyes of a central character, Bert Middleton.
Bert has been portrayed as a boy by Bill Jones, as a teenager by Alfie Stewart and as an old man by David Ryall.
John Simm plays Bert’s father, John Middleton, an alcoholic Peak District farmer, and Maxine Peake plays Bert’s mother, Grace.
Peake is a preferred actress of the writer, who has called her “the best actress of her generation”.
She has featured in two previous Moffat series, Criminal Justice and Silk.
The first series was filmed in and around Hayfield, Edale, Glossop, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Charlesworth, in the Peak District, and in the grounds of Tatton Park, in Cheshire, from October to December 2012.
Mr Simm used local historian Margaret Wombwell’s book Milk, Muck and Memories in his research for how the farmers from the period lived, and Mr Moffat researched locally and at the Imperial War Museum.
The series featured parts played by young actors and actresses from Derbyshire.
Allenton teenager Nick Preston landed the role of teenage Alf.
Luke Williams, 20, of Breadsall, played the role of Paul, whom millions of viewers saw proposing to Agnes, played by 19-year-old Chloe Harris, of Chellaston.
A number of extras also came from Derby and elsewhere in Derbyshire.
The Village received mainly positive reviews after the first episode.
The Independent said “the story was ostensibly small and specific”, but “then it opened up, cinematically, to the world beyond with panoramic shots of the English countryside – vast acres of fields, hills and sky. These suddenly striking images gave it an epic quality”.
The [Daily] Telegraph remarked on the authenticity of scenes, commending how “The Village refused to foist contemporary relevance on its audience” and describing it as “the most accomplished new drama of the year so far”.
The Daily Mail noted the attention to evocative historical detail, such as rabbits and other fresh meat hanging from a butcher’s shop window and the servants turning away when a house member walks past, though another article in the same paper quoted Twitter users describing the episode as a “misery-fest”.
Despite that, executive producer John Griffin said he was pleased with the show. He said:
“We are delighted with the success of The Village and the response we have had to such a beautifully authored piece from Peter Moffat.
“The cast have been extraordinary in what is very much an ensemble piece and we look forward to working with them again in series two.
“We have worked closely with the BBC to make this an event piece of television that belongs firmly in the BBC schedules, and look forward to continuing the story into the 1920s in a second series.”
John Yorke, managing director of Company Pictures, which produces The Village, added:
“It’s been a real thrill to watch an audience fall in love with Peter Moffat’s extraordinary world and take the tough, hard lives of the villagers to their hearts.
“It’s the first chapter in a story that we hope will span a century, and we’re delighted that the BBC has shown such faith in and commitment to Peter’s vision.”