BBC Media Centre
15 Jul 2014
The Village – introduction by Peter Moffat
Triple BAFTA nominated BBC One hit from last year returns with a second series set in the Roaring Twenties.
The BBC’s hugely ambitious plan to tell the story of the 20th century through the life of one Peak District village moves into the Jazz Age. The shock of the new will turn the lives of our villagers inside out. Outsiders bring in music, dancing and new ways of thinking about love, sex and politics. Young Bert’s first love; Grace Middleton’s finding a voice; Edmund Allingham discovering power and falling in love with another man; the first black man in the village; love in the classroom – the life of the village leaves behind the trauma of The Great War and steps into the excitement of a brave new world. Marie Stopes, Einstein, the wireless, electricity, the vacuum cleaner, packets of crisps, the Charleston – how will a social revolution on this scale play out across the second series?
Peter Moffat says:
“The working life of a writer is self-evidently a lonely one. You write on your own; it’s you, your imagination and the blank page. But making a long-running series like The Village, this becomes much less true. It’s the most collaborative writing experience I’ve ever had. I’ve spent long hours with all of the actors (there are are 28 speaking parts) talking about their characters – how they see them, how they think they might develop, when and where they feel I’ve got something wrong. It’s like having 28 researchers working really hard alongside you with the added benefit that those researchers will end up saying the words you write on screen. They’re as invested as it’s possible to be in the end product because six million people will judge them on it.
“Here’s an example. Joe Armstrong plays Bairstow. His character is an outsider – from Yorkshire. There’s a line in an episode in the new series where someone refers to the town Bairstow is from in Yorkshire. Joe rang me up and talked me through all the different Yorkshire accents and their nuances, subtle differences in tone and inflection and how the town I’d chosen for Bairstow’s home town wasn’t quite right because the accent he uses is slightly different. Brilliant. I love that kind of attention to detail.
“Our agricultural advisor is the former agricultural advisor for The Archers. I now know more about milking cows than I know about almost anything else in life. And I love it. Some of it’s on the screen, lots isn’t but the great privilege of spending a year learning about muddy udders at the same time as finding out about the arrival of the motor car, fairground boxing, the bill to ban lesbianism, 1920’s jazz, Marie Stopes, the first vacuum cleaners all make the experience of writing The Village a complete privilege.
“One of the major themes of the second series is the land and what it means to the people who live and work on it. Sitting in Rosie’s Tea Shop in Hayfield listening to the ramblers, cyclists, fell runners and local people one gets such a strong sense of how the great beauty, power and strength of this landscape shapes the character of the people and the way they think. The heartbreakingly beautiful countryside is the 29th character in The Village and arguably it’s the biggest role.
“The more time I spend up in Edale and around Hayfield and Glossop the more I love this rugged, beautiful, honest part of England and the more I understand how passionately people felt about it then and how much they care about it now.”