The Village is a BBC television series written by Peter Moffat, who hoped to develop an epic drama series similar to the German Heimat saga, which portrays life in Germany from the 1840s to 2000 through the eyes of a family from the Hunsrück area of the Rhineland.
The series follows the Middleton family, who live as dairy farmers in a village in Derbyshire. The central character is the family’s second son, Bert, who is portrayed throughout the series by three different actors as he grows up from a small boy to a young adult, and as an old man (David Ryall) in the series’ frame narrative which is set in present time.
Bert (Bill Jones, Alfie Stewart) grows up on his family’s small farm with his bullying father John (John Simm), patient mother Grace (Maxine Peake) and protective older brother Joe (Nico Mirallegro) who works as a gardener for the wealthy Allingham family. Together with his friend Gilbert Hankin (William Grindey), the local boot maker’s son, he is often punished by their strict teacher Mr Ingham (Stephen Walters) while schoolmaster Mr Eyre (Matt Stokoe) is frequently at odds with John Middleton for taking Bert out of class to help with the farm work.
When World War I is declared, Joe and other young men from the village volunteer for the army. At first Grace is glad that Joe has escaped the confines of the village but then things take a turn for the worse and life in the village is changed forever.
Andrew Gower played Gilbert Hankin in season 2 which is set three years after the events of season 1.
As a young adult, Gilbert helps to run his father’s boot factory and is secretly in love with Agnes, one of the factory’s workers. However, unbeknownst to him, Agnes has entered an abusive affair with Bairstow (Joe Armstrong), Edmund Allingham’s (Rupert Evans) political advisor. Bert Middleton (Tom Varey) works on his family’s farm but dreams of seeing the world. He is also in love with his former teacher Martha Lane (Charlie Murphy), who is unhappily married to Edmund’s younger, shell-shocked brother George (Augustus Prew). In the end he needs to decide whether to follow his dreams and leave the village or to stay and be with the courageous young Phoebe (Phoebe Dynevor).
Season 1 was broadcast in spring 2013 and covered the years 1914 to 1920. Season 2 aired in summer 2014, and continued the story into the 1920s. Future seasons were to be set during the Second World War and post-war Austerity Britain. However, despite never officially cancelling the series, BBC One opted not to order more seasons.
Watch some of Andrew’s scenes in his 2015 showreel:
- Filming of season 2 began in Derbyshire in March 2014 and continued into July 2014. It premiered on BBC One on 10 August 2014.
- The Village was the first project both Andrew Gower and Stephen Walters worked on. They never met on set as Stephen Walters left the show after series one to work on Outlander. However, Andrew watched series one as part of his research and was impressed by Walters’ acting.