Spanning 1914 to 1916 the new BBC One series will chart the life of one poor family in The Village. John Middleton (John Simm) an alcoholic farmer in the Peak District and his wife Grace (Maxine Peake) struggle to raise their two boys Joe and Bert. As John succumbs to drink, the farm fails and Joe is torn between protecting his brother and escaping his father’s abuse. Through an adult Bert’s memories The Village begins to tell its tale.
Starting in the same era as Downton Abbey, writer Peter Moffat told the Digital Spy, “I think there is an imbalance. Were more interested in upstairs than we are in downstairs. There’s a whole wealth of material that isn’t about the posh folk. There’s a whole spectrum of class in The Village.” Continuing that thought he told the Guardian, “I think we need to re-calibrate the way we look at history… particularly this period. It’s seen now as officer-class history. I don’t think there are enough of John-type characters who, after all, make up most of the population. We’ve got lots of lovely Upstairs Downstairs stuff, so let’s have ‘how is it for the farm labourer?”
In fact, Moffat has ambitious hopes for The Village and would like to see his creation span the entire 20th Century. If the BBC re-commissions the show the second series would pick up in the 1920s and go into post-World War II Britain. “It’s a unique moment in television. Box set culture has said that long-form serial drama is now really possible. How fantastic is it to say that there’s a possibility the you might get to write 42
hours of television about the 20th century of this country,” Moffat told the Digital Spy.
The Village begins Sunday, March 30th on BBC One.