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Grantchester viewers 'bawling' over emotional season 8 finale as Tom Brittney gears up for departure

The actor will hang up his dog collar and cloak in season nine

Tom Brittney as Will Davenport in Grantchester
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Series eight of ITV's Grantchester drew to an emotional conclusion on Thursday night, which had viewers reaching for the tissues. 

Throughout the series, we've seen Will Davenport's mental health steadily decline following his motorbike collision that almost killed someone, with the vicar turning to pills as a way of self-medicating.

WATCH: Did you enjoy Grantchester season 8?

In last week's episode, Will disappeared, leaving a heartbreaking note for his family, telling them he hasn't "been the man you need me to be" and that "everything will be better now I'm gone". 

Fans were understandably concerned for Will's fate, and when we saw him in the latest episode, he was caught up in a brawl outside a pub, which resulted in a night at the police station after an officer found him lying on the ground. 

TOM BRITTANY as Will Davenport in Grantchester

© Stuart Wood
Will disappeared at the end of episode five

Will's outlook changed, however, following an encounter with a young boy named Jacob, who felt responsible for the murder of his aunt at the hands of his uncle. 

In consoling Jacob, Will found comfort in his own advice. "You did everything you could," he said. "You did everything within your power. It's all anyone can ever do. It's all we can ever do."

After arriving back in Grantchester, Will gave up the pills, handing them over to Geordie before rushing to the hospital just in time for the birth of his son, James George Davenport. 

Tom Brittney in Grantchester© PBS/ITV
Will finally came to his sense in the season finale

By the end of the episode, Will was back in his dog collar and robe for his newborn's christening and all was well in the titular Cambridge village once again.

Taking to social media in response to Will's emotional journey, viewers praised the series finale. One person penned: "Great ending to tonight's episode & series 8 of #Grantchester," while another added: "That was such a lovely last episode for them all. Felt like early #Grantchester. A whole lot of heart and warmth."

Tom Brittney and Charlotte Ritchie in Grantchester© ITV
Will returned to his normal self in time for the birth of his son

Others were left in tears, with one person writing: "Oh darn I'm bawling. What an episode."

Season eight marked Tom Brittney's penultimate outing as Will, and fans aren't quite ready to say goodbye.

Tom Brittney and Robson Green as Will Davenport and Geordie Keating in Grantchester © ITV
Fans aren't ready to say goodbye to Will

"We have Will for a bit longer so that's something. Don't think I'll ever be prepared for his exit at this point," wrote one person, while another added: "I really really don't want @tombrittney to leave. He's everything to #Grantchester (plus don't let it be a bad ending for Will). I need him to stay now he's happy."

Series nine will be Tom's last as the crime-fighting vicar and will see the actor hand over the reins to Rishi Nair, who is perhaps best known for starring in Hollyoaks

Robson Green and Rishi Nair filming Grantchester season nine
© Geoff Robinson/Shutterstock
Rishi Nair will take over as the new lead

Opening up about his departure in a recent interview, Tom revealed: "I left Grantchester a few months ago after six happy years of doing the show. 

"I wanted to see what else was out there and play different people for a while! So currently on the hunt for that exciting next thing," he told The Rakish Gent

Grantchester is available to stream on ITVX. 

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