Father Brown (2013 TV series)

Father Brown is a BBC One detective, period drama. It began broadcast on 14 January 2013. Mark Williams stars as the eponymous crime-solving Roman Catholic priest. The series is loosely based on short stories by G. K. Chesterton. Apart from soap operas, it is the third-longest-running daytime drama series on BBC TV, after Doctors and Moving On.

Father Brown
Series title and a silhouette of Father Brown on a bicycle
Genre
Based onG. K. Chesterton's Father Brown short stories
Developed by
  • Rachel Flowerday
  • Tahsin Guner
Starring
Theme music composerDebbie Wiseman
Opening themeFather Brown theme
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series8
No. of episodes90 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Will Trotter
  • John Yorke
Producer(s)
  • Ceri Meyrick
  • Caroline Slater
  • Peter Bullock
CinematographyStuart Biddlecombe
Running time45–50 minutes
Production company/companiesBBC Studios
Release
Original networkBBC One
Picture format1080i HDTV
Audio formatStereo
Original release14 January 2013 (2013-01-14) –
present
External links
Website

The ninth series has been commissioned for broadcast in 2021.[1]

PlotEdit

The series is set during the mid-1950s, in the fictional Cotswold village of Kembleford, where Father Brown, priest at St Mary's Catholic Church, solves murder cases. A bumbling police inspector, who often arrests the wrong suspect, gets annoyed by Father Brown's success.

Father Brown uses the distinctive skills of his close friends as well as his own wits to solve cases, occasionally to the neglect of his more mundane parish duties. His vocation as a priest often gives him an insight to the truth, so that justice (but sometimes, not the letter of the law) may be served. His commitment to obeying the Seal of the Confessional often presents unique circumstances. The time period is when Britain was still struggling with deprivations and other hardships in the aftermath of the Second World War. At that time the country still applied the death penalty as a sentence for capital crimes such as murder. Father Brown opposes capital punishment.

CharactersEdit

  • Father BrownMark Williams (2013–present): a slightly crumpled, shambolic and mild-mannered Roman Catholic priest who, by appearance, is easily forgotten. His apparent innocence belies a playful wit and a razor-sharp intellect. His greatest strength, both as a priest and as a detective of crime, is his love and understanding of other people. He's not there to judge, but to save souls. He is also a World War I veteran who served in the Gloucestershire Regiment.
  • Mrs Bridgette McCarthy née MaguireSorcha Cusack (2013–present): the Irish parish secretary at St Mary's. She checks the facts for Father Brown, acts as his confidante on official Church business and everything else, she is steadfastly loyal to Father Brown, and defends him from the ire of the congregation, she also makes sure he eats. She has a tendency to brag about her award-winning strawberry scones. Mrs McCarthy is a frequent gossip – though claims she is not – and shares a love/hate relationship with Lady Felicia, although both women eventually admit to being close friends. She is married, but leaves her husband after he returns from having lived with another woman following the war.
  • Felicia, Lady Montague née WindermereNancy Carroll (2013–2016 as a lead character): a bored socialite and Countess, apparently[weasel words] from an old recusant family, with a roving eye when her husband, Monty, is away. She is a staunch supporter of Father Brown and frequent nemesis of Mrs McCarthy, despite a grudging respect between the women. She left at the start of Series 5 after her husband was appointed Governor of Northern Rhodesia, but made a guest appearance in Series 6, The Face of the Enemy, in Series 7 in two episodes (The Great Train Robbery and The Honourable Thief), and in Series 8, The Celestial Choir.
  • Sidney "Sid" Carter – Alex Price (2013–2016 as a lead character): An artful dodger, Sid is an occasional black marketeer, part-time crook and informant who becomes Lady Felicia's chauffeur. Father Brown makes him the church handyman while trying to keep him on the straight and narrow. He has a unique talent for being able to talk his way into any situation in order to help Father Brown search for the truth. His boyish good looks and cheeky “chappy” personality is what tends to get people (often women) to open up to him, however it has also been known to get him into trouble. During his time in Kembleford, he manages to gain the trust and respect of both Father Brown and Mrs McCarthy who come to value him as a close friend. He is also known to share a close bond with Lady Penelope “Bunty” Windermere. Father Brown often relies on Sid’s skills and links to the criminal underworld of Kembleford to help him solve a case. Originally a regular character, he often makes guest appearances notably in Series 5, The Sins of Others, 2016 Christmas Special, The Tree of Truth, Series 6, The Face of the Enemy and Series 8, The River Corrupted.
  • Zuzanna "Susie" Jasinski – Kasia Koleczek (2013): Father Brown's part-time housekeeper, who lives in a nearby post-war Polish resettlement camp. Her true first name was revealed in the episode The Eye of Apollo.
  • Lady Penelope "Bunty" Windermere – Emer Kenny (2017–present): the wayward niece of Lady Felicia seeking refuge after being photographed leaving a sleazy nightclub with a married man and cited in divorce proceedings. She has had to adapt to life in Kembleford, and has become a close friend of both Father Brown and Mrs McCarthy who she often refers to as simply ‘Mrs M’. It becomes apparent throughout the series that both women share a mutual respect for one another despite often being at odds with each other.
  • Inspector Valentine – Hugo Speer (2013–2014): head of the local police force, finds himself constantly torn between secret admiration for Father Brown and deep frustration with him. He would like to collaborate, but has been burnt once too often by Brown's unorthodox moral code. Nevertheless, he comes to respect his methods and even admits, upon his departure, that he might miss Father Brown. Valentine returns in the final episode of Series 8, The Tower of Lost Souls
  • Inspector Sullivan – Tom Chambers (2014–2015): replaced Inspector Valentine, who was promoted to Detective Chief Inspector and went to London at the start of the second series. A somewhat arrogant, complacent man, Sullivan is even more exasperated by Father Brown's meddling but is eventually won over. He made a guest appearance as a Special Branch officer in Series 7, The Sacrifice of Tantalus under the alias of Inspector Truman. He also appears in the final episode of Series 8, The Tower of Lost Souls
  • Inspector Gerry Mallory – Jack Deam (2016–present): the replacement for Inspector Sullivan. Like his predecessors, he is often exasperated by Father Brown, whom he sarcastically refers to as "Padre". However, he is a far more zealous (and occasionally resourceful) detective, and chases after leads with great enthusiasm, even when they lead him to the wrong conclusion.
  • Sergeant Albright – Keith Osborn (2013–2014): played dogsbody to Inspectors Valentine and Sullivan.
  • Sergeant Daniel Goodfellow – John Burton (2014–present): continued playing the dogsbody for the Inspector with increasing involvement. Credited in the opening beginning in series 5.
  • M. Hercule FlambeauJohn Light (2013–present): nemesis of Father Brown; jewel and art thief, seems to be without conscience. He and Father Brown have encountered each other at least once in every series; in series four he reveals he has a daughter, Marianne Delacroix, whom he had never met.

Recurring rolesEdit

  • Bishop Talbot – Malcolm Storry (2013–2015): he appeared in three episodes. Talbot is Father Brown's superior and doesn't like his sleuthing, but respects him for solving the mysteries. In The Daughter of Autolycus, his death was mentioned. He is succeeded by Bishop Reynard (Michael Pennington).
  • Harold "Blind 'Arry" Slow – Alan Williams (2017–present): he appeared in four episodes. 'Arry is the rag and bone man for Kembleford and also a drunk. In The Darkest Noon he mentioned that he got the name "Blind 'Arry" after being gassed in World War I and he also mentions he was a Sapper.
  • Professor Hilary Ambrose – James Laurenson (2014–present): he has appeared in two episodes. Ambrose is a theological scholar and friend of Father Brown.
  • Canon Damien Fox – Roger May (2016–present): he appeared in two episodes. Fox is part of the Diocese and reports to Bishop Reynard.
  • Katherine Corven – Kate O'Flynn (2017–2018): she appeared in two episodes. In The Eagle and the Daw, she was in prison for murdering her husband. Father Brown had helped to convict her and was awaiting her execution. In The Jackdaw's Revenge, she was cleared of the murder of her husband when someone else confessed to the murder; later in the episode she died from a gunshot.
  • Daniel Whittaker – Daniel Flynn (2015–present): he appeared in two episodes. Whittaker is a ruthless MI5 agent who blackmails Lady Felicia. In The Man in the Shadows, he had Sid arrested on false charges after he entered a MI5 room. In The Face of the Enemy, he compelled Lady Felicia to steal (by substitution) a roll of film from one of her lovers, an alleged Soviet spy, and had her arrested on false charges. Father Brown persuaded him to let her go.
  • Marianne Delacroix - Gina Bramhill (2016–present). Flambeau's daughter equally adept at theft. Two episodes.

CastEdit

 
(Series One cast) Nancy Carroll, Sorcha Cusack, Mark Williams, Hugo Speer, Kasia Koleczek, and Alex Price

MainEdit

  • Mark Williams as Father Brown
  • Sorcha Cusack as Mrs Bridgette McCarthy
  • Hugo Speer as Inspector Valentine (Series 1–Series 2, Episode 1; Series 8, episode 10)
  • Nancy Carroll as Lady Felicia Montague (Series 1–Series 5, Episode 2; Series 6, Episode 1 and 5; Series 7, Episode 1 and 10; Series 8, Episode 1)
  • Alex Price as Sid Carter (Series 1–4; Series 5, Episode 11; Series 6, Episode 1 and 5; Series 8, episode 7)
  • Kasia Koleczek as Susie Jasinski (Series 1)
  • Keith Osborn as Sergeant Albright (Series 1–2)
  • Tom Chambers as Inspector Sullivan (Series 2–3; Series 7, Episode 6; Series 8, episode 10)
  • John Burton as Sergeant Daniel Goodfellow (Series 2–present)
  • Jack Deam as Inspector Gerry Mallory (Series 4–present)
  • Emer Kenny as Penelope (Bunty) Windermere (Series 5–present)
  • John Light as M. Hercule Flambeau (Recurring guest)

Guest starsEdit

Guest stars include Fern Deacon, Sam Jackson, Laura Main, Annette Badland, Guy Henry, Penny Downie, Roberta Taylor, James Fleet, Robert Cavanah, Emma Fielding, Claudia Jessie, James Laurenson, Steffan Rhodri, Michael Maloney, Dominic Mafham, Camilla Power, Clare Higgins, Selina Cadell, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Jamie Glover, Holly Earl, Stephen Boxer, Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Gareth Hale, Christopher Villiers, Katie Leung, Marcia Warren, Adrian Scarborough, Pip Torrens, Vincenzo Nicoli, Frances Barber, Caroline Blakiston, Adrian Rawlins, Ronni Ancona, Georgina Leonidas, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Arthur Bostrom, John Sessions, Sara Martins, Martin Kemp and Richard Harrington, Mark Benton.

Oliver Ford Davies is the only actor to star in both the 1974 series and this series.

ProductionEdit

The series is a BBC Studios Birmingham Drama Village production and filming for the first series of ten episodes of Father Brown began in the Cotswolds in summer 2012.[2] The BBC renewed Father Brown for a second series of ten episodes in 2013.[3] A third series of 15 episodes was commissioned in 2014.[4] A fourth series of ten episodes was commissioned in 2015.[5] Actor John Burton, who plays Sgt. Goodfellow, confirmed an eighth series on his Twitter account in April 2019.[6]

In 2014 Father Brown was shown on various public television stations in the United States and on the satellite "Film&Arts" channel in South America. In some countries, Netflix was airing the programme in later years; by 2018, five series were available.[7]

ConceptionEdit

BBC Daytime wanted a home-grown detective show for the afternoons on BBC One. Initially, original ideas from writers were pitched, but the BBC wanted something that was less of a risk and was already well known. Father Brown had not been filmed for British television since the 1970s with Kenneth More. Executive Producer John Yorke came up with the idea after hearing a radio documentary about G. K. Chesterton presented by Ann Widdecombe.

Writers were given the choice of adapting an existing story or coming up with an original idea. Half of the first ten episodes made were loosely based on Chesterton stories. The Chesterton stories were set all over the world and at different times, but a decision was made to anchor the stories in a fixed place and time.

The Cotswolds was chosen because it had few modern buildings and was close to the production base in Birmingham. The 1950s was chosen because the detective could solve puzzles using his mind and knowledge of human nature instead of relying on modern technology. Despite this, the script sometimes includes anachronistic language (e.g., "secure the crime scene", "mojo"). The lead writers, Rachel Flowerday and Tahsin Guner, created the supporting characters. Other writers contributed stand-alone scripts that were not part of a story arc.[8]

Significant changes were made in some of the episodes ostensibly based on the original works, including The Hammer of God, The Wrong Shape, and The Eye of Apollo.

FilmingEdit

Filming takes place in the Gloucestershire village of Blockley using the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Blockley[9] (Church of England) as the St Mary Roman Catholic church of the series and the vicarage transformed into the presbytery for Father Brown's residence.[10] Other villages used are Winchcombe, Upper Slaughter, Kemerton and Guiting Power. Filming also took place at Winchcombe railway station and Toddington railway station on the heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. Sudeley Castle was the main location for The Eye of Apollo.[11] Princethorpe College, once a Catholic convent, now a secondary school, was used to film "St Agnes Convent" in Series One Episode 6.[12]

Filming for the second series included the Warwickshire village of Ilmington. Chastleton House and Berkeley Castle were used to portray Pryde Castle in the episode broadcast on 8 January 2014.[13][14] Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire provided the location for the final resting place of the famed rosary in the episode Mysteries of the Rosary airing 10 January 2014.[15] The gardens at Snowshill Manor featured in the same episode. The Time Machine episode, in series 3, was based around the Warwickshire estate of Alscot Park.

Filming has also taken place at Ashdown WW2 Camp, Evesham, Worcestershire where the TV series the Land Girls was also filmed. Laid out as a WW2 camp, Ashdown Camp is made up of 11 Nissen huts, air raid shelters, and outbuildings.[16] Also used were the 1930s portion of Shire Hall, Warwick, headquarters of Warwickshire County Council, Bloxham School in Oxfordshire[17] and Worcester Guildhall.[18] The former hospital at Moreton-in-Marsh was used for the new police station and for Father Brown's kitchen, study and presbytery.[19][20]

LocationsEdit

EpisodesEdit

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
11014 January 2013 (2013-01-14)25 January 2013 (2013-01-25)
2106 January 2014 (2014-01-06)17 January 2014 (2014-01-17)
3155 January 2015 (2015-01-05)23 January 2015 (2015-01-23)
4104 January 2016 (2016-01-04)15 January 2016 (2016-01-15)
51523 December 2016 (2016-12-23)19 January 2017 (2017-01-19)
61018 December 2017 (2017-12-18)12 January 2018 (2018-01-12)
7107 January 2019 (2019-01-07)18 January 2019 (2019-01-18)
8106 January 2020 (2020-01-06)17 January 2020 (2020-01-17)

BroadcastEdit

Father Brown has been sold to 162 territories by BBC Worldwide.[27] Broadcasters across the world include Australia (ABC), the Netherlands (KRO-NCRV, BBC First), Finland (YLE), Sweden (TV8), Denmark (DR), Norway (NRK), Estonia (ETV), Iceland (RÚV), Italy (Paramount Network) and Brazil (TV Cultura). In the US, Father Brown has been sold to 40 public television stations with a reach of 30% of all US television households. The first four series were added to Netflix streaming service on 31 March 2017[7] with series 5 and 6 added later in 2019 with series 7 to follow.[28]

Spin-offEdit

In January 2020 it was announced that The Sister Boniface Mysteries had begun production for a ten episode first series from the streaming service BritBox. Starring Lorna Watson as Sister Boniface, the character first appeared in the first series Father Brown episode 'The Bride of Christ' in 2013.[29]

Home mediaEdit

The Region 2/Region B UK releases are published by Dazzler Media.

  • Series 1 released in March 2014
  • Series 2 released in June 2014
  • Series 3 released in March 2015
  • Series 4 released in March 2016
  • Series 5 released in February 2017
  • Series 6 released in February 2018
  • Series 7 released in February 2019
  • Series 8 released in March 2020

The series has also been released on DVD (but not Blu-ray) in the US, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany.

ReceptionEdit

Radio Times called the first episode of the seventh series "as entertaining as ever" and its conclusion "reasonably satisfying", albeit with some criticisms of the plot.[30]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "BBC Studios is recommissioned to produce more series of daytime crime dramas". BBC Media Centre (Press release). BBC. 9 September 2019. Archived from the original on 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  2. ^ Eames, Tom (22 June 2012). "'Harry Potter' Mark Williams cast in BBC drama 'Father Brown'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  3. ^ Cole, Tom (1 March 2013). "Father Brown starring Mark Williams gets second series on BBC1". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  4. ^ "BBC's Father Brown rides again for third series". BBC Media Centre (Press release). BBC. 22 January 2014. Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014. The hugely successful crime drama Father Brown, based on the stories by GK Chesterton, has been recommissioned for a third series by BBC One Daytime in collaboration with BBC Worldwide.
  5. ^ "Father Brown - Series 4". BBC Frequently Asked Questions. Archived from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2015. There will be a fourth series with your favourite crime-solving Roman Catholic priest.
  6. ^ Burton, John [@johnburtons] (21 April 2019). "I can't believe that a week tomorrow, I'm back pounding the beat in Kembleford. I hope my boss has mellowed a little, but I doubt it - it is Inspector Mallory after all" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 January 2020 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b "Father Brown - Netflix". www.netflix.com.
  8. ^ Meyrick, Ceri. "Father Brown: Your Question answered". Past Offences. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  9. ^ "St Peter and St Paul Church News". Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  10. ^ "TV series filmed in Cotswolds". Cotswold Journal. Worcester: Newsquest. 23 June 2012. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  11. ^ "BBC TV sleuth show Father Brown being filmed in Winchcombe". This is Gloucestershire. Local World. 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Tune In To BBC's Fr Brown To See Princethorpe On TV". Princethorpe College. January 2013. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017. A different view of the College will be available this week when an episode filmed over the summer holidays at Princethorpe of the BBC’s new series Father Brown is screened.
  13. ^ "Berkeley Castle set to feature on BBC One's Father Brown". Gloucester Citizen. Local World. 3 January 2014. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  14. ^ Cotswold Homes Autumn Edition 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Do any of you watch Father Brown on BBC One?". Kenilworth Castle. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014 – via Facebook.
  16. ^ "Ashdown WW" camp". Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  17. ^ Bloxham School archives (July 2013), 'BBC Filming at Bloxham' https://plus.google.com/photos/114561889497419883074/albums/5901644395753643185 Archived 24 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Craig, Ian (5 September 2014). "Father Brown films at the Guildhall". Worcester News. Newsquest. ISSN 1747-9150. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Where's BBC's Father Brown filmed in the Cotswolds?". Cotswold Life. Archant. 3 April 2018. Archived from the original on 28 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  20. ^ a b Peters, Jeremy (12 September 2015). "TV murders: filming of Father Brown at former Cotswolds hospital". NHS Property Services. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2018. The former Moreton-in-the-Marsh hospital closed to patients in 2009, when services moved to the new North Cotswolds Hospital on the edge of town. But, for the last three summers, its old wards and offices have provided the main interior locations for the filming of the popular BBC 1 series.
  21. ^ "Riley RM Restoration". Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  22. ^ Father Brown (2013-) Filming Locations at IMDB.com. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  23. ^ First episode of Father Brown shown on BBC Archived 2019-01-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 26 june 2017.
  24. ^ On the set with 'Father Brown' in the Cotswolds Archived 2019-01-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  25. ^ Cotswolds Film Locations Cinema & TV Archived 2 July 2013 at Archive.today. Retrieved 24 May 2017
  26. ^ The Curse of Amenhotep Filming Locations at IMDB.com. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  27. ^ "The Coroner, Father Brown and Doctors recommissioned for BBC One Daytime". BBC Media Centre (Press release). BBC. Archived from the original on 27 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016. BBC Worldwide and BBC Drama Production have done a fantastic job with Father Brown. To have consistently high viewing figures year on year is phenomenal. It’s a real gem of a programme and this is highlighted by its global popularity.”
  28. ^ https://www.whats-on-netflix.com/news/when-will-season-7-of-father-brown-be-on-netflix/
  29. ^ Kanter, Jake (14 January 2020). "BritBox North America Orders 'Father Brown' Spin-Off Drama 'The Sister Boniface Mysteries'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  30. ^ Rackham, Jane. "Father Brown - S7 - Episode 1: The Great Train Robbery". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.

External linksEdit