Father Brown (2013 TV series)

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Father Brown
Alt=Series title and a silhouette of father Brown on a bicycle
Genre Detective
Based on G.K. Chesterton (short stories)
Developed by Rachel Flowerday and Tahsin Guner
Starring
Composer(s) Debbie Wiseman
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 35 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Will Trotter
John Yorke
Producer(s) Ceri Meyrick
Cinematography Stuart Biddlecombe
Running time 48-50 minutes
Production company(s) BBC Productions
Release
Original channel BBC One
Original release 14 January 2013 (2013-01-14) – present
External links
Website

Father Brown is a British television period drama which began airing on BBC One on 14 January 2013. It features Mark Williams as the eponymous crime-solving Roman Catholic priest. The series is based on the character of Father Brown created by G. K. Chesterton, primarily using new stories written for the series.

Plot[edit]

The series is set during the early 1950s, in the fictional Cotswold village of Kembleford, where Father Brown is the parish priest at St Mary's Catholic Church solving crimes to the exasperation of a baffled police inspector who often arrests the wrong suspect. Father Brown uses his closest friends' abilities to solve a case even when they are suspected of the crime; and his vocation as a priest often gives him an insight to the truth, so that justice but occasionally not the letter of the law may be served. The time period is during Britain's emergence from the hardships of the Second World War, and the death penalty is still in effect for capital crimes such as murder.

Characters[edit]

Father Brown (Mark Williams) is a slightly crumpled, shambolic and mild-mannered Roman Catholic priest and is, on the surface, 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.

Inspector Valentine (Hugo Speer), 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.

Mrs Bridgette McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack) is the parish secretary at St Mary’s. She checks the facts for Father Brown, defends him from the ire of the congregation, and makes sure he eats. Mrs McCarthy is a frequent gossip and is often at odds with Lady Felicia, though she occasionally assists Father Brown in his sleuthing.

Lady Felicia Montague (Nancy Carroll) is a bored socialite with a roving eye when her husband is away. She is a staunch supporter of Father Brown and frequent nemesis of Mrs McCarthy though on occasion a sympathetic companion.

Sid Carter (Alex Price) is Lady Felicia's chauffeur and an occasional black marketeer whom Father Brown tries to keep on the straight and narrow.

Susie Jasinski (Kasia Koleczek) is Father Brown's part-time housekeeper, and lives in a nearby post-war Polish resettlement camp. (Series 1 only)

Inspector Sullivan (Tom Chambers) replaced Inspector Valentine who was promoted and went to London at the end of the first episode of the second series. Sullivan is exasperated by Father Brown's meddling and contradicting his findings, but is eventually won over. (Series 2)

Sergeant Albright (Keith Osborn credited and un-credited throughout series 1 and 2) and Sergeant Goodfellow (John Burton) series 2.10 and series 3) played the dogs-body for the Inspector.

Production[edit]

The series is a BBC Birmingham production and filming for the first series of ten episodes of Father Brown began in the Cotswolds in summer 2012.[1] The BBC renewed Father Brown for a second series in 2013.[2] A third series of 15 episodes was commissioned in 2014.[3] A fourth series is promised at the BBC site.[4]

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.

Conception[edit]

BBC Daytime wanted a home-grown detective show for the afternoons on BBC1. 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 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 to come 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 as it had few modern buildings and was close to the production base in Birmingham. The 1950s was chosen as the detective could solve the puzzle using his mind and knowledge of human nature instead of relying on modern technology. The lead writers, Rachel Flowerday and Tahsin Guner, created the world and the characters. Other writers contributed stand-alone scripts that were not part of a story arc.[5]

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".

Filming[edit]

Filming takes place in the Gloucestershire village of Blockley using the church of Saints Peter and Paul (Church of England) as the St Mary Roman Catholic church of the series and the vicarage transformed into presbytery for Father Brown's residence.[6] Other villages used are Winchcombe, Upper Slaughter, Kemerton, Sudeley Castle, and at Winchcombe railway station on the heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. At Sudeley Castle, the tithe barn and St Mary's Chapel are used.[7]

Filming for the second series included the Warwickshire village of Ilmington. Berkeley Castle was used to portray Pryde Castle in the episode broadcast on 8 January 2014.[8] 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.[9] Princethorpe College, once a catholic convent, now a secondary school, was used to film "St Agnes Convent" in Series One Episode 6.

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 out buildings.[10] Also used was the 1930s portion of Shire Hall, Warwick, headquarters of Warwickshire County Council, and Bloxham School in Oxfordshire.[11]

Locations[edit]

Cast[edit]

Nancy Carroll, Sorcha Cusack, Mark Williams, Hugo Speer, Kasia Koleczek, and Alex Price

Guest stars[edit]

Various people have guest starred in the show, including Penny Downie, Roberta Taylor, James Fleet, Robert Cavanah, James Laurenson, Steffan Rhodri, Michael Maloney, Camilla Power, Selina Cadell, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Jamie Glover, Holly Earl, Stephen Boxer, Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Gareth Hale, Christopher Villiers, Katie Leung, Marcia Warren, Caroline Blakiston, Adrian Rawlins, Ronni Ancona and Georgina Leonidas.

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (2013)[edit]

No. in
series
Episode Director Writer Original air date
1 "The Hammer of God" Ian Barber Tahsin Guner 14 January 2013 (2013-01-14)
The brother of an Anglican vicar is killed with a blacksmith's hammer. The blacksmith's wife, who had been blackmailed by the victim, confesses; Father Brown must find a killer who believes it was God's work from the victim's many enemies before an innocent woman is sent to the gallows.
2 "The Flying Stars" Ian Barber Rachel Flowerday 15 January 2013 (2013-01-15)
The Flying Stars is a valuable necklace belonging to the theatrical Adams family; when the mother drowns in a lake, this initially is thought to be an accident until the tensions within the family are exposed. An Italian coin arouses Father Brown's suspicions, and a pair of shoes that are too large put Lady Felicia's life in danger.
3 "The Wrong Shape" Dominic Keavey Nicola Wilson 16 January 2013 (2013-01-16)
Ex-doctor Leonard Quinton is foretold of his death by his Indian manservant, and asks Father Brown to look after his estranged wife after his death. Quinton is found hanged and murder is suspected by Brown and Inspector Valentine, but the unmarked headstone of a three-month-old baby buried in the garden and his treatment of his wife for morning sickness with a new German drug provides the tragic answer.
4 "The Man in the Tree" Dominic Keavey Rebecca Wojciechowski 17 January 2013 (2013-01-17)
A man stripped and pushed from a train on a viaduct is found by Lady Felicia, injured and stuck up a tree. Father Brown meets a visiting German priest, arousing hostility amongst the villagers with recent war memories. Father Brown sees to it that justice is done, though not in a strictly legal fashion.
5 "The Eye of Apollo" Matt Carter Tahsin Guner 18 January 2013 (2013-01-18)
The Church of Apollo comes to Kembleford, and Susie falls under the spell of their charismatic leader, Kalon (Michael Maloney). Jealousy among the followers leads to murder, in a locked room, of Kalon's wife. Father Brown must solve the murder and break Kalon's spell over Susie before she leaves with him following baptism into his church.
6 "The Bride of Christ" Ian Barber Jude Tindall 21 January 2013 (2013-01-21)
Two nuns die of cyanide poisoning, the first in front of Father Brown and the second while Inspector Valentine is investigating the first death. Ill feeling among the nuns, and the bottles of cyanide held at the convent, lead to many a suspect. Sister Boniface (Lorna Watson), a fan of Agatha Christie, lends a helping hand to Father Brown.
7 "The Devil's Dust" Dominic Keavey Dan Muirden 22 January 2013 (2013-01-22)
14 year old Ruth Bennett (Holly Earl) goes missing. She had been ostracised by the village because of a skin complaint the villagers believe was caused by radiation at her father's place of work. When her blood-stained pyjamas are found, suspects include Ruth's family doctor she had a crush on, her mother who had hit her, and a plumber with a similar skin complaint dying of cancer.
8 "The Face of Death" Matt Carter Lol Fletcher 23 January 2013 (2013-01-23)
Lady Margaret (Stella Gonet) runs a man down and his son Daniel blames her for deliberately doing it. At a masked charity garden party a guest is murdered in an identical mask to one worn by Lady Margaret's husband (Stephen Boxer). When Lady Margaret is later murdered, Daniel is suspected but cannot be found.
9 "The Mayor and the Magician" Dominic Keavey Nicola Wilson 24 January 2013 (2013-01-24)
At the annual village fête, the obnoxious mayor William Knight (Sam Crane), is electrocuted at the microphone. He is a man with many enemies, including his wife, (Louise Brealey), who is arrested. Father Brown is shocked by what is heard in the confessional, but it provides a clue about the killer. Mrs McCarthy's 'long dead' husband, Franc (Frank Grimes), turns up dressed as a magician.
10 "The Blue Cross" Ian Barber Paul Matthew Thompson 25 January 2013 (2013-01-25)
International thief Flambeau (John Light) forewarns Father Brown of his intention to steal the priceless relic, The Blue Cross, from St Mary's. To pre-empt the theft, Brown takes the cross in what becomes a battle of wits between the two men. The climax reveals a connection between the two men, when Brown as a 17 year old soldier at Flanders fought in the Great War before taking Holy orders. Final appearance of Kasia Koleczek as Susie Jasinski.

Series 2 (2014)[edit]

No. in
series
Episode Director Writer Original air date
1 "The Ghost in the Machine" Matt Carter Rachel Flowerday 6 January 2014 (2014-01-06)
Father Brown investigates the disappearance of a parishioner, Charlotte McKinley, who believed she was being haunted by her sister who had disappeared nine years previously. Husband Victor (Andrew Havill), a struck-off doctor, is arrested as being responsible for the murder of both women. Final appearance of Hugo Speer as Inspector Valentine. First appearance of Tom Chambers as Inspector Sullivan.
2 "The Maddest of All" Matt Carter Tahsin Guner 7 January 2014 (2014-01-07)
Ex-serviceman Felix Underwood (Peter Bramhill), a mental patient at the Danvers Retreat, dies suddenly in the street. Events take an unusual turn when he returns to life two days later at his church committal. Father Brown assists Inspector Sullivan to discover the reason for the resurrection, and gets himself committed for mental problems.
3 "The Pride of the Prydes" Paul Gibson Jude Tindall 8 January 2014 (2014-01-08)
The opening to the public of Pryde Castle, an estate mired in death duties, ends when guide Audrey Diggle (Marcia Warren), is struck and killed by an arrow. She was an expert on the Pryde's family history, including an old curse. Father Brown is convinced that the motive lies in the Pryde family's past, when a page from the parish birth records goes missing. All the family members are known to use a longbow.
4 "The Shadow of the Scaffold" Paul Gibson Rachel Flowerday 9 January 2014 (2014-01-09)
Violet Fernsley (Emma Stansfield), convicted of killing her pig farmer husband whose body has never been found, is given a temporary reprieve from the gallows when she claims she is pregnant. The pregnancy test gives Father Brown three days to find the real killer. When her husband's finger turns up in a pig's stomach, it points to a serial killer amongst the family.
5 "The Mysteries of the Rosary" Ian Barber Paul Matthew Thompson 10 January 2014 (2014-01-10)
The Lannington Rosary, missing for 500 years, is a relic blessed with healing powers. Professor Hilary Ambrose (James Laurenson) has sent an ancient prayer book containing a clue to its whereabouts to his old friend Father Brown, before he goes missing and his home is ransacked. Brown receives unexpected help from the untrustworthy Flambeau (John Light), returned from the dead. A terminally ill fellow priest, Father Ignatius (Anton Lesser) also seeks the rosary.
6 "The Daughters of Jerusalem" Matt Carter Jude Tindall 13 January 2014 (2014-01-13)
Father Brown is laid up in his attic bedroom with a broken leg, and young Father Roland Eager is acting as his locum. His film of African orphans being shown at the Kembleford Women's Institute is switched for a pornographic film. In the following days, two members of the Institute are murdered, one poisoned and one stabbed with a hat pin. Inspector Sullivan arrests Dianah Fortescue, whose husband was earlier arrested in a Soho pornographic cinema. Brown investigates with the help of Mrs. McCarthy, Lady Felicia, Sid Carter, and a telescope.
7 "The Three Tools of Death" Paul Gibson Lol Fletcher 14 January 2014 (2014-01-14)
Alice Armstrong has been treated by electroshock therapy for memory loss and depression, after she accidentally killed her mother. When her father is murdered and a rope, gun, and knife are left behind, Magnus the chauffeur is suspected together with Peter, Armstrong's secretary, whom Alice loves. The truth of a father in debt leads Father Brown to another conclusion about the deaths.
8 "The Prize of Colonel Gerard" Ian Barber Dominique Moloney 15 January 2014 (2014-01-15)
Edward Gerard, a prisoner of war who returns from North Korea sympathetic to his captors greatly displeases his martinet uncle, Colonel Cecil Gerard (Nicholas Jones), who threatens to commit him to an asylum. When the Colonel is murdered, the suspects include the nephew, the Colonel's daughter (an adopted Chinese girl) the nephew was going to run away with, the brother-in-law, and the victim's wife. Father Brown finds the solution lies in the family history and the Colonel's sexual intentions to his adopted daughter.
9 "The Grim Reaper" Matt Carter David Semple 16 January 2014 (2014-01-16)
Obnoxious farmer John Tatton has an equally obnoxious son, Alfred, who covets the young wife, Oona (Maureen O'Connell), of Doctor Crawford (James Fleet). When Alfred is killed in a threshing machine, the doctor is suspected when accusatory poison pen letters appear. John Tatton believes his son was having an affair with the doctor's wife, who is pregnant.
10 "The Laws of Motion" Paul Gibson Tahsin Guner 17 January 2014 (2014-01-17)
Audrey MacMurray (Tracy-Ann Oberman) is a ruthless businesswoman and "cougar" with many enemies. While racing her car at a local hill climb track, she is killed when her brake line has been cut. Father Brown's investigation infuriates Inspector Sullivan, who already has his own suspect in custody, and the Inspector arrests Brown for a breach of the peace to put an end to his amateur sleuthing.

Series 3 (2015)[edit]

No. in
series
Episode Director Writer Original air date
1 "The Man in the Shadows" Paul Gibson Rob Kinsman 5 January 2015 (2015-01-05)
Sid stumbles across a dead man about to be put in a river and Inspector Sullivan covers up the death as an accident. Sid is arrested when he and Father Brown investigate and Lady Felecia is blackmailed by an MI5 spymaster looking for Soviet agent who has infiltrated an intelligence base in a stately home.
2 "The Curse of Amenhotep" Matt Carter Jude Tindall 6 January 2015 (2015-01-06)
The young wife of Sir Raleigh Beresford dies mysteriously after seeing the coffin of Amenhotep, an Eygyptian mummy Beresford had brought back from his excavations, some 26 years earlier, where his first wife was killed during a rock fall; a curse on the coffin is suspected until first his son is arrested and then his secretary confesses to murder.
3 "The Invisible Man" Matt Carter Tahsin Guner 7 January 2015 (2015-01-07)
The circus returns to Kembleford and local waitress, Laura, is held to her promise given in jest the year before to marry the clown or the hypnotist. The clown is murdered; in his dying breath he names the hypnotist. Laura's boyfriend, the clown's girlfriend, and another clown are all suspected. Laura's willingness to marry the hypnotist puzzles Father Brown, even though he agrees to marry the couple.
4 "The Sign of the Broken Sword" Ian Barber Stephen McAteer 8 January 2015 (2015-01-08)
A Major is murdered on an army base by a legendary broken sword; during commemorations of the men killed during the evacuation of Dunkirk. The sword belonged to the regiment's Colonel who used the sword to charge an enemy position with his men. Father Brown has to uncover the secret of two murders; being kept to uphold the honour of the regiment. Loosely based on the 1911 story of the same title.
5 "The Last Man" John Greening Jude Tindall 9 January 2015 (2015-01-09)
The arrest of the new cricket captain of Kembleford's cricket team for the murder of the team's fast bowler, and a suicide the year before in the cricket pavilion and a match against a rival village to determine the ownership of the cricket ground finds Father Brown consoling the victim's mother, solving a murder involving blackmail, playing cricket and watching Lady Felicia as the last man of the innings.
6 "The Upcott Fraternity" Paul Gibson Paul Matthew Thompson 12 January 2015 (2015-01-12)
Father Brown is visiting his old Rector (Dudley Sutton) at Upcott Seminary for trainee priests when a student commits suicide, Brown attempts to find the truth behind his death and a student a year earlier; both members of a secret fraternity that has closed ranks. Father Brown enlists Sid to go undercover as trainee priest despite Mrs McCarthy's misgivings.
7 "The Kembleford Boggart" John Greening Jonathan Neil 13 January 2015 (2015-01-13)
The domineering father (Simon Williams) of a successful young writer, 22 year old Hannah, is murdered in a locked room and the only suspect is an itinerant traveller who comes to Kembleford every year in a caravan with his mother. Father Brown's suspicions are aroused when the murder has the hallmarks of a Boggart, an unwelcome infant from another world; created by Hannah in her book.
8 "The Lair of the Libertines" Matt Carter Lol Fletcher 14 January 2015 (2015-01-14)
Father Brown, Mrs McCarthy, and Felicia find themselves stranded at a hotel hired by Madame Chania (Ronni Ancona) and her guests, international playboys, seeking hedonistic pleasures. When a local prostitute is found murdered in the grounds and two of the guests are killed; Father Brown realizes they are all in the lair of a hunter intent on killing them all.
9 "The Truth in the Wine" Ian Barber Kit Lambert 15 January 2015 (2015-01-15)
A dead dog in a vat of wine precedes the shooting to death of an itinerant labourer and theft of wages from the safe in the study of Colonel Anthony Forbes-Leith owner of a failing winery. Father Brown discovers none of the suspects are whom they pretend to be.
10 "The Judgement of Man" Ian Barber Paul Matthew Thompson 16 January 2015 (2015-01-16)
An exhibition of valuable art at the Belvedere Museum includes a priceless artwork on loan from the Vatican. Father Brown spots his nemesis Hercule Flambeau (John Light) not realizing he is a pawn in Flambeau's plan to steal the picture and wreak revenge on the museum's curator; a man who during the war had helped the Nazis loot paintings from Jewish families. Flambeau is shocked to find a woman, he thought dead, from his past seeking to avenge the death of her parents by killing the curator.
11 "The Time Machine" Ian Barber Tahsin Guner 19 January 2015 (2015-01-19)
Lady Felicia involves Father Brown with Jacob Francis, a young quantum physicist, who claims to have built a time machine so he can go back in time to prove his father was murdered in his locked laboratory by one of his family. When Francis proves his machine works he is murdered in the same laboratory; leaving Father Brown's only option to use the machine and see who killed the father and son.
12 "The Standing Stones" Matt Carter Rachel Flowerday 20 January 2015 (2015-01-20)
Father Brown and Mrs McGuire visit the cottage hospital in the village of Standing where many of the children have been struck down by an outbreak of Polio. The desperate villagers, seeking a cure, sacrifice an innocent girl in a pagan blood ceremony at ancient stones. Her best friend, whose child is in an iron lung, is arrested for murder. When the murdered girl was discovered to be pregnant another motive emerges; and Father Brown believes another innocent is to be sacrificed at the stones unless he intervenes.
13 "The Paradise of Thieves" Diana Patrick Rob Kinsman 21 January 2015 (2015-01-21)
Father Brown and Mrs McCarthy are at the local bank when armed raiders force the manager to open the locked safe using Father Brown as a witness. The robbers flee when the vault is opened and the manager's son-in-law is discovered dead inside. As the only key-holder Inspector Sullivan arrests the manager. Father Brown uncovers fraud at the bank, by the manager, financing a seedy nightclub owned by his son-in-law; but he needs Sid's help to break into the vault to discover how the murder was committed.
14 "The Deadly Seal" Diana Patrick Dan Muirden 22 January 2015 (2015-01-22)
When Father Brown hears in the confessional the penitent confess they are going to kill Bishop Talbot the next day during a shooting party the Bishop is attending. Unable to reveal what he has heard he goes to the shoot organized by a theatrical producer and in saving the Bishop Albert Davies the Bishops Assistant is killed; and Father Brown discovers a deadly pact involving a child abuse victim and the murdered man's wife to kill another man providing unbreakable alibis.
15 "The Owl of Minerva" Matt Carter Jude Tindall 23 January 2015 (2015-01-23)
A body of a journalist about to expose an offshoot of the Freemasons, The Owl of Minerva, is found dead in the woods and Inspector Sullivan's investigations find him on the run for killing a fellow detective. Seeking sanctuary in the confessional at St Mary's; Father Brown with the aid of Mrs McCarthy, Lady Felicia, and Sid rally round to prove his innocence from a deadly organization with members highly placed in the community.

International broadcasts[edit]

Country Channel Airing
 Australia ABC Saturday nights
 Finland Yle 1 Every weekday
 Germany ZDF Neo Evenings and late at night twice a week
 Hungary Duna TV Monday evenings
 Ireland RTÉ One Saturday afternoons

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eames, Tom (22 June 2012). "'Harry Potter' Mark Williams cast in BBC drama 'Father Brown'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Cole, Tom (1 March 2013). "Father Brown starring Mark Williams gets second series on BBC1". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "BBC media centre". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "BBC site". Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Meyrick, Ceri. "Father Brown: Your Question answered". Past Offences. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Cotsworld Journal". Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "BBC TV sleuth show Father Brown being filmed in Winchcombe". This is Gloucestershire. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  8. ^ The Citizen. "Gloucester Citizen". Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Kenilworth Facebook. "Kenilworth Castle's Facebook Page". Retrieved 3 Feb 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ashdown WW" camp". Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  11. ^ Bloxham School archives (July 2013), 'BBC Filming at Bloxham' https://plus.google.com/photos/114561889497419883074/albums/5901644395753643185

External links[edit]