Father Brown (2013 TV series)

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Father Brown
Father Brown (2013 TV series) titlecard.jpg
Based on G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown short stories
Developed by
  • Rachel Flowerday
  • Tahsin Guner
Theme music composer Debbie Wiseman
Opening themeFather Brown theme
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series8
No. of episodes90 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Will Trotter
  • John Yorke
  • Ceri Meyrick
  • Caroline Slater
  • Peter Bullock
CinematographyStuart Biddlecombe
Running time45–50 minutes
Production company BBC Studios
Original network BBC One
Picture format 1080i HDTV
Audio format 5.1 Stereo
Original release14 January 2013 (2013-01-14) 
External links

Father Brown is a BBC One detective period drama that began broadcast on 14 January 2013. Mark Williams stars as the eponymous crime-solving Roman Catholic priest. The series is loosely based on the Father Brown short stories by G. K. Chesterton. A ninth series has been commissioned. [1] Apart from the soap operas, it is the second longest-running daytime drama series broadcast on BBC Television.



Set during the mid-1950s, Father Brown is the priest at St Mary's Catholic Church in the fictional Cotswold village of Kembleford. Father Brown solves murder 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. Father Brown's success annoys the local police inspector, who often arrests the wrong suspect. Britain is still struggling with the aftermath of World War II. The country still applies the death penalty.


Recurring roles


(Series One cast) Nancy Carroll, Sorcha Cusack, Mark Williams, Hugo Speer, Kasia Koleczek, and Alex Price Father Brown (TV series) 2013) Main cast.JPG
(Series One cast) Nancy Carroll, Sorcha Cusack, Mark Williams, Hugo Speer, Kasia Koleczek, and Alex Price


Guest stars

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, Mark Benton and Richard Harrington

Oliver Ford Davies is the only actor to star in both the 1974 series and the 2013 series.


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]


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.


Church of St Peter and St Paul, Blockley St Peter and St Paul, Blockley.jpg
Church of St Peter and St Paul, Blockley

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]



SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 1014 January 2013 (2013-01-14)25 January 2013 (2013-01-25)
2 106 January 2014 (2014-01-06)17 January 2014 (2014-01-17)
3 155 January 2015 (2015-01-05)23 January 2015 (2015-01-23)
4 104 January 2016 (2016-01-04)15 January 2016 (2016-01-15)
5 1523 December 2016 (2016-12-23)19 January 2017 (2017-01-19)
6 1018 December 2017 (2017-12-18)12 January 2018 (2018-01-12)
7 107 January 2019 (2019-01-07)18 January 2019 (2019-01-18)
8 106 January 2020 (2020-01-06)17 January 2020 (2020-01-17)
9 102021 (2021)2021 (2021)


Father Brown has been sold to 162 territories by BBC Worldwide. [27] Broadcasters across the world include Australia (ABC), Belgium (VRT), the Netherlands (KRO-NCRV), BBC First (Dutch TV channel), Spain (Paramount Network), Finland (YLE), Sweden (TV8), Denmark (DR), Norway (NRK), Estonia (ETV), Iceland (RÚV), Italy (Paramount Network), Croatia (HRT) 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]


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 media

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

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


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]

Related Research Articles

Cotswolds protected area in south central England

The Cotswolds is an area in south-central and southwest England comprising the Cotswold Hills, a range of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswold Edge, above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale.

Gloucestershire County of England

Gloucestershire (, ; abbreviated Glos. is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean.

Fosse Way

The Fosse Way was a Roman road built in England during the first and second centuries CE that linked Exeter in the southwest and Lincoln to the northeast, via Ilchester, Bath, Cirencester and Leicester.

Kevin Whately English actor

Kevin Whately is an English actor. Whately is primarily known for his role as Robert "Robbie" Lewis in the crime dramas Inspector Morse from 1987–2000 and Lewis from 2006–2015, his role as Neville "Nev" Hope in the British comedy-drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and his role as Jack Kerruish in the drama series Peak Practice, although he has appeared in numerous other roles.

Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle is a Grade I listed Castle located in the Cotswolds, near to the medieval market town of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. The castle has 10 notable gardens covering some 15 acres within a 1,200 acre estate nestled within the Cotswold hills.

Warwickshire County of England

Warwickshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, and the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon. Other significant towns in the county include Rugby, Leamington Spa, Bedworth and Kenilworth.

Blockley Human settlement in England

Blockley is a village, civil parish and ecclesiastical parish in the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England, about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Moreton-in-Marsh. Until 1931 Blockley was an exclave of Worcestershire.

Father Brown Character created by British writer G.K. Chesterton.

Father Brown is a fictional Roman Catholic priest and amateur detective who is featured in 53 short stories published between 1910 and 1936 written by English novelist G. K. Chesterton. Father Brown solves mysteries and crimes using his intuition and keen understanding of human nature. Chesterton loosely based him on the Rt Rev. Msgr. John O'Connor (1870–1952), a parish priest in Bradford, who was involved in Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism in 1922.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

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Stanton, Gloucestershire Human settlement in England

Stanton is a village and civil parish in Tewkesbury Borough, Gloucestershire, England. The village is a spring line settlement at the foot of the Cotswold escarpment, about 2 12 miles (4 km) southwest of Broadway in neighbouring Worcestershire. Broadway is Stanton's postal town. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 198.

Cirencester and Tewkesbury was a parliamentary constituency in Gloucestershire which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was created for the 1918 general election and abolished for the 1997 general election when it was partly replaced by the new constituencies of Cotswold and Tewkesbury.

Stanway House

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Nancy Carroll is an English actress. She has worked extensively in theatre productions, particularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She also has numerous film and television credits, including a long-running feature role as Lady Felicia in the BBC series Father Brown.

Turkdean Human settlement in England

Turkdean is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England, approximately 30 km (20 mi) to the east of Gloucester. It lies in the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Laverton, Gloucestershire Human settlement in England

Laverton is a village in Tewkesbury Borough in Gloucestershire, England. It lies less than a mile south of the village of Buckland, and is in the civil parish of Buckland. The cluster of cottages and farmhouses are built of local Cotswold stone, the oldest dating back at least to the 17th century. A long distance path crosses the village.

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