|Based on||G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown short stories|
|Theme music composer||Debbie Wiseman|
|Opening theme||Father Brown theme|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||8|
|No. of episodes||90 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||45–50 minutes|
|Production company||BBC Studios|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
|Audio format||5.1 Stereo|
|Original release||14 January 2013 –|
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.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.
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.The BBC renewed Father Brown for a second series of ten episodes in 2013. A third series of 15 episodes was commissioned in 2014. A fourth series of ten episodes was commissioned in 2015. Actor John Burton, who plays Sgt. Goodfellow, confirmed an eighth series on his Twitter account in April 2019.
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.
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.
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 takes place in the Gloucestershire village of Blockley using the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Blockley(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. 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. Princethorpe College, once a Catholic convent, now a secondary school, was used to film "St Agnes Convent" in Series One Episode 6.
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.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. 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.Also used were the 1930s portion of Shire Hall, Warwick, headquarters of Warwickshire County Council, Bloxham School in Oxfordshire and Worcester Guildhall. The former hospital at Moreton-in-Marsh was used for the new police station and for Father Brown's kitchen, study and presbytery.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||14 January 2013||25 January 2013|
|2||10||6 January 2014||17 January 2014|
|3||15||5 January 2015||23 January 2015|
|4||10||4 January 2016||15 January 2016|
|5||15||23 December 2016||19 January 2017|
|6||10||18 December 2017||12 January 2018|
|7||10||7 January 2019||18 January 2019|
|8||10||6 January 2020||17 January 2020|
Father Brown has been sold to 162 territories by BBC Worldwide.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 with series 5 and 6 added later in 2019 with series 7 to follow.
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.
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.
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 (, ; 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is a volunteer-run heritage railway which runs along the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border of the Cotswolds, England.
Mark Williams is an English actor, screenwriter and presenter. He first achieved widespread recognition as one of the central performers in the popular BBC sketch show The Fast Show. His film roles include Horace in the 1996 adaptation of 101 Dalmatians and Arthur Weasley in seven of the Harry Potter films. He made recurring appearances as Brian Williams in the BBC television series Doctor Who and as Olaf Petersen in Red Dwarf. Since 2013, Williams has portrayed the title character in the long-running BBC series loosely based on the Father Brown short stories by G. K. Chesterton.
Lewis is a British television detective drama produced for ITV, first airing in 2006 (pilot) then 2007. It is a spin-off from Inspector Morse and, like that series, it is set in Oxford. Kevin Whately reprises his character Robert "Robbie" Lewis, who was Morse's sergeant in the original series. Lewis has now been promoted to detective inspector and is assisted by DS James Hathaway, portrayed by Laurence Fox, who was promoted to inspector before the seventh series. The series also stars Clare Holman as forensic pathologist Dr. Laura Hobson, likewise reprising her role from Inspector Morse and from the seventh season, Angela Griffin as DS Lizzie Maddox.
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 1⁄2 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 is a Jacobean manor house, located near the village of Stanway in Gloucestershire, England. The manor of Stanway was owned by Tewkesbury Abbey for 800 years then for 500 years by the Tracy family and their descendants, the Earls of Wemyss and March.
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 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 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.
Wolf Hall is a British television serial first broadcast on BBC Two in January 2015. The six-part series is an adaptation of two of Hilary Mantel's novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, a fictionalised biography documenting the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII through to the death of Sir Thomas More, followed by Cromwell's success in freeing the king of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Wolf Hall was first broadcast in April 2015 in the United States on PBS and in Australia on BBC First.
The Church of St Peter and St Paul is a Church of England parish church in Blockley, Gloucestershire, England. The church is a Grade II* listed building.
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.
There will be a fourth series with your favourite crime-solving Roman Catholic priest.
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.
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.
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.”
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