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The ninth series has been commissioned for broadcast in 2021.
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.
Father Brown - Mark 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 Maguire - Sorcha 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, defends him from the ire of the congregation, and 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 often at odds with Lady Felicia, although she and Lady Felicia 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 Windermere - Nancy 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. His skills and links to the criminal underworld of Kembleford are often needed to solve a case. Originally a regular character, but made guest appearances 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.
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 Flambeau - John 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.
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.
(Series One cast) Nancy Carroll, Sorcha Cusack, Mark Williams, Hugo Speer, Kasia Koleczek, and Alex Price
The series is a BBC StudiosBirmingham 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 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.
Father Brown has been sold to 162 territories by BBC Worldwide. 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 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.
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.
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.
^"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 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.
^"Father Brown - Series 4". BBC Frequently Asked Questions. Archived from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 2015. There will be a fourth series with your favourite crime-solving Roman Catholic priest.