More on Father Brown

I blogged a few weeks ago about my sense of impending disappointment about the new Father Brown series with Mark Williams.

I did some Googling about the series last night and have some links to share:

  • The Blockley Blower (a fairly Chestertonian name itself) reports on the filming schedule and includes a photo of filming taking place outside the local parish church.
  • This is Gloucestershire has flexed its journalism muscle and uncovered a controversy over the filming schedule – ‘some disruption as the High Street was partially blocked and they parked outside the community shop’. It’s been a slow news century in Gloucestershire.*
  • Finally, a very forthright view on the series from a Catholic website called St Austin Review, which has for the first time revealed to me that there are people with strong views about parish secretaries.

This is Gloucestershire also revealed something I hadn’t picked up earlier – that the series is going to be set in the 1950s. Again, I think this is an odd decision. If you’re not going to update the series, why not choose the era of the original stories?

It looks like the series will be on BBC One Daytime, so is presumably going to be on in the early afternoon rather than primetime.

* Bear in mind I live in Norfolk, so there is an element of pot calling the kettle black here.

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Past Offences by Rich Westwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
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8 Responses to More on Father Brown

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Rich – Thanks for those links. I really agree with you about the time the series is set in this new version. I’d rather have seen it set when the original stories were set too.


  2. Why change the setting at all? Part of the charm, I think.
    A great read with Anglican Canon Sidney Chambers as unusual sleuth is James Runcie’s Grantchester Mysteries: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death. Each chapter is a different case the vicar gets involved with, taking him to London at times, at others in Cambridge. Worth a look~


  3. The blog about the parish secretaries is hilarious. I think there’s probably room for a TV series about such parish goings-on – he even mentions parish nurses, which is a new one on me.
    Someone told me once that TV programmes set in the past always work best around 50 years before the current time – so when I was young, Dr Finlay’s Casebook was post-First World War, whereas Call the Midwife is 1950s. You can certainly find plenty of examples to illustrate that, and Fr Brown may be a new one, though it seems unnecessarily limiting to me, and an absolute travesty in this particular case!


  4. Maxine says:

    Probably whoever decided to set it in the 1950s had no idea when the books were set. Or even that there were books……dilution and rubbishing of original themes leading to style rather than substance, which is what TV producers seem to think people like watching.


  5. Judy Buck-Glenn, Philadelphia, PA, USA says:

    I actually think Mark Williams is perfect for the part. He’s wonderful as a (somewhat) kind vampire in Being Human, season 3–he has a lovely warm presence. And has a pleasantly homely face and a double chin. I would call him winning. And close enough to short and dumpy. Can’t say I would have picked the 1950’s–and I agree that part of the charm of Father Brown is that he appears here, there, and everywhere. But if I were honest, I would have to admit that it would be hard to hang a TV series on such a peripatetic priest. I think you need a cast of regulars to anchor it. If the writing is decent, it should be enjoyable. I’m willing to give it a chance. (I will buy it as a DVD, though I imagine it will play here in the US on one of the million cable channels. I don’t have cable. I do have an all-regions player.)

    I would not call him a minor character in Harry Potter. He has a significant, though not starring, role–and is very appealing there as well.


    • westwoodrich says:

      Hi Judy and thanks for the comment. You’re right about Williams in Being Human (and I’m very glad that’s being shown in the US).

      Thinking about peripatetic characters in series, you’re probably right about that too. I can only think of Knight Rider off the top of my head, and I doubt anyone would describe that as a good show.

      I’m going to keep an eye on developments on the Father Brown front so do come back.


      • Judy Buck-Glenn, Philadelphia, PA, USA says:

        I have no idea if the UK Being Human is being shown in the US–we keep our eyes on British TV and buy many, many DVD’s from Amazon.UK. From The Thick of It to Green Wing to The Book Group to No Angels to Shameless to Torchwood…and I doubt most of those have been on TV here. But I don’t know, not having cable. I believe I have heard there is or was going to be a US version of Being Human, but I know nothing about it. They did do a US version of Shameless but we never saw it, being certain it would not live up to the original.

        I am glad you think Mark Williams could make a creditable Father Brown.

        There was an old US TV show, Have Gun, Will Travel, with a peripatetic character called Paladin. I loved the show, but since I was a child I am completely unable to assess it on its artistic merits. Or, actually, to recall the cast beyond the star, Richard Boone. But I think he kept circling back to a hotel in San Francisco. So there were probably a few fixed cast members. Doubtless someone comic and a nemesis.


  6. mike foy says:

    Have Gun, Will Travel, an excellent series, with Paladin, Hey Boy and Hey Girl and the business card that always appeared in the episode.
    Not quite the Father Brown type character, but he was a man who only used his gun, when he had to.


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