A 2013 BBC television series adapted from the Father Brown
mystery stories written by G. K. Chesterton
, starring Mark Williams (who you might recognise
as Arthur Weasley
or Brian Williams
) as the titular mystery-solving Catholic priest.
The series takes some liberties with Chesterton's original stories. Where the originals were written and set between 1911 and 1936 and had the good father turn up all over the world, this series is set in the 1950s and positions Father Brown as the kind-hearted and insightful parish priest of the fictional small town of Kembleford in the Cotswolds. It also gives Father Brown a regular supporting cast, including Inspector Valentine (Hugo Speer), a long-suffering policeman who finds Father Brown interfering in his investigations more often than not; Mrs. McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack), the holier-than-thou parish secretary; Susie (Kasia Koleczek), a Polish refugee who works as Father Brown's part-time housekeeper; Lady Felicia (Nancy Carroll), a wealthy socialite with a wandering eye and a frequently-absent husband; and Sid (Alex Price), a local handyman and petty crook whom Father Brown tries to keep on the straight and narrow.
The first season aired over two weeks in January 2013, composed of ten episodes; half were loose adaptations of Chesterton's original stories, and the other half were wholly original. A second series has been commissioned.
- Amateur Sleuth: Father Brown.
- Canon Foreigner: Aside from Inspector Valentine, who is based on a character who appeared in the early stories, all the supporting cast are original creations.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Subverted in the first episode, which features members of the Church of England, but on the whole the series tends to feature and revolve around Catholicism, and most of the main characters are Catholic. Since the show revolves around a Catholic priest, this is justified.
- Cold Reading: Father Brown accurately pegs this as part of the methodology of Kalon, the leader of the cult-like Church of Apollo. Unfortunately, it manages to work on Suzie, who has been feeling particularly vulnerable, prompting Father Brown and Sid to try and extract her from Kalon's clutches.
- Evil Counterpart: Kalon in "The Eye of Apollo" is this for Father Brown. Both are devout men of faith, but where Father Brown believes in reason, is kind-hearted and sincere, puts the well-being of his parishioners first and cares only about Suzie's well-being throughout the episode, Kalon is a blind fanatic, is smug and duplicitous, is devoted to his church to the point where he is willing to sacrifice others to protect it, and lusts after Suzie and wants her for himself.
- Inspector Lestrade: Inspector Valentine.
- If Jesus Then Aliens: Raised in "The Eye of Apollo", where members of the sun-and-astral-spirit worshipping cult challenge Father Brown that, as a Catholic priest, he should be open-minded towards the possibility of otherworldly phenomenon of the type they preach. Father Brown points out that there is a distinction between what is possible and what is probable.
- Light Is Not Good: Kalon, the sinister cult-leader in "The Eye of Apollo", wears beautiful and pristine white robes, in contrast to Father Brown's scruffy black cassock.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In the first episode, the loutish Norman Bohen is taunting the Catholics present at the Anglican vicar's party about their religious differences, and makes dismissive reference to the pomp and ceremony of Catholicism. While Father Brown's parishioners react with great offense, Father Brown himself has a look on his face that suggests that he thinks Bohen has a little bit of a point.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Discussed by the show-runners here and here. Essentially, a lot of the main changes between the original stories and this adaptation are for reasons of cost and to adapt the show in such a fashion that it fits into the modern television landscape.
- Spoiled Sweet: Lady Felicia has her moments. Notably, in "The Mayor and the Magician", when the murder of Mayor Knight led to the discovery that members of the local city council planned to build a power plant that would uproot the Polish resettlement community where Suzie lives, she announced at the end that the plant could not be built without access to the nearby river, that she owned the land by said river, and that her land would not be for sale at any price.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: A one-sided version; Inspector Valentine gets very irritated with Father Brown's nosing into his job, but recognises that the priest often knows what he's doing.