Father Brown

1974 | United Kingdom

TV's first sleuth in clerical clothing was adapted in 1974 from the novels of G.K. Chesterton. 

Amateur detective Father Brown (motto: 'Have Bible -will travel') was amiably bought to the screen by veteran actor Kenneth More, but only after much badgering by TV supremo Lew Grade. When Grade commissioned the 13 60-minute episodes he knew exactly whom he wanted for the title role. But More, who had an impressive list of film credits to his name as well as having starred in the hugely successful BBC drama The Forsyte Saga, turned the part down on several occasions until Grade's persistence eventually paid off. 

Ian Fordyce produced the series with a careful eye to 1920s period detail and costume. 

Father Brown, an unassuming East Anglian Roman Catholic priest who was highly successful in the detection of crime, employing a methodical approach and intuitive methods, first appeared in print in 1911 in 'The Innocence Of Father Brown.' The plots were played out at a leisurely pace in both print and on TV where the saintly sleuth was aided by Detective Flambeau as played by Dennis Burgess. The series was broadcast in the US on the PBS network in the 1980s and in 1990 America came up with its own version; Father Dowling Investigates, and although that series was based on the novels of Ralph McInery it has been suggested that McInery's tales were an updated American steal of Chesterton's novels.

Published on December 11th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.