UK / ITV – ATV / 13×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 26 September – 5 December 1974
Writer: Hugh Leonard / Stories: G.K. Chesterton / Producer: Ian Fordyce
Period crime drama series. In the 1920’s vicar Father Brown finds himself turning detective to solve various crimes and often being helped by his former arch enemy turned private detective Flambeau.
Kenneth More gave one of his best performances as the eponymous father , just the right balance of eccentricity and studied cleverness. Father Brown has that classic 1970’s television sheen with it’s beautifully designed interiors shot on videotape to it’s location scenes shot on film.
Created by G.K. Chesterton and set in a seemingly perpetual middle-upperclass 1920’s the stories include The Hammer of God in which a lascivious village squire is murdered, the very fun The Oracle of the Dog (which sees a dog helping Father Brown uncover a murderer), The Curse of the Golden Cross (a curse and an archaeologist lead to trouble for Brown), The Eye of Apollo (money and sun worship just don’t go together – there is a great performance from Ronald Pickup in this episode) and last but by no means least The Three Tools of Death which focuses on the apparent murder of a well known Philanthropist played by James Hayter).
Episode 6 The Mirror of the Magistrate sees Father Brown believing an error has been made over the arrest of a man accused of killing a judge. In The Dagger With Wings Father Brown has to deal with the black arts when a dead wealthy man’s sons start to die in mysterious ways.
The Actor and the Alibi (episode 8) sees Brown teaming up with Flambeau to search for a missing girl who has joined a theatre company. Final episode of volume two is The Quick One in which a party of travelling salesmen hold the key to the murder of a crotchety old local trouble maker (played by Bernard Lee).
The Man With Two Beards has Brown investigating the suspicious death of an old friend, whilst The Head of Caesar has Brown tangled up in a blackmail plot involving a young girl who has been stealing from her wealthy brother. The Arrow of Heaven has a wealthy art collector who is murdered and finally The Secret Garden which finds Father Brown in Paris and finding murder at a dinner party.
Father Brown managed to attract a pretty high calibre of guest stars and included the likes of T.P. McKenna, David Swift, Michael Sheard, Rachel Gurney, David Saville, Penelope Horner, Maxwell Shaw, Christopher Benjamin, the great Bill Maynard in the Man With Two Beards, Megs Jenkins, David Lodge, Fabia Drake and Brian Croucher. The character has also had a revival in a recent BBC daytime series which updated the action to the 1950’s and starred Mark Williams as Father Brown.
KENNETH MORE as Father Brown
DENNIS BURGESS as Flambeau
ONE SEASON 26 September – 19 December 1974
1. THE HAMMER OF GOD
2. THE ORACLE OF THE DOG
3. THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN CROSS
4. THE EYE OF APOLLO
5. THE THREE TOOLS OF DEATH
6. THE MIRROR OF THE MAGISTRATE
7. THE DAGGER WITH WINGS
8. THE ACTOR AND THE ALIBI
9. THE QUICK ONE
10. THE MAN WITH TWO BEARDS
11. THE HEAD OF CAESAR
12. THE ARROW OF HEAVEN
13. THE SECRET GARDEN