1 9 7 4 (UK)
13 x 60 minute episodes
15-years before Father Dowling began investigating, this quaint, period series featured Father Brown, TV’s first detective in holy orders.
Apparently ATV head honcho Lew Grade was so determined to cast Kenneth More as Father Brown in an adaptation of G.K. Chesterton’s short stories that he personally telephoned the actor early in the morning for almost three years, saying: “Good morning, Father.”
Kenneth was not at all sure he was the right man to play an elderly priest turned detective but eventually gave in and replied: “Bless you, my son” when Lord Grade phoned.
Wily and perceptive, Brown was a mild-mannered, easy-going criminologist who solved cases using a mix of human understanding and conventional detection.
Whether it was identifying a decapitated corpse at a garden party or helping a young girl to avoid blackmail, the saintly sleuth came through. His motto was ‘Have Bible, will travel’.
The quaint stories, in which Kenneth’s wife Angela Douglas also starred, were much enjoyed, though not by some Muslim viewers.
In one episode, Muhammad was referred to as a ‘dirty old humbug’, which led 2,000 Muslims in Bradford to march in protest at the defamation.
While Chesterton wrote 52 Father Brown stories, this series ended with a mere 13 of them.