Welcome back, Father Brown

Evesham Journal: From left: Mrs McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack), Lady Felicia (Nancy Carroll), Father Brown (Mark Wiliams), Sid Carter (Alex Price) and Inspector Sullivan (Tom Chambers) in the grounds of the vicarage in Blockley – also known as Kembleford. Pic - Gary Moyes. From left: Mrs McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack), Lady Felicia (Nancy Carroll), Father Brown (Mark Wiliams), Sid Carter (Alex Price) and Inspector Sullivan (Tom Chambers) in the grounds of the vicarage in Blockley – also known as Kembleford. Pic - Gary Moyes.

AFTER the huge success of the first series, the Cotswolds is firmly back in the heart of BBC1’s schedule with the return of hit TV show Father Brown.

Viewers around the world have enjoyed following the Catholic sleuthing priest, created by novelist GK Chesterton, on his adventures in the fictional village of Kembleford which returned for a second series on Monday.

The first series of the day-time show was first filmed in the Cotswolds in 2012 and attracted 2.5 million viewers.

And it proved such a hit with the viewing public – selling around the world in Australia, Sweden, Denmark and America – the film crew returned last summer for a second bite of the cherry.

Ten episodes were filmed at the vicarage and church in Blockley, as well as in various other locations in the area, including Ilmington Manor and Broad Campden.

Reverend David Quin, Blockley’s interim minister, said the cast and crew became part of the village during filming.

He said: “They have very much been part of the scene. We all got on very well together.

“I know they’ve enjoyed using the village pub and cafe, that’s been popular.

“I think now we are feeling the effect of having people come to see where Father Brown is being filmed.

“I’ve heard from one or two B&Bs who have had people to stay so they can explore Father Brown’s Cotswolds.

“I think we’re probably getting a spin off from that.”

As with the first series, the former vicarage in Blockley was transformed into a 1950s presbytery for the show, which the Rev Quin said was done very well.

“It’s amazing the transformation they can make with the Roman Catholic additions,” he said.

“It’s quite fascinating really.

On the Sunday we are back to the normal Blockley church.”

Viewers will be pleased to see actor Mark Williams, famous for his role as Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, returning in the lead role, aided by his no-nonsense parish secretary Mrs McCarthy, played by Sorcha Cusack.

Blockley proved such a hit with the actor he even rented a cottage while the series was being filmed and went to a church service.

“We’ve enjoyed the occasional pint in the pub,” said Rev Quin.

“We got on well. He’s very approachable.”

The 54-year-old actor, who was born in Worcestershire and often returns to his home town of Bromsgrove, said viewers can expect more of the same with the new series.

“Every episode is a solution to a crime and involves quite complex situations,” he said.

He said he remembers clearly the moment he landed the eponymous role in the show.

He got a call from his agent telling him that the makers of Father Brown would like him to do the show.

He recalls: “I said, ‘Oh brilliant – what’s the part? A murderer?

A kindly doctor?”

But she just said, “No, Father Brown’.”

He said he thought for about 10 seconds, then said yes.

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