'Father Brown - Season One'
(Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, Hugo Speer, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2014 / BBC America)
Overview: Mark Williams ('Harry Potter') stars as a priest with a gift for solving crimes in this hit BBC series, set in the picture-perfect village of Kembleford in the 1950s.
DVD Verdict: With Alec Guinness and Kenneth More's shoes to fill, Mark Williams steps into them in fine form here in this brand new "updating" of the classic 'Father Brown' storytelling.
And so I have to say that I really enjoyed watching this BBC adaptation of GK Chesterton's, 'Father Brown' stories. It was really perfect viewing for a late summer's afternoon. Having read all the stories I realize that some people will not be happy with the way this adaptation has been made though.
In particular, Mark Williams as Father Brown was far from the physical image Chesterton created in the stories. I for one don't think this matters as Williams gives an excellent performance in my opinion. The setting is perfect postcard England. There are a few plot holes in the episodes if you compare them to the stories, but I hope this series will attract more people to read the stories.
Each episode is self-contained, and so we begin with 'The Hammer of God,' where the brother of the vicar of the village where Father Brown has his parish church is found near the church tower with his head smashed by a very small hammer! A great place to start, to "introduce" our new Father Brown, other episodes / mysteries include, 'The Wrong Shape,' where a poet hangs himself in his locked conservatory; 'The Bride of Christ,' where two nuns are murdered; 'The Face of Death,' where Clarence Clifton is murdered at a charity treasure hunt; and the delightful 'The Mayor and the Magician,' where at a fete to raise funds for a Polish school, unpleasant mayor William Knight is electrocuted by a microphone!
Forty-five minutes was just the right length for each episode and, of course, being the BBC the lack of commercial breaks is always a plus when it comes to the DVD viewing ie: if it was ITV these episodes would be slightly longer! Anyway, at the very least, if this new series (or even the old one's with Guinness and More) encourages viewers to go away and read the stories, then it has fulfilled its mission. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:
Confessions From The Cotswolds
Behind-The-Scenes Footage and Interviews with the Cast and Crew.