Mark Williams re­veals all about Fa­ther Brown

TV Times joins Mark Williams be­hind the scenes of Fa­ther Brown’s big­gest episode yet

TV Times - - My Tv Week - Olly Grant

Fa­ther Brown mon­day-fri­day / bbc1 / 2.15pm

Men­tion ‘Fa­ther Brown’ and ‘mystery’ and most peo­ple will as­sume you’re re­fer­ring to the crime-solv­ing Ro­man Catholic priest’s latest case.

How­ever, on the set of BBC1’S hit de­tec­tive drama in the heart of the Cotswolds, to­day’s mystery is sim­ply: what on earth are they film­ing?

TV Times has been in­vited be­hind the scenes of this Tues­day’s episode, The House of God, and we’re hop­ing to get clues about the plot…

As we look around, we see the crowds out­side St Mary’s church are clad in 1950s fin­ery. The women are in big hats, the men in best suits, while Fa­ther Brown’s vest­ments have never looked so re­splen­dent.

‘I’m afraid I can’t tell you what’s go­ing on!’ de­clares Mark Williams, 59, who plays him. ‘All is not what it seems. It looks like it’s go­ing to be ob­vi­ous and it’s not.

And there’s a wed­ding in this episode. In fact, there are two!’

Armed with this small clue, TV Times in­ves­ti­gates fur­ther…

In­ter­na­tional ap­peal

It’s hard to be­lieve, but the show has clocked up 80 episodes since it launched in 2013. Fa­ther Brown’s con­gre­ga­tion ex­tends be­yond Block­ley – the real-life Cotswold vil­lage that dou­bles as fic­tional Kem­ble­ford – to a peak of 2.3m view­ers in the UK, and more than 150 coun­tries in­clud­ing the US, Aus­tralia and Canada.

As if to con­firm that global ap­peal, a gag­gle of Ital­ian reporters have just ar­rived to in­ter­view Mark, ask­ing if he ever thought the show would do so well…

‘We didn’t,’ he says. ‘But then, I re­mem­ber ask­ing Harry Pot­ter pro­ducer David Hey­man whether he ex­pected to make all eight Pot­ter films. He said, “No!” You set out with hope and good sto­ry­telling. And I think we’re very good at that.’

One of the key things about Fa­ther Brown is the va­ri­ety. Last week’s run of episodes had a train rob­bery and a haunted house, while this week we have an­ar­chist ac­tors, sus­pi­cious ram­blers and a dan­ger­ous turn of events for Sergeant Good­fel­low.

John Burton, who plays the de­tec­tive, says the vibe on set is un­usu­ally warm for a TV show, partly be­cause many of the back­ground artists are lo­cals who re­turn year af­ter year – even the vicar has had a cameo.

‘It’s like one big happy fam­ily, and I think that trans­mits to the view­ers,’ re­veals John, 51. ‘It’s chal­leng­ing when there are lots of peo­ple about, but th­ese guys make Kem­ble­ford what it is. They’re part of the vil­lage.’

Catholic Con­ver­sion

To­day’s wed­ding story is one of the big­gest set pieces to date. There are 140 cast and crew on set, with over 40 sup­port­ing artists; the wardrobe depart­ment started at 7am to get them all dressed in vin­tage out­fits.

The church is quicker to pre­pare. The art depart­ment has cre­ated a kit that con­verts it from 2019 Angli­can to 1950s Ro­man Catholic.

‘We’ve put in a con­fes­sional box and the Sta­tions of the Cross, as well as some stat­ues, crosses and can­dles,’ ex­plains standby art di­rec­tor James Darn­brough. ‘To­day it’s mainly flow­ers, which will be left for a real wed­ding to­mor­row.’

The ser­vice is about to be­gin, so we cram into a pew to wait for the bride. ‘Wel­come,’ Fa­ther Brown in­tones, as she fi­nally ar­rives and pulls back her veil to re­veal...

Oh dear, we’ve run out of space – you’ll have to tune in on Tues­day, when the mystery will be solved!

Global hit: mark chats to reporters – in­clud­ingTV Times’ Olly (right)!

Fin­ish­ing touches:Emer Kenny is ready for ac­tion

Who’s un­derthe veil?

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