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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 January 2016
I am old enough to remember Kenneth More as Father Brown. He had a gentle charm and physical attractiveness that Mark Williams cannot quite match, and this may be why I have reservations about this series. I do like Williams' portrayal of the sleuthing priest and I love the moral and spiritual content of the series. The recurring characters have distinctiveness and humanity and provide gentle humour, even if they are a tiny bit predictable. Father Brown seems a little deadpan and withdrawn for a beloved priest. I'd like to see him being a bit more fatherly and to make eye contact with his parishioners a bit more often, but he does have the right blend of eccentricity, goodness and slight ridiculousness, as well as dogged determination.
The length of each of the ten episodes means that the stories do not have great depth or complexity - how can they, when they must be solved in 45 minutes? Nevertheless, I do love them, as well as the period atmosphere of a simpler age (the early 1050s, which I remember from my early childhood) and the stunning vistas of the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire. I came to the series late, because I don't watch television in the afternoon unless I am ill. Eventually, I was ill! I watched these episodes end-to-end and was captivated. Glad there are more to watch! Some episodes are more convincing than others, but then what has realism to do with it?
I've been to all the villages where the series is filmed (Sudely, Upper Slaughter, Winchcombe, Blockley), which adds interest as I try to place where filming took place. Archetypically English, it is gentle and embraces traditional values and so, despite the murders, it seems a charmingly secure world. That is much of its pleasure.
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on 13 March 2017
Good delivery, enjoyable viewing
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on 3 January 2014
Many of us are still in mourning after David Suchet twirled his moustache one final time and Poirot's last case came to an end.

But don't despair: there is life after he of the little grey cells - this series is simply wonderful! The BBC, endlessly mysterious in its workings, put this out on weekday lunchtimes when it would surely have got much bigger audiences in the evening. If you haven't seen it, I can't recommend it highly enough, though it departs from G K Chesteron's Father Brown in a number of ways: it's set in the fifties in the Cotswolds, for one thing. There are several regular characters Chesterton never created and several of the stories are totally new, though some are based on the Father Brown originals to a greater or lesser extent.

These departures don't matter. What is captured here is the character of Father Brown and it's perfect. As the blurb points out: 'A good man. A good detective.' He is a warm, gentle soul but no soft touch - and the steel frequently shines though. His Catholicism is more to do with his gifts of empathy than Vatican dogma - I'm sure the bishops and cardinals would think of him as a rebel...and an unpredictable one too. Needless to say, Inspector Valentine (a nod to the Valentin of the original stories) thinks that! It's not unlike Poirot and Japp, but also deliciously different (Poirot was a tortured Catholic, especially when his morals were compromised like in Suchet's versions of Murder on the Orient Express and Curtain; Father Brown is a professional one, but you suspect he sleeps more easily. It's worth remembering that Chesterton actually BECAME a Catholic because he liked the character he had created so much!)

Everything about this production is glorious: the writing, the acting, the locations...the lot! Mark Williams is utterly compelling, leaving his portrayal of Mr Weasley behind...but not completely - he shares the honest wizard's warmth and sly humour.

Don't be put off by the Dutch packaging. It's all the original series in English (you can turn on Dutch subtitles if you feel so inclined). God knows why the BBC hasn't released this DVD in this country - but then the workings of the Beeb would probably baffle the Almighty Himself!
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A cosy series picturesquely set in the 1950s. Amiable Father Brown with his faith, umbrella and bicycle solves various village mysteries - well ahead of Inspector Valentine who spends most of each episode being wrong.

Others more knowledgeable may comment (if they so wish) on how the show compares with G.K. Chesterton's original stories and earlier screen adaptations. Judged on its own merits, this version is agreeable enough. It owes much to Mark Williams as Father Brown, he usually so mild and tolerant but once or twice exhibiting awesome wrath. However heinous the crime, his prime aim is for the perpetrator to make peace with God, not to suffer the eternal damnation otherwise assured. Hugo Speer has his moments as the exasperated inspector. ("What is it with that priest! I don't turn up on Sunday to give his sermon.") Sorcha Cusack as busybody Parish Secretary Mrs. McCarthy is around for comic relief. (Some viewers may find her smallminded and tiresome.) More appealing is Alex Price as slightly dodgy young Sid, ever rising to the occasion when called upon to do so.

Ten episodes of around forty minutes. No extras.

The crimes will not exactly tax brains of the genre's fans, but it is good to be proved right when the culprit is revealed.

In short, pleasant enough without exactly exerting itself. This will suit many as, indeed, it does me - here a welcome alternative to ubiquitous crime shows so dour, fast-paced and hardhitting.
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on 10 November 2015
This is the English version with Dutch subtitles that can be switched off easily. The menu is in dutch but its pretty straight forward to work out what your options are. There is no language dubbing.
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on 6 February 2014
Father Brown has been done before, but when I saw that Mark Williams was cast in the role, I thought he would be perfect and he is. Even in regular DVD the scenery is beautiful (on a large screen no less) and the characters are intriguing, especially the basic cast. Having lived as a Catholic in the fifties (though across the pond) I don't see any errors in accuracy. I also love the pace and the lack of blood and gore. But I especially like Father Brown's concern for the soul of the murderer as well as the good guys. When this set came I sat down to watch it immediately because it was a blind buy. I watched six in a row. I hope they are doing more. It is items like this that make my purchase of a region free dvd player well worth it.
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on 9 February 2015
I received it before the expected due date so I am very impressed! The quality is excellent and Father Brown is brought to life by the excellent Mark Williams and the rest of the supporting cast.If you like English countryside murder mysteries and set before the technology age as it is set in the1950's then this is certainly a must not miss DVD to watch.
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on 13 November 2013
A delightful series, brilliant acting and casting. Mark Williams is perfect in the role of Father Brown.
In the Morse or Marple league.
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on 15 February 2014
My goodness is this an excellent series. Superlative acting from Mark Williams and gentle, intellectual puzzles. None of that hateful violence that so many detective series are ruined with. Quite the best and I include the German version starring Ottfried Fischer which is again an intellectual puzzle of the gentle nature with humour thrown in.

Strongly reccommended. Bring on series 2.
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on 10 December 2013
I have been watching this series on television on this side of the Pond (North America). Williams has the perfect balance of wit, humor, facial expression, gate, and speech for this role. Productions are well acted by all and most enjoyable. They are also taped in appropriate locations giving the episodes further definition and color. I look forward to seeing other episodes and hope they continue for years to come.3 DVD Box Father Brown Complete Series 1 - BBC - Mark Williams - Region 2 - English Audio - European Import
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