Believe it or not, I’ve been so busy actually reading those book things that I’d almost forgotten to post my opinions of the last three episodes of the BBC’s latest adaptation of Father Brown, starring Mark Williams. The opening episode is reviewed here, while episodes 2 to 4 are here and episodes 5 to 7 are here.
So far, the episodes have been enjoyable but have seemed somewhat out of phase with the typical mystery format. Either an obvious villain, or too much subplot… often something just hasn’t quite gelled. So how did the series end?
Episode 8 – The Face Of Death
An original tale and one of the best of the series. The old chestnut of a death at a garden party, a suitably complicated plot and one decent shock. Admittedly, the plot is a bit unnecessarily over the top and the killer is pretty guessable, but overall, this was good fun.
Episode 9 – The Mayor and the Magician
Hmmm. Despite having Sherlock’s Louise Brealey in it, this had a lot of potential, but a hint to the writers. The most obvious suspect as the villain only works in exceptional cases and this wasn’t one of them. Plus points for some decent character development for Mrs McCarthy and Lady Felicia, although minus points for the various characterisations going all over the place from episode to episode.
Episode 10 – The Blue Cross
An adaptation of the first Father Brown story – which was surprisingly close in places to the original story. As a TV episode, it wisely chose not to run as a whodunnit. There is a bit of a Where’s Flambeau”" vibe and, although his identity is pretty obvious, there was a clever bit to this. But the overall drama, if you put aside Flambeau’s somewhat changeable nature, was good – it almost felt like a different series.
So overall, how was the series? I think it was a quality piece of daytime telly, with an excellent central performance from Mark Williams, and I much prefer it to something like Ripper Street, but I do hope that the mystery plots are tightened up more next series. If there is another series. Which I hope there is…