Father Brown star Mark Williams reveals the SECRET of the show’s success as it returns

Father Brown series eight
(Image credit: BBC Studios/Gary Moyes)

Father Brown is back today at 2.15pm on BBC1!

Father Brown star Mark Williams has revealed that the secret to the show’s success is that it’s an “antidote to what most boxsets are about nowadays”.

The Harry Potter actor returns today as the crime-solving Priest for series eight of the BBC1 hit. And Mark says the show, which is based on the short stories by GK Chesterton, has proved so popular because of its storytelling and the fact it’s very different to a lot of modern TV.

Asked why the show is so successful, Mark replied: “I think it is about storytelling. You are being told a story every episode - and that’s what people love. It’s like reading a comfortable novel. There isn’t a lot of urban anger, or zombies, or dragons. The series are an antidote to what most boxsets are about nowadays.”

Father Brown on his bike in series eight

Father Brown with his trusty bike (Image credit: BBC Studios/Gary Moyes)

Mark admits when Father Brown started in 2013 he had no idea how popular it would become.

“We set out to do a good job. The rest is audience taste. I was once in Cartagena in Spain in a sweet shop and a little girl came up to me and threw her arms around my legs saying: ‘Father Brown!’ That’ll do for me.”

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And Mark promises that fans are in for a treat in the new 10-part series. “We have some great episodes in store. We have an artist who has an obsession with his model, a beekeeper and her rather strange life with an adopted son, and a great big fashion episode which gives a chance for Claire Collins, our brilliant designer, to show off what 1950s couture was like.

“We have also had a canal episode because the Cotswolds does have a canal through it; in the 1950s there were still boats carrying coal. They are not like cars; you can’t just turn them around so that was quite fun to film! We use Worcester Cathedral for a choir competition and we’ve got a visit of a convention of jesters to the village and things get very dark, and the return of Flambeau, who comes against up some really hard-hitting gangsters.”

Mrs McCarthy in Father Brown

Mrs McCarthy is not one to gossip but... (Image credit: BBC Studios/Gary Moyes)

Despite the police’s continued lack of faith in Father Brown’s sleuthing skills, Mark says the clergyman is a great detective. “He is like Miss Marple; it is the unimportant which is important, which G.K. Chesterton said himself and I think possibly Agatha Christie took to heart.”

So, when does Father Brown return to BBC1?

Father Brown is back on BBC1 on January 6th at 2.15pm.

And who stars in series eight of Father Brown?

Flambeau in series eight of Father Brown

Charismatic villain Flambeau will be back in series eight of Father Brown (Image credit: BBC Studios/Gary Moyes)

The characters back for series right include Lady Felicia (played by Nancy Carroll), Sid Carter (Alex Price), Hercule Flambeau (John Light), Blind ‘Arry (Alan Williams), Chief Inspector Sullivan (Tom Chambers) and for the first time since 2014, Chief Inspector Valentine (Hugo Speer).

Are there any famous guest stars in the new series of Father Brown?

Yep, Niamh Cusack, Nigel Planer and Pippa Haywood will all feature.

Father Brown is back on BBC1 on January 6th at 2.15pm.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!