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Father Brown Stories Radio Plays


The Father Brown Stories were written by G K Chesterton. Father John Brown was a Roman Catholic priest from East Anglia who solved mysteries by intuition rather than detection, he was famed for carrying an umbrella. The vicar criminologist is often helped by the criminal Flambeau. The radio plays were 30 minutes in length for each episode and were narrated and starred Andrew Sachs.

The Father Brown Stories were originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 1984 and 1987. They are often repeated on BBC7.

The first Father Brown tale was published in Story Teller magazine in 1910. There were over 50 Father Brown stories written by G. K. Chesterton.

Father Brown comes across as a bumbler who doesn’t seem to know what is going on, though the reality is that he is sharp and clear witting, having an understanding of the criminal mind and methods.


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Father Brown Stories Episode Guide


The Blue Cross: Flambeau, the master of disguise, is on the run from the police. Father Brown is in the port departing to the boat train. The favourite costume of Flambeau is as a priest and Father Brown soon finds himself under suspicion despite not being the same height or build. The detective soon takes an interest in the Father's sapphire cross and is distracted from boarding the train. Fortunately Father Brown managed to get aboard and soon befriends a tall priest and leads the detectives on a trail of salt, sugar, apples, peppermints and broken windows.



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The Absence Of Mr Glass: The unusual behaviour of a young man sparks concern in a seaside town. Father Brown receives an interesting invitation via Flambeau - a retired detective from Baker Street who is now bee keeping at the coast. He now goes by the name of Doctor Hood. The two detectives and the criminal start to discuss crime cases and monograms and are soon joined by a distressed Maggie McNab who thinks that her fiance, Todd Hunter, has been murdered by a man called Mr Glass. The trio rush to his home and find him in a locked room, tied and gagged. Father Brown refuses to untie or ungag Mr Hunter until they examine the room.


The Perishing Of The Pendragons: Father Brown gets taught how to sing sea shanties by Sir Cecil and Flambeau but is more interested in controlling his sea sickness. Father Brown is the only person on board who can sniff a strange smell. They set to land and meet Captain Pendragon who is nicknamed The Admiral. He is busy chopping down a tree with his cutlass. The group are invited to dine with The Admiral and are served by his cannibal servants. After dinner The Admiral brings out the family bible and tells the tale of a Cornish family curse.


The Arrow Of Heaven: The dithering detective Father Brown still has not found his sea legs and has to go to New York. The American customs officer pokes fun at Father Brown by asking if he has his famous English umbrella. He meets Uncle Hickory who is a Colonel in the US Army and learns about the curse of the coptic cup. Each owner has received threatening letters and ended up dead. Mr Merton now owns the cursed cup - will he live long enough to enjoy the jewel crusted relic?


The Mistake Of The Machine: Father Brown visits his friend who is a vicar at a prison. The prison governor, Mr Usher, is a lover of gadgets and has an electric machine he likes to use on prisoners. Father Brown reads about Last Trick Todd in the pink paper and then the prisoner governor tells Father Brown about Oscar Ryan and Drugger Doyle. The suspect is locked away, but has the prison governor got the right man?


The Curse Of The Golden Cross: Father Brown takes to sea again. His fellow passengers do a sweepstake about how many miles the ship travels each day. They advise him to avoid strawberry jam to prevent his seasickness. Each passenger is soon advising Father Brown on cures for his seasickness. The conversation turns to the Byzantine Bishop and soon Father Brown and his fellow passengers on the sea voyage become entangled in a murder mystery involving embalming, gold, a curse and tomb raiding.

The Actor And The Alibi: Father Brown is called to the theatre to help with an actress who has locked herself in her dressing room. She will only speak Italian so Father Brown is called upon to interpret. A murder is then committed in a theatre, yet most of the actors are on stage. Can Father Brown help the police in their investigation?


The Queer Feet:

The Eye Of Apollo:

The Invisible Man:

The Honour Of Israel Gow:

The Hammer Of God:

The Sins Of Prince Saradine:


Cast List For Father Brown


Andrew Sachs as Father Brown
Olivier Pierre as Monsieur Flambeau
Bernard Archer as Doctor Orion Hood
Bill Wallace as Bagshaw
Alan Thompson as the Sergeant
Robin Summers as the Waiter
Edward Kelsey as the The Admiral
Brian Hewlett as Sir Cecil Fanshaw
Keith Crawshaw as Tragier
TP McKenna as O'Connor


Father Brown Stories was dramatised by John Scotney the series was produced by Alec Reid.

Trivia About Father Brown


There was a television series in the 1970s about the adventures of Father Brown. It starred Kenneth More.

Prior to this, in 1954, Alec Guinness starred in the film, Father Brown. In America it was released as The Detective. Experiences on the film set, whilst dressed as the priest, caused Alec Guinness to convert to Catholism.

The author, G.K Chesterton, wrote 48 Father Brown short stories. They were compiled in five books.

The inspiration for the character of Father Brown came from a Yorkshire parish priest in Bradford called Father John O'Connor who was involved in Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism in 1922.

Andrew Sachs is best known as Manuel the Spanish waiter in the TV sitcom Fawlty Towers. On radio he has played many characters such as Skagra in Doctor Who Shada, Snowy in Tintin and Doctor John Watson in Sherlock Holmes.

The episode The Perishing Of The Pendragons starred two regular actors from the radio soap The Archers. These were Brian Hewlett (Neil Carter) and Edward Kelsey (Joe Grundy).

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