Q: Is it true they're making a "Father Brown" spinoff? What will it be about and when can we see it?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

I can tell you that a "Father Brown" spinoff is indeed in the works, based on a character who appeared in a single episode in Season 1: Sister Boniface — but your last question is a bit trickier.

"The Sister Boniface Mysteries" has been commissioned by BritBox, a new online streaming service operated by two traditional British TV networks: BBC and ITV. But that's the hard part — when it will be available is yet to be determined.

Though she only appeared in one episode — a seven-year-old episode at that — Sister Boniface (played then and on the new series by Lorna Watson, "Watson & Oliver") is a natural choice for a spinoff. She was introduced in the episode as a nun — the vintner at a convent where two nuns are murdered — but, more importantly, she's an avid mystery novel reader and a bit of an amateur detective herself; yet another meddling clergy member making Insp. Valentine's (Hugo Speer, "Marcella") life difficult.

As the convent's winemaker, she's also a bit of a chemist, which figures into the episode's cyanide-poisoning storyline. It also means she takes a very scientific approach to crime solving, a complement and a contrast to Father Brown's (Mark Williams, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," 2002) more sociological approach.

The show was commissioned by BritBox back in January. It looks like filming didn't get started before the pandemic, so a release date is probably still a fair way off. But the pandemic is only one complicating factor here.

BritBox is a relatively new platform with a relatively new business model, and that introduces a couple of other unknowns. It's owned by regular TV networks that may want first broadcast rights (the show will be produced by BBC Studios). Or they may want it to air in Britain first, either on regular TV or on the British version of BritBox, which has its own programming slate separate from the networks that own it.


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