July 7th, 2012Trading on Chesterton without a Trace of Chestertonby Kevin O'Brien | http://www.thewordinc.org
Well, there is such a thing as the Benefit of the Doubt.
But a PARISH SECRETARY???
The BBC has announced that it will be filming a new TV series based on G. K. Chesterton's famous fictional detective, Father Brown, starring Mark Williams of the Harry Potter films. And while the linked article notes that for Father Brown "there is always a scope for forgiveness and redemption," nevertheless we learn that the producers don't seem to have faith that Chesterton's writing, Father Brown's character, and the tremendous plots that GKC penned a hundred years ago can hold up for today's audiences.
So how will they fix this? What recurring character will they add to this series to make sure they hook the clueless viewer? Will they add Chesterton's Flambeau, the brilliant French thief turned detective? Will they add any other Chestertonian inspired figure?
No, they're giving Father Brown a PARISH SECRETARY.
That's right, a PARISH SECRETARY.
For those of you who don't know this about me, I personally feel that most parish secretaries fit somewhere below DRE's and somewhere above Parish Nurses in the Hierarchy of Hell.
Put fiction aside for a minute. Ask yourself what we know about the typical Parish Secretary. We know that she runs the parish, she does everything she can to keep people away from their pastor, and she wields her power with a mercilessness akin to Attila the Hun.
The brave St. Francis eight hundred years ago took his life into his hands and confronted the Sultan in Egypt, risking torture and death for the sake of peace and the Holy Land. Today would he be brave enough to try to get past the Parish Secretary and the Desk of Durance? There's a reason St. Peter sits at the Pearly Gates; if the Parish Secretary sat there, nobody would get in.
But that's not my point. My point is - how good could this BBC series possibly be?
As Dale Ahlquist said to me, "I have a feeling it won’t be based on anything G.K. Chesterton ever wrote."
Hat tip to Tom Leith for pointing this news out to me and for ruining my day.
Oh ... and if you want to see what a TV show based on the actual Father Brown stories looks like, check out this scenes from my EWTN series, in which I play Father Brown and Frank C. Turner plays the prime suspect.