The residents of quiet Oxfordshire town have been bemused this week by the sight of a ‘Catholic nun’ whizzing around their streets on a bright red scooter.
Sister Boniface, played by British comedian Lorna Watson, is the star of a hit BBC crime drama that was created as a spin-off to the popular G.K. Chesterton-inspired TV series Father Brown.
The Sister Boniface TV crew have been in Banbury this week shooting season three of the show, which is set in England during the early 1960s. Sister Boniface is a Catholic nun at St. Vincent’s Convent in the fictional town of Great Slaughter in the Cotswolds. In addition to her religious duties at the convent, she makes wine and has a PhD in forensic science, allowing her to serve as a scientific adviser to the local police on investigations.
According to the BBC, Sr Boniface has “an IQ of 156 and a PHD in forensic science, plus an addiction to popular detective fiction and a fully equipped crime laboratory make her an invaluable aid to Police investigations.
“Mud, blood, stains, hairs and fibres. If there is evidence to be found Boniface will find it. Poisons, trace evidence, blood stains, etymology. She’s more up to speed on the latest forensic techniques than the Police.”
In a recent interview with www.britishtv.com, Lorna Watson admitted that playing and developing the character of Sr Boniface had been “an absolute joy.”
“She’s a hoot. She’s such a brilliant character to play. She’s lots of things.”
Father Brown executive producer Will Trotter anticipated developing a Sister Boniface spin-off as soon as Father Brown had ended. He eventually pitched the concept to Britbox. Season one was released in February 2022, with season two coming out earlier this year. Filming for season three began on 22nd June this year.
The location for the fictional St Vincent’s Convent is Princethorpe College, a Catholic independent day school located in Princethorpe, near Rugby, Warwickshire.
“That location which I found actually in the very first series of Father Brown,” said Trotter.
“We’re in the Cotswolds, and there are no convents in the Cotswolds. So just outside the Cotswolds is Warwickshire, which is where I live. On the bridge of the Cotswolds, is my kids’ school, which was a convent, a Victorian convent, of which there are nuns buried in the garden. And they’ve got a fabulous chapel and everything.
“They were delighted to have us back because actually it was a great hit for them because they were available to put it on their website and talk about it.”
Story by William Kelly, The Catholic Network, with thanks to the Oxford Mail