It's the quintessentially English show which has become a hit around the world.

The Birmingham-made drama series Father Brown is watched by millions of viewers in countries like Australia, America, Russia and Japan.

They love the world it conjures up of village fetes, afternoon teas, old churches, honey-coloured cottages, aristocracy and beautiful countryside.

It now returns for 10 more episodes, with a further 15 already commissioned to be made for next year.

Father Brown is filmed in the Cotswolds but produced by BBC Birmingham and made by the same team that makes Doctors.

It is screened at 2.15pm every weekday from January 6, but it is shown at 7.30pm in Australia – and now its star, Mark Williams, is calling for it to be given prime-time treatment in the UK too.

Birmingham-born Mark, who shot to fame in The Fast Show and has appeared in Doctor Who and the Harry Potter films, says: “There’s a gathering storm about showing Father Brown on Sunday nights.

“I went on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show and he said it was ridiculous that it’s not on in prime-time.

“The BBC employ all these people to tell us what we like and when we are going to have it.

“I think Father Brown is extraordinarily good, and not because I am in it. Especially considering the pace we do them, because we don’t get properly funded, due to the BBC’s idea of how things should be done.

“Because it’s a daytime show we have a very limited budget but we make the best of it and it doesn’t look that way on screen – it has very high production values.

“We do the English detective genre very well. There’s a satisfying sense that people look normal then stab each other to death, but nicely! It’s a crossword puzzle for people to solve.”

Father Brown attracts 2.5 million viewers, about the same audience as the other Birmingham-produced drama Peaky Blinders, which was shown at 9pm on BBC2 and had a much bigger budget.

Each episode of Father Brown costs £250,000 to make, compared with around £1 million for most prime-time period dramas.

He is a fictional Catholic priest created by GK Chesterton, who set his detective stories in London in the 1910s. The BBC has transposed him to the Cotswolds in the 1950s.

Mark is speaking in breaks between filming an episode at the idyllic Oxfordshire stately home of Cornbury Park, home to Lord and Lady Rotherwick.

A peacock shrieks loudly in the distance as Mark takes refuge from the sunshine in the shade. He takes off his black cassock to reveal red braces underneath.

“My costume is quite hot,” he muses.

“I had to get fitted for my clericals at J. Wippell and Co of Westminster, church outfitters since 1789. I learned that the wide-brimmed hat is called a galero.

“It’s almost like a superhero costume, though Father Brown has no special powers. He is very clever, though.

“I like him. He’s incurably nosey and interested in everything, which makes him appealing to play.

“I get tired filming 12 hour days for 14 weeks, but I never get bored.”

In the first episode, Father Brown is asked to exorcise a haunted house, though he says “there are no such things as ghosts”.

He tries unsuccessfully to drive Lady Felicia’s Rolls-Royce and settles for riding his bicycle – although later in the series he falls off it after a high speed chase and breaks his leg.

“We’ve been developing bicycle action shots!” chuckles Mark, 54.

“We have a tracking vehicle, a rickshaw driven by cameraman Richard Hines, who cycles alongside me to get the shot. It’s very exciting doing stunts and crashes.”

Guest stars for this series include Nick Moran, Annette Badland, Adrian Rawlins, James Fleet and Tracey-Ann Oberman.

“The feedback has been very positive,” says Mark. “People seem to get it straight away, it feels like it’s established and been around for a while.

“I quite enjoy watching it. I usually find it difficult to watch myself on screen, like quite a few actors – I look at some things and think I look monstrous! It’s vanity really.

“But I can watch Father Brown dispassionately and enjoy the plots.

“I always like to guess who the murderer is and I’ve got better at knowing where the writers are going. I guessed this one, but episode eight is brilliant – that’ll keep you guessing right up to the end.

“Father Brown needs to work out who has done it, but more because he’s worried about their soul and the ripples they cause in the universe.”

So what next for in-demand Mark, who was educated at North Bromsgrove High School and Brasenose College, Oxford?

“I love French cinema so I’d love to be in a French film. Shooting in France is a good idea, they have two-hour lunch breaks with wine. But I’m afraid my French is nowhere near good enough.”

Father Brown also stars Sorcha Cusack and Nancy Carroll as regulars. Hugo Speer played the priest’s sparring partner Inspector Valentine in the first series, but he is promoted and moves to London in the first episode of the new series.

He is replaced by Holby City and Strictly Come Dancing star Tom Chambers, who plays DI Sullivan. He is a lot less tolerant of Father Brown’s ‘meddling’, telling him to leave the police work to the professionals.

To which Father Brown responds: “Don’t forget professionals built the Titanic and an amateur built the Ark.”

Tom, 36, says of the period: “I’ve always felt comfortable in suits from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, especially the elegant era of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.

“In Holby City I wore a suit as a surgeon. Then I was in ballroom tails for Strictly Come Dancing, in a headmaster’s suit for Waterloo Road and a 1960s suit as a police detective in The Great Train Robbery.

“I don’t think I have never worn jeans or a tracksuit on camera.

“When you’re lucky enough to have the suits made to measure, I always buy them at the end of the shoot. I have more suits in my house than casual clothes, probably about 20, and I’ve actually run out of space.

“The trouble is, I rarely have call to wear suits when I’m off screen!”

Father Brown is screened every day for two weeks on BBC1 at 2.15pm from January 6.