It's been nearly a year since Lorna Watson drove off on her Vespa as BritBox's crime-solving nun, Sister Boniface, star of the Father Brown spinoff Sister Boniface Mysteries. The show was the first of BritBox's attempts at taking memorable characters from BBC's long-running cozy crime series and turning them into stars of their own mysteries, and it worked like a charm right out of the box. Sister Boniface proved so popular Watson landed a Season 2 order within weeks of the Season 1 premiere, and Season 3 came complete with the show's first-ever Holiday special, which is a Christmas-centric one, with her being a Catholic nun and all.
Like Call The Midwife, The Madame Blanc Mysteries, and Beyond Paradise, the special will act as a prelude or kick-off to the new season since it will air much closer to the beginning of the next one than the conclusion of the last; hence it being labeled the "Sister Boniface Season 3 Christmas Special" or "Season 3, Episode 1" in some quarters. However, it will also be a bit of a stand-alone, as it is a feature-length adventure rather than the standard 45-minute length. The writers are also taking advantage of the expanded runtime by allowing everyone's favorite nun to star in her own Agatha Christie-style mystery, as this first Christmas special will be loosely based on the famous Murder on the Orient Express.
The first images from the special are out, and it looks like everyone is ready to get on board this adventure in time for the holidays, at least until the snow hits the village of Great Slaughter.
Here's the Christmas special's synopsis:
In this exclusive Christmas special, Britain is in the grips of the ‘Big Freeze’ – the worst winter on record. Sister Boniface and her fellow travelers are stranded in a train after a frozen coupling snaps, leaving the last carriages stranded in snow. When The Star of the Orient, a precious jewel, is stolen from its safe and a passenger is discovered murdered, Sister Boniface must use her exceptional detection skills to decide who among the suspects is responsible. But with little signs of rescue and a failing generator, passengers must also contend with a more pressing issue – freezing to death.
Watson returns as the titular Sister Boniface for the Christmas Special, along with the show's regular cast of Max Brown (The Tudors) as Detective Inspector Sam Gillespie, Jerry Iwu (Sex Education) as Detective Sergeant Felix Livingstone, Ami Metcalf (Nan) as Constable WPC Peggy Button, and Carolyn Pickles (Broadchurch) as Rev Mother Adrian. The guest cast will include Rupert Vansittart (Gentleman Jack), Siobhan Redmond (Queens of Mystery), and Timothy West (Last Tango in Halifax). Series creator Jude Tindall is the head writer for Season 3, with Ian Barber as lead director.
Sister Boniface Mysteries Christmas Special will debut on BritBox on Tuesday, December 12, and on UKTV on Tuesday, December 19, 2023. Season 3 is expected to premiere on BritBox and UKTV in 2024.