SNOW on the hottest day of the year, a Christmas dinner and authentic 1950s corsetry were the hot topics of the day as popular BBC 1 period drama Father Brown continued its filming in Blockley.

Half the graveyard at the village's St Peter and St Paul Church had been given a winter makeover as the producers of the programme, starring Mark Williams as Catholic priest-cum-crime-solving Father Brown filmed a nativity scene in 22 degree heat on Friday.

And on hand to perform as an extra was none other than Blockley's own, and genuine vicar, Rev Dana Delap, who had stunned villagers after appearing in authentic post-war clothing for a walk-on non-speaking role.

"I feel so different. I was even speaking to someone who knew me well but hadn't recognised me. It was so funny. I'm usually in glasses with no make-up and a dog collar. These are authentic 1950s clothes and hat. I'm even wearing a 1950s bra, she confessed."

The programme is in its 5th series and films regularly at the church, renamed St Mary's for the programme, and at different locations around the area. The nativity scene was complete with around a dozen children, extras, a donkey, ox and goat.

The programme's producers also let slip that the episode did not contain a murder on this occasion but rather a baby kidnapping.

"I was so pleased to be allowed to write a nativity scene. I've wanted to do one for ages but the cost has always been against us because it has to be filmed in spring or summer.," said scrip writer Jude Tindal.

"The programme is aired in January though the nativity scene will be shown just before Christmas. But they managed to get some more money from somewhere and said we can do it. The snow looks so real but they've to clear every bit of it away by tomorrow so we can shoot a spring scene. There have been three scenes shot in the snow," she said.

Producer Caroline Slater said it had been great fun organising the scene despite the problems with continuity, the heat and the fact the actors had to be wrapped up for winter and pretend they were cold.

"It was a challenge, but it has been great," she said, adding that the cost of the snow was into the thousands.

Actor Mark Williams said the snow team had done a great job. "I worked with them about 20 years ago when filming 101 Dalmations, but the snow then was more like foam. Technology has moved on a lot since."

Local residents have been allowed to take photographs of the winter-look scene which had been laid on sheets on the ground and sprayed on gravestones and the trees. The material used was a mix of papier mache and plastic.

They were served a Christmas dinner at the sports club car park when they broke for lunch.

The series is shown in 92 countries and 160 territories and is particularly popular in Australia, Canada and America.