John Nettles feels 'spoilt' - because of the star names who make guest appearances in Midsomer Murders.
"In this episode we have Jenny Agutter who is wonderful. She has a very special beauty and is so elegant. I'm exceptionally lucky to have such actresses to work alongside. This series we also have Lucy Cohu, Janet Suzman, Saskia Reeves and Caroline Langrishe, so I am very spoilt.
"More than any other drama of its kind, Midsomer casts artists who are classically trained. Many join us from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the English National Theatre. As a result I have been fortunate enough to work with countless valued friends and to meet many more. Working with people you get on with is so important, especially when the days are long and we film in all weathers, locations and at all times of the day."
"The Creeper" also features Rik Mayall, Nickolas Grace, Julian Wadham and George Costigan.
Says John: "Rik Mayall was a complete surprise. You think of all the anarchy but he was surprisingly disciplined and controlled. He was also very funny, of course, and great to work with.
"I had worked with George Costigan on an episode of Bergerac so we go back a long way together. He always plays terrifying characters but he is such a lovely man and it was good to meet up with him again. Nathalie Cox who plays his daughter Tallis is a model as well as an actress and she was very good."
Barnaby has to probe the grandeur of high society when a man dies following a lavish dinner party at a country house. At the same time, a housebreaker dubbed 'the Creeper' is terrorising Midsomer.
Explains John: "Someone is breaking into the grand houses in the dead of night and taking things, although not necessarily expensive items. At one point he or she comes into Barnaby's bedroom which gives Mrs Barnaby quite a turn. Nothing was going on in their bedroom, as usual!"
John has been a long-running player with the RSC and his other TV credits include The Liver Birds, A Family At War, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet and The Hound of the Baskervilles. He has also narrated several major TV series.
At the start of the New Year, John will be half way through filming his final series of Midsomer Murders.
"I've had a tremendous time over the past 13 years and there's no doubt that 2010 will be a memorable one for me as I will complete my last four films and bid an emotional farewell to Midsomer," he says.
Jenny Agutter was delighted to renew her working relationship with John Nettles as part of dysfunctional Midsomer family the Chetthams.
"I play Lady Isobel who is very feminine but full of contradictions. She's a little eccentric in an English way, not always showing her true feelings about things. She covers up for the family who are somewhat dysfunctional.
"It was lovely to work with John again. We played the Capulet parents in a television adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and we have since done a programme about automobiles. I enjoy watching Midsomer Murders and friends and family were pleased to hear I was going to do one of the episodes, as they are all fans of the series.
"I choose my parts in two ways - first if the role itself is interesting and then if I like the company, the director, the producer and the actors involved. I love John Nettles' work and his company. It's a series that has a great reputation and it was fun to do."
"I enjoyed discovering new corners of the countryside, although I had visited the Chilterns, I had never seen any of the locations we filmed at. They were typical English landscapes, totally idyllic.'
Jenny also enjoyed acting alongside Rik Mayall.
"Rik was a joy and great fun to be around. He comes in larger than life from rehearsal onwards and the performance doesn't go down. He arrived at the readthrough fully prepared, attacked his role with gusto and kept on building his character through rehearsal to the final take. He is full of energy and never sits quietly for a moment. The complete antithesis of John Nettles who is wonderfully laid back.
Jenny made her name as a teenager in The Railway Children and Walkabout, her many credits include Logan's Run, An American Werewolf in London, Equus, Blue Juice. Her recent TV credits are Spooks,The Alan Clark Diaries, The Invisibles and Monday Monday.
Rik Mayall has his eye on John Nettles' job in Midsomer Murders.
"John has always been my biggest hero - that's why I wanted to do the part. I have always wanted to play Barnaby so you never know, come 2011 if they want me, I am available!"
Rik plays David Roper, a friend of the upmarket Chettham family - and a bit of a drunkard.
"The role appealed because there's a bit of a fighting, a bit of being carried upstairs and the promise of working with Jenny Agutter. Roper is not a well dressed man so when people see me in real life, they will think what a cool, well-dressed, sober and un-violent man I am."
Adds Rik: "I was very impressed by how fantastically efficient an organisation it was. I thought I was a wild danger man, but they seemed to take me on quite effortlessly!"
Rik made his name as one of Britain's foremost alternative comedians and was a member of the Comic Strip. His credits encompass both comedy and drama and include The Young Ones, Bottom, The Dangerous Brothers, The New Statesman, Carry On Columbus, The Canterville Ghost, Jonathan Creek and Minder. He has also voiced many animated characters.
Julian Wadham was pleased to come back to life in Midsomer Murders.
"I was shot dead in a previous episode about 10 years ago so I am a corpse that has returned. It was lovely to be back as so many of the crew hadn't changed and the atmosphere is good. It was like returning to be with old friends."
This time around, Julian plays Sir William Chettham, a baronet who has hit hard times.
"He is a decent man, but he's weak. William is conventional and his aspirations are conventional, such as wanting to see the family line continue. That is both his strength and his weakness.
"What I particularly liked is that nobody is exactly who they think they are, literally in terms of their DNA, which makes for an interesting environment. It's also interesting to see the pressures people put onto their children."
The role reminded Julian of an earlier role as a baronet.
"Funnily enough, I played a character called Sir James Chetham in Middlemarch so it's the second time I've played a baronet with that name."
Adds Julian: "It was lovely to work with John Nettles again. As well as my earlier time on Midsomer Murders I did an episode of Bergerac, where I murdered his French wife. He has forgiven me now, I think, because the first thing he did when we met up was whisk me off to the pub and break open a bottle of champagne!"
Julian's other credits include The English Patient, The Madness of King George, Maurice, Goodbye Cruel World, The Government Inspector, My Boy Jack, Lewis and forthcoming feature film Legacy.
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