MIDSOMER MURDERS

DARK SECRETS
CAST INTERVIEWS


 
Edward Fox plays William Bingham

Edward Fox used some of his own clothes to film the role of eccentric William Bingham in Midsomer.

"I am so mean that I save shirts until they are almost threadbare and wear them in the garden. I knew they would be perfect for William Bingham so I brought them in and they came in handy."

Edward's character lives as a recluse in Bingham House - but his world is turned upside down after a visit from social services.

"William is one of those delightful people, whom you think are charming and good fun, full of jokes and likes a drink. But in fact he's completely useless. He can hardly tie up his laces and is living a fantasy life," says Edward.

"He and his wife Mary are real eccentrics and have closed themselves off. The house has been left untended. The script was slightly fantastical but it was based on what could be credible. This hermit-like existence which they had rings true - some people of a certain age want to be hermits and can't stand the outside world."

The role was a rare TV appearance for Edward, star of The Day of the Jackal and Edward & Mrs Simpson.

"I am fairly selective now on what I will do and I don't watch television much. But I enjoy MIDSOMER MURDERS because it's very well made and this was a very good script. I have read so many in my life that you know the master craftsmen, and this writer kept all the threads going and moved them on all the time.

"Simon Langton, the director, managed everyone really well and the team knows how to do the job swiftly, without hurrying it. I also liked working with Neil Dudgeon as the new Barnaby. It's a very difficult task to take over from a successful previous player. He's a generous soul too, so I knew he was going to be good."

The role reunited Edward with Phyllida Law, who plays William's wife Mary.

"Phyllida and I are both old hands, I have known Phylly for years and she is an old, old friend, so being with her is very easy and comfortable, which hopefully makes our screen marriage look authentic."

Adds Edward: "I had such a good time on it. James, my brother, has been in the series and my wife Joanna was in it a while back, so I would have been the only one not in it. To make over 80 episodes is a phenomenal success."

Edward has been acting for over 50 years and his many credits also include Gandhi, The Go-Between, A Bridge Too Far, A Dance to the Music of Time, Daniel Deronda and Oliver Twist.

 

Jeff Rawle plays Gerry Dawkins

Filming Midsomer turned into a bit of a reunion for actor Jeff Rawle.

"I was in Drop the Dead Donkey in the 1990s along with Haydn Gwynne and Neil Pearson, who are both in this episode of Midsomer too. We were all in together one day so we had lunch by the river. We had a proper reunion of the show about a year ago, so we do all keep in touch, but it was lovely to see them again.

"Typically I got to wear the Marks and Sparks or Matalan suit while Neil got the good tweeds. It was the same on Drop the Dead Donkey. I don't know why people always think I look a bit scruffy!"

Jeff plays Gerry Dawkins, who works for Causton social services. He is trying to dig into the circumstances of recluses William and Mary Bingham and investigate the residents of a local artists' colony, but gets little joy.

"Gerry is a jobsworth. He works for the council and thinks everything should be on a database. He wants information on everyone so he can organise their world more efficiently. But he comes up against a lot of resistance in the village where there are a few people who want to keep their personal details quiet."

It was Jeff's second time on the series.

"I did an episode about seven years ago with John Nettles - I was an interfering local that time - so it was so good to come back a second time as a recycled actor! I think every actor has to do a Midsomer Murders during their career. It's like jury service, but much more enjoyable!

"They have such good teams on the technical and production side. These guys are on top of their game and there's a great atmosphere. I loved every moment."

Jeff enjoyed appearing in Neil Dudgeon's first episode as star.

Adds Jeff: "I was thrilled when I heard that Neil had got the leading role. We had worked together at a charity evening and have lots of mutual friends and rubbed shoulders over our careers. It's great that the baton has been passed to him - I think he's a perfect choice."

 

Beth Goddard plays Selina Stanton

Beth Goddard had a great time playing the "sexually ravenous" and "hateful" Selina Stanton in Midsomer.

"Selina is a force to be reckoned with. She is involved in a loveless marriage and her real love is her horses. She is from a country set but has a cutting edge to her.

"Sexually she is quite ravenous - she enjoys the dominant role and power that she has. She insists on her stepdaughter's boyfriend taking her to bed. She is very demanding and will not take no for an answer.

"It's good fun to play someone as awful as she is. I never tire of playing such hateful characters. She is very different from me and that is what makes it so much fun. The bigger the demon, the better the therapy, I say!"

Selina is the daughter of William and Mary Bingham (Edward Fox and Phyllida Law) who live as recluses in their grand house, while Selina and her husband Eddie (Neil Pearson) run the neighbouring stud farm.

Explains Beth: "Selina comes from a very eccentric and dysfunctional family. She had an unloving upbringing, so she hasn't had a good start in life. She is protective of herself, and covers that protection by being spiky and unforgiving of others."

"Phyllida Law as my mother and Edward Fox as my father - it was a huge privilege to have them as my parents, absolutely fantastic. The calibre of actors that the series attracts is amazing and it reminds me of the good old days of television."

The episode was Beth's second time on the series.

"It was lovely to return and to work with Neil Dudgeon as the new Barnaby. He has easily fitted in and I think he is fabulous and wonderfully understated, which is perfect for the role. He has a similarity to John Nettles but has made the character undeniably his own.

"Neil's Barnaby adapts himself to each situation, effortlessly solves the crime and takes the viewer with him. He's a gentleman, not a flashy gimmicky cop but one of the good guys, and I think that is what's attractive about him and how it will work so well."

 

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