DEATH & DUST
Stephanie Cole had to act alongside some unusual four-legged co-stars in 'Death & Dust' - a herd of llamas.
"Dorothy has a smallholding where she keeps llamas. I discovered they only spit at you if you try to steal their food. The flock we filmed with were lovely - they didn't like it if you touched their heads but they liked their shoulders and neck being stroked."
Stephanie learned to communicate with the llamas
"They hum to each other and it's a friendly hum that you have to tune into. I found the hum for 'how nice it is to see you'. I have a friend who keeps alpacas and I told her about the humming, but they didn't like it!"
The role also required Stephanie to fire a shotgun.
"It has been a long time since I shot a gun but we had a wonderful armourer on set and he helped me. I was a bit worried about it but I really got into it and enjoyed it."
Dorothy is still mourning the death of her daughter Sarah four years earlier. Her wounds are reopened when her son-in-law James Kirkwood (David Yelland) tells her he is planning to remarry.
"She's a very down to earth and energetic woman but she has terrible difficulty coming to terms with her daughter's death from cancer. It has preyed on her mind and she becomes obsessed with worries that she died too early and had enemies. She has lost sight of the fact that she had terminal cancer.
"I always get to play strong women, but I enjoy that as they are always more interesting," she adds.
Stephanie also enjoyed working with John Nettles again
after many years.
"We worked together before Bergerac and we were at the Old Vic in The Relapse. We followed Peter O'Toole and we lost the leading lady, leading man and we opened with strange things happening, but it was a happy company. It was so lovely to meet up again."
Sam Hazeldine was delighted to follow in his late father's footsteps by appearing in Midsomer Murders.
"I like the humour of the series and the other day I bought an earlier episode called 'A Talent for Life' which starred my father Jimmy Hazeldine and Honor Blackman. I thought it was great and I'm so proud that I am now in the series. I think he would have liked that.
"I feel my father is still around because everyone has a lovely story about him. It makes me feel that he is coming along with me."
Sam plays Simon Dixon, manager of a rock band, who meets Cully Barnaby when he visits Midsomer for a rock festival.
Says Sam: "Barnaby is appalled by their relationship at first but soon learns to like him - especially after Simon and Cully put down a new patio for him!"
He adds: "It's lovely to be brought into the series as a semi-regular character. I watched the 50th episode and I was surprised to see how good it was, how charming and dark sometimes.
"Laura and I clicked straight away, we drove up in the car together to do our meeting scene in Bedford, and we got to know each other. I have more episodes to do, leading up to our wedding which is filmed in June!"
Despite his rock and roll job, Simon fits in easily into Midsomer. Says Sam: "He is given a harmless kind of look. He's not high fashion or old fashioned, he wears nice clothes in a bit of an anonymous way." Sam worked in the music industry himself before deciding to commit to acting.
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