JAMES FOX - Sir Michael Fielding
James Fox was convinced to accept the offer of a guest role in Midsomer Murders after reading the script of "Master Class".

"I had been asked to be in the series before, but I felt this one was a special script. It's a good one and I wanted to do it.

"Sir Michael is the head of a music academy. He's a creative man and very ambitious for his students. He's encouraging and has a strong personality so they enjoy working with him, even though he's very elitist.

"I think the students are half in awe of him and half terrified of him, which is how he should be."

Adds James: "As soon as I knew it was so strongly based on a music background I researched it and talked to people whom I thought were experts in the field."

James enjoyed working with his on-screen 'family'.

"My daughters Constance and Miriam are played by Frances Barber and Sylvestra Le Touzel. They're brilliant actors, fantastic as their characters and really good company. We were a pretty happy family off screen and had a hilarious time, although on screen we are a bit dysfunctional. We are all slightly nuts but that's very Midsomer, so it's acceptable!

"The Fielding family are almost a bit out of time and Sir Michael generally has an informal look. But there is one scene where we have a nice concert to decide which students will get to the master class, so we are dressed up to the nines for the big recital."

James believes lovers of classical music will enjoy the episode.

"All the young actors are brilliant musicians and it will have the very highest piano standard in it - any music lover will enjoy this programme."

Part of an acting dynasty, James is brother to actor Edward Fox and producer Robert Fox, father to Laurence Fox and uncle to Emilia Fox.


Richard Fleeshman combined his skills as a musician and actor in his role as aspiring pianist Benedict Marsh.

"It was my ideal job - acting and music. I get to play the piano and all the young actors they cast had a high standard. I really enjoyed it as you get to show two sides of yourself."

Benedict is one of a group of students hoping to win a place on a musical master class run by famous pianist Sir Michael Fielding (James Fox).

Explains Richard: "Benedict's big love is music and he is desperate to succeed as a concert pianist. He hasn't had the benefit of supportive parents and he finds it hard to mix with people so he comes across as a bit desperate.

"Benedict is considered the villain and the finger of blame points to him quite quickly. He becomes a scapegoat and doesn't know how to deal with it. He is literally on his own."

He adds: "I enjoyed the chance of doing something different, playing the weird outsider. I decided he should have glasses when I read the script but they became the bane of my life as they kept falling off or misting up. So however creatively brilliant an idea I have in the future, I won't mention it!"

Richard comes from an acting family and follows his mum, Sue Jenkins, into the long-running drama.

"My mum did an episode of Midsomer Murders previously and had such a good time, so she was very pleased when I was offered the part. Other friends in the industry also said I would enjoy it. It was true - it was one of the best times. We had some fantastic young actors who were great to work with, as well as James Fox, Frances Barber, and John Nettles of course."


Janet Dibley describes Dawn Stock as an "innocent in a grand world".

Says Janet: "Dawn and her husband Terry find themselves in a world they are not used to when their daughter Zoe is invited to compete for a place in a musical master class. They are very down to earth when everyone else is terribly grand.

"They would do anything to support their daughter in her talent but they are a bit puzzled about the family who run the competition and feel slightly out of their depth.

"Dawn comes across as wide-eyed and in awe. She is given a pretty conservative look and although she brings her best stuff to wear, she doesn't quite fit in. She is ordinary in the best kind of way."

Janet enjoyed working alongside Ian Puleston Davies as Terry and Lydia Wilson as Zoe.

"Ian and I gelled very quickly as husband and wife and really enjoyed it. As a couple they are part of the mystery in a way. If they feel the school is not right, their loyalty is with their daughter. If they are pushed too far, they become very strong.

"Lydia was fairly new out of RADA and I felt quite protective towards her. I refrain from giving younger actresses advice but we got on really well. I was always conscious that she was warm enough and kept her coat on - that's being a mum for you!"