Gwilym Lee with Neil Dudgeon © ITV
A stolen crime novel, celebrity magic, a folk festival and the launch of a new English sparkling wine become the backdrops for murder and mayhem when Neil Dudgeon and Gwilym Lee return to the beautiful but deadly countryside of Midsomer in a new series of Midsomer Murders.
Barnaby must also juggle life as a new dad to baby Betty, with the support of his wife Sarah.
As ever, the episodes feature a stellar array of guest stars including Joe Absolom, Dean Andrews, Claire Bloom, Mark Bonnar, Daniel Brocklebank, Amanda Burton, Rosie Cavaliero, Ruth Gemmell, Lucie Jones, Adam Kotz, Naoko Mori, Lloyd Owen, Clarke Peters, Andrew-Lee Potts, Jack Shepherd, Una Stubbs, Georgia Taylor and Lia Williams.
There's also the return of the Barnabys' much loved pet, Sykes the dog. In the first episode, "The Dagger Club", a newly-discovered novel by deceased Midsomer crime-writer George Summersbee at the Luxton Deeping Crime Festival is stolen. A woman is fatally electrocuted by a booby-trapped roulette wheel. Can Barnaby and Nelson untangle a web of jealousy and obsession to find the killer?
The second episode "Murder by Magic" opens when a pub landlady is crushed to death during a magic show in Midsomer Oaks. Barnaby and Nelson uncover conflict between the village church and ancient pagan traditions. Is famous magician and new Midsomer resident Gideon Latimer to blame or is he the target?
In "The Ballad of Midsomer County", a ballad made famous by late, lamented folk singer Johnny Carver might be an inspiration for murder. Did someone want to kill Toby Winning for threatening to take the Little Crosby Folk Festival away from Midsomer - or is the true motive something hidden for 20 years?
In the final episode, "A Vintage Murder", the fizz goes out of a sparkling wine launch whenthe glasses are laced with poison. Who is targeting the Midsomer Vinae Winery and whatdoes the attack have to do with the death of a child in a hit-and-run accident?
Executive Producer Jo Wright says: "Midsomer Murders may have a touch of old fashioned charm about it, but actually the themes we cover are modern issues affecting and reflecting today's society. Wine production and commercial festivals are part of today's countryside as is the influx of more traditionally urban families, like our celebrity magician buying up the local country house. The mixture of town and country and the clashes thatbrings works really well for us.''
Despite its picture postcard setting, more than 300 people have died before their time in Midsomer. Bizarre and gruesome murder implements since the series began include electrocution from a faulty microphone, death by poisonous frog, a French guillotine, a hatpin in the ear, bottles of relish, a tower of newspapers, a gargoyle from a roof and shelves of Midsomer Blue cheese.
The new episodes are written by Chris Murray, Rachel Cuperman & Sally Griffiths, Paul Logue and Lisa Holdsworth and directed by Alex Pillai, Charles Palmer, Renny Rye and Nick Laughland. The producer is Phil Hunter and the executive producer is Jo Wright.
If you think you fit this bill, do contact Cactus TV at the e-mail address below.
John Nettles will be in Heildeberg, Germany on 10th October 2014 to talk about his book, Jewels & Jackboots. More info. at the following link - http://www.jewelsandjackboots.com/translations.html
Am sure everyone will be pleased to know that a new series has now started filming. Series 17 should consist of 4 or 5 episodes. A new producer, Phil Hunter, also appears to be on board.
It's a time of joy and happiness in Midsomer for once - Christmas is coming and DCI Barnaby is about to become a dad.
As Midsomer Murders returns to ITV, Barnaby and his wife Sarah are celebrating the news that she is pregnant.
It's not the only change facing Barnaby in the five-part series - new detective Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee) moves into the patch, taking up his posting just in time for an investigation at a 'haunted' house.
The regular team is completed by the return of Tamzin Malleson as pathologist Dr Kate Wilding. Kate becomes landlady to DS Nelson and, together with the Barnabys, helps him celebrate his first Christmas in Midsomer.
Baby Barnaby, who is due to make an appearance later in the series, was written into the drama when actress Fiona Dolman discovered she was pregnant.
The pregnancy was a surprise, but much longed-for, for single mum Fiona. In real life, her baby Madeleine Charlotte was born in July.
Says Fiona: "I didn't think I'd ever have a child so I feel very blessed. I am very happy to bring up the baby on my own as I have incredible support and love from my family.
"Things might not be perfect but from the moment I held Madeleine in my arms we felt like a team. I've got so much love around me, so I know we're going to be all right."
She adds: "Everyone on Midsomer Murders has been so supportive and lovely. I went back in October to film the fifth episode and Neil was very excited for me.
"I'm sure the Barnabys will be good parents as they are both practical and have a good relationship of equals. They share a fundamental set of values and approach problems in a similar sort of way. The only problem is whether Sykes the dog feels has been usurped by the newest member of the family!"
The festive Midsomer Murders episode, "The Christmas Haunting", is set in Morton Shallows. DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson investigate the fatal stabbing of a man with an antique sword during a ghost-hunting party at a 'haunted' manor house. Is blacksmith's daughter Rose Wilton seeking revenge from the beyond the grave, or can Barnaby and Nelson find a more earthly motive behind the murder and trap the killer?
Guest stars in the episode include Elizabeth Berrington, Les Dennis, Mark Heap, Emily Joyce, James Murray and Hannah Tointon. "The Christmas Haunting" is written by Chris Murray, directed by Nick Laughland, produced by Louise Sutton and the executive producer is Jo Wright.
To mark Midsomer's 100th episode,
'The Killings at Copenhagen' will be partly filmed in Denmark, whilst
in the U.K. it will return to the iconic location, 'Badger's Drift'.
DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson travel to Copenhagen when a body is
discovered that links back to a family that live in Midsomer. Danish
actors that will star in this special episode include Birgitte Hjort
Sorensen (Borgen) and Ann Eleanora Jorgensen (The Killing). Jo
Wright, Executive Producer says 'The Killings at Copenhagen' came
about because we wanted to do something special to mark the 100th
episode and it's great to be working with DR, the Danish broadcaster.
Source : Midsomer Murders official Facebook page
There will now be 5 new episodes in Series 16.
'The Christmas Haunting' should be the first episode to go out on ITV. Obviously this will be scheduled around the festive season.
Gwilym Lee joins Midsomer Murders in brand new series for ITV
Gwilym Lee is the new face to join Midsomer following the departure of Jason Hughes as DS Jones. Gwilym will play DS Charlie Nelson the new partner to DCI John Barnaby [Neil Dudgeon] helping to solve the many murders that crop up in the county of Midsomer.
The duo will start filming five new episodes for the sixteenth series in April for transmission on ITV later this year.
Gwilym said today: 'I am delighted to be joining such a popular and long running series as Midsomer Murders. I have always watched it and can't wait to start work on it now, as a regular character. It's a bit of a dream come true and I am even looking forward to the various stunts that lie ahead of me - I know Barnaby doesn't like jumping into freezing lakes!'.
Neil Dudgeon said: 'We've met and got on really well and I really look forward to working with him this year. It will be good to bring a new character into the series - and keep Barnaby on his toes!'.
Jo Wright, Executive Producer said: 'We looked long and hard for the right person and feel that Gwilym can bring so much to the new series of Midsomer Murders. I know he is a great choice, and he will work so well alongside Neil Dudgeon'.
Louise Sutton, Producer added: 'He is a delight to be with, enthusiastic and will be a great addition to the series. It will show a totally new dynamic to the partnership with Barnaby which I am sure the viewers will enjoy.'
Gwilym's TV credits include: Restless, Fresh Meat; The Hollow Crown, Land Girls, and his many theatre credits include The Promise, Othello, Hamlet, Oedipus and Richard III for the National, RSC, the Crucible and the Donmar, and King Lear on Broadway.
Filming on a new series of Midsomer Murders starts shortly, though sadly Jason Hughes will not be in these stories. His replacement has not been announced as yet but I'm sure we will hear something soon.
Good news for French viewers, France 3 will start showing Series 15 on 24th March.
One of the Midsomer script writers, Douglas Watkinson, is set to have his second book published soon. It is called 'Easy Prey' and is a follow on to 'Haggard Hawk', his first English Country Crime novel. The book should be available to buy on Amazon shortly and will be published under his pen name Marcus Barr. A third book is due out late summer.
The U.K. series 15 DVD box set is now available to buy from Acorn Media's site - http://www.acornmediauk.com If you place an order from them before May 6th they will enter you in a prize draw to win a signed Midsomer Murders script. There are 3 scripts available to win - 'Death & the Divas', 'The Sicilian Defence' and 'Schooled in Murder'.
JANUARY 2ND 2013
Neil Dudgeon appeared on the ITV1 programme 'This Morning' to promote the new episode 'Death & the Divas'. He also said that filming will commence again at Easter so it looks like we are in for a further series of Midsomer!
Filming wraps on the last episode of Series 15 at the end of August. There is still no news about a further series being commissioned. As soon as I hear anything I'll post details here. Let's just keep our fingers crossed for now.
Maureen Lipman has been filming a new episode of Midsomer Murders - more details to follow.
Meanwhile Neil Dudgeon has joined the Chenies & Latimer XI for a match against the Lashings World XI as part of Chenies village Diamond Jubilee celebrations - Chenies & Latimer Diamond Jubilee
As part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations the Lashings World XI Cricket Team will be playing the Chenies Guest XI in the village of Chenies, Buckinghamshire on Monday, 4th June 2012. Neil Dudgeon and Jason Hughes will be members of the Chenies Team at this event. Tickets can be purchased from 'Brown Paper Tickets' - http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/23077
Filming has now started on 4 more Series 15 episodes of Midsomer Murders. Series 16 has yet to be commissioned by ITV. As soon as I hear any news I'll post it here.
Sadly Celia Sheen, who played the
theremin for the Midsomer Murders theme tune, passed away at her home
at the end of October. She had been battling with cancer for some time.
with thanks to Anthony Haine for this info.
Two new episodes of Midsomer have now been commissioned. These will start filming in September 2011.
Baffling new cases include the gruesome discovery of a farmers body in a stone circle in Midsomer Mow just days before the spring equinox, and the disappearance of a VAT inspector who was investigating illicit alcohol stills in Midsomer Abbas. The stories also introduce Tamzin Malleson as Dr Kate Wilding, a no-nonsense pathologist who takes up the mantel from long serving Dr. Bullard (Barry Jackson). Guest stars joining the roll call of famous actors who have played victims, murderers and eccentric villagers over the years include Kevin Doyle, Barbara Flynn, Lee Ross, Francis Magee, Warren Clarke, Patrick Ryecart, Denise Black and Richard Hawley. Fiona Dolman returns as Barnabys wife Sarah.
John has recently been filming in Jersey again. The production company involved are filming on behalf of the 'Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust' who have commissioned them to create a long format infomercial for the web. This will be go live in September - more info. and pictures to follow then.
Former BBC and Talkback drama executive, Jo Wright, is set to take over from Brian True-May as the show's producer. She is due to oversee the 'yet to be commissioned' development of series 15. It has been reported that the programme will probably be 'refreshed'. |The new series will go into production in the autumn if it is commissioned.
Jo Wright was previously head of drama series at the BBC, where she oversaw EastEnders, Casualty and Silent Witness. She was also controller of drama at LWT and head of film and TV drama at Talkback Thames.
The Mid Hants Railway will be seen in 'Echoes of the Dead' to be shown by ITV1 on the 20th April. Most filming was centred around Ropley station and shed with a number of walk on parts played by staff and volunteers. Steam traction is likely to feature in the episode, Black 5 No. 45379 and 9F No. 92212 playing their part.
Daniel Casey will be taking part in the Great North Run again, running for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The event will take place on 18th September 2011. The run takes place at Newcastle/Gateshead.
John Nettles is set to be one of the guests at a forthcoming Doctor Who Convention. This will take place from 22nd - 24th April in Buckinghamshire, England. Full details can be found on the Convention website at http://www.10thplanetevents.co.uk
Brian True-May was suspended by All3Media last week after claiming in a Radio Times interview that part of the ITV1 show's appeal was due to an absence of ethnic minorities. Although subsequently reinstated, it has now been reported that he will step down from his role at the end of the current production run.
John Nettles' very last Midsomer Murders episode Fit for Murder will be screened in the U.K. by ITV1 on 2nd Feburary 2011. A few tears may be shed by viewers when John, in the guise of DCI Tom Barnaby, hangs up his badge for the last time and retires quietly from Causton CID.
John says, "Barnaby has been a great character to play; he's an island of calm surrounded by death and destruction. I think the hundreds of murders he has solved more than meets the targets of modern policing!
"It has been a joy to be involved in such a long running series, with so many good actors and great storylines. If Neil has half the good times that I have had on Midsomer then he will be in seventh heaven. I am only worried that he is much younger than I am and a much better actor!"
Producer Brian True-May adds: "The departure of John Nettles from Midsomer marks the end of an era, as the series grew from a single, pilot episode to become one of the best-known and most-watched TV dramas in the world.
"Although we will miss the huge contribution that John has made to the series, the brand of Midsomer is so strong that I am confident of its continuing success. We look forward to our new Barnaby tackling more murder and mayhem in Midsomer.
"Having said that, Barnaby's final scene is a very emotional one, and there was scarcely a dry eye when we finished filming. I'm sure it will touch a chord with John's many fans in the UK and around the world, but it's a tribute to the brilliant actor and great gentleman that he is, that the handover to Neil Dudgeon is so seamless."
Brian reveals that two separate endings were filmed for "Fit for Murder".
"We did one version showing Barnaby's retirement party and another where it is a birthday gathering. So for the first UK transmission, it will be the retirement ending, but for repeat screenings when episodes are shown in different orders and for international use, it will be the birthday version. So in a way, John will always live on in Midsomer!"
Further Interviews with John Nettles & Jane Wymark
'Not in My Backyard', due to be screened in the New Year, is John Nettles' penultimate performance as DCI Barnaby before he steps down from the role and hands in his police badge. John, recently awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours, will appear on screen in just one further episode during 2011.
Responsibility for policing the dangerous streets of Midsomer then passes to Neil Dudgeon, star of The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, Life of Riley and Messiah, who joins the cast to play DCI John Barnaby, a cousin of the original Barnaby, who also works in the force.
The new Barnaby moves to Midsomer to take up his new post, where he is joined by his wife Sarah, played by Fiona Dolman. Four new episodes of series 14 have already been filmed, with another four to follow during 2011.
John Nettles says: "I wanted to die in noble fashion in the service of my country and then be buried with full military honours in Westminster Abbey. In the event, Tom and his long-suffering wife Joyce will simply retire. It's always better to leave when people want more.
"It has been a joy to be involved in such a long running series, with so many good actors and great storylines. If Neil has half the good times that I have had on Midsomer then he will be in seventh heaven. I am only worried that he is much younger than I am and a much better actor!"
Producer Brian True-May adds: "Although we will miss the huge contribution that John has made to the series, the brand of Midsomer is so strong that I am confident of its continuing success. We look forward to our new Barnaby tackling more murder and mayhem in Midsomer."
4 new episodes are now scheduled to be shown on UK ITV1 this autumn:
Blood on the Saddle - 8th September
The Silent Land
The Noble Art
JOHN NETTLES - 12TH JUNE 2010
John Nettles was awarded an OBE yesterday in the Queens Birthday Honours list for his services to drama. An OBE, 'Order of the British Empire' is awarded for a distinguished regional or country-wide role in any field, through achievement or service to the community, including notable practitioners known nationally.
Midsomer Murders' Executive Producer, Brian True-May has enlisted one of the series writers, Michael Aitkens, to work on a new TV project for John Nettles. Currently under the working title 'Country Matters' John will probably be pitched to be a Justice of the Peace, living in a country mansion. Brian has said that ITV have expressed an interest in the series but it has not been commissioned as yet. This is all dependent on seeing a script and assessing how much it will cost.
The Channel Islands At War *UK Premiere*
Weekdays, 5pm (from Monday 28th June 2010) - on the 'Yesterday' channel, available on UK Freeview.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the German invasion and occupation of the Channel Islands, 'Yesterday' travels across the Channel to revisit a World War II story often forgotten.
This brand-new and exclusive series, written and presented by John Nettles, is an emotional examination of both the invasion and occupation, as well as the legacy it left behind.
From June 1940, when the Nazis arrived, until May 1945, the inhabitants of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark lived through five years of oppression, terror, collaboration and near starvation that left an indelible scar thats still evident 70 years later.
Johns journey takes him to places that still bear witness to the war and to hear stories of courage, outrage and deprivation from those who lived through the horrifying experience.
The occupation of the first and only British territories was seized upon by Hitler as a major coup and, convinced that the British would attempt to recapture them, he ordered an impregnable fortress to be built across the Channel Islands. Within this fortress, horrors were routinely witnessed.
Visiting the site of the notorious Lager Sylt concentration camp in Alderney where slave workers mainly Russians and Spanish Republicans were housed, John discovers that over 6,000 POWs toiled mercilessly. British Intelligence estimates that four out of 10 died during their time in the camp.
Another contentious topic John explores is to what extent Channel Islanders actively helped the Germans. The British Government had already decided that the islands were of no strategic importance and had abandoned the islands to fend for themselves with an instruction to passively collaborate. After the liberation the Government commissioned an inquiry, the Morrison Report, but it has never been published. After the 50-year ban on publication ended, a further prohibition was imposed. This continuing secrecy has prompted inevitable speculation, which John tries to get to the bottom of and find some answers.
In this deeply personal project, John also looks at how islanders survived as food and fuel supplies dried up, uncovering first-hand stories featuring bravery and courage in the face of extreme conditions.
Above all, John pays tribute to the people of that time ordinary people who trod a perilous path through an epic conflict and assesses how their lives paved the way for the Jersey Way of today.
Jane Wymark (Joyce Barnaby) will be one of the guests on ITV1s 'This Morning' - Wednesday, 12th May. Jane will be talking about her latest role in Midsomer Murders.
MARCH 29TH 2010
NEW EPISODES TO BE SHOWN ON UK ITV1 THIS SPRING/SUMMER!
I'm sure everyone will be pleased
to learn that 4 new episodes are lined up to be shown on ITV1 this Spring/Summer.
These will be as follows:
The Great & the Good
Talking to the Dead - at last!!
The Made to Measure Murders
Blood on the Saddle
Cases include a stalking victim who may not be as innocent as she appears, two couples who go missing amid rumours of witchcraft and haunted woods, the death of an abused wife in a village full of secrets, and Wild West style land feuds that lead to terrifyingly real shoot-outs!
Among the guest stars lined up are Paul Kaye, Jeroen Krabbe, Anton Lesser, Caroline Langrishe, Gwyneth Strong and James Wilby.
As soon as I have confirmed schedule dates I'll add these to the site.
FEBRUARY 9TH 2010
JOHN NETTLES REPLACEMENT ANNOUNCED!!
Neil Dudgeon to replace John Nettles in Midsomer Murders.
ITV have announced today that Neil Dudgeon will replace John Nettles in the series.
Neil is to play DCI John Barnaby, a cousin of the original DCI Tom Barnaby, who also works in the force.
He will appear in tomorrow nights ITV1 episode (10 February) entitled The Sword of Guillaume, based in Brighton. Tom Barnaby is despatched to the South Coast and enlists his cousins help in solving a crime.
John has appeared in more than 80 episodes of Midsomer over 13 years and finishes filming in July. Neil will then take on his role when the 14th series of Midsomer Murders begins shooting at the end of July.
Commenting today John Nettles said: I wanted to die in noble fashion in the service of my country and then be buried with full military honours in Westminster Abbey. In the event, Tom and his long-suffering wife Joyce will simply retire. Its always better to leave when people want more.
It has been a joy to be involved in such a long running series, with so many good actors and great storylines. If Neil has half the good times that I have had on Midsomer then he will be in seventh heaven. I am only worried that he is much younger than I am and a much better actor!
Producer Brian True-May added: Although we will miss the huge contribution that John has made to the series, the brand of Midsomer is so strong that I am confident of its continuing success. We look forward to our new Barnaby tackling more murder and mayhem in Midsomer.
Having worked with Neil Dudgeon twice on Midsomer Murders already, I feel he is the perfect choice. I admire him as an actor and know he will be a wonderful addition to the team and a great ambassador for the series.
Peter Fincham, ITVs Director of Television, Channels and Online said: Were delighted Neil will carry on the Barnaby name. Hes a fine actor and were pleased hes agreed to join the series. John has been hugely instrumental in creating a much loved character and a highly successful long running series for ITV and were very grateful to him.
Fans of Jason Hughes will be pleased to learn that he will continue to play D.S. Ben Jones when Neil Dudgeon joins the fold.
Neil Dudgeons television credits include: The Life of Riley; Sorted; Mrs Bradley Mysteries; Common As Muck and Messiah. He has previously appeared in Midsomer as amourous gardener, Daniel Bolt.
The final four episodes of Series 13 will be filmed this year, with John Nettles working on his very last story in August. As to the future of Midsomer, Executive Producer, Brian True-May is keen to continue with another actor at the helm. However, any announcement has been held back until ITV decide whether or not they will commission another series.
OCTOBER 2009 - INTERVIEW WITH JOHN NETTLES
Small Mercies will be shown by UK ITV1 on 28th October.
What's new for fans of Midsomer
Murders in the latest film "Small Mercies"?
The episode references Gulliver's Travels because the murder victim is a man found tied down to the ground in a model village as if he was like Gulliver in Lilliput. We filmed the scenes at Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield, which is a 1930s time warp and an ideal setting for deadly deeds in Midsomer.
How close are you to being an
honorary policeman after solving so many on-screen crimes?
Barnaby and Bergerac before him have seen more dead bodies than any real-life policemen, but there is nothing distressing about the world they conjure up. No-one is going to have nightmares after watching either programme. I have played a policeman for the last 20 years, but it's a very different world to the one that real policeman inhabit, and I could not do their job.
Has anyone ever asked for your
help in a real life crime?
No, but my daughter Emma was staying with me in Jersey once and we had our bicycles parked outside. They were nicked - but I didn't even notice they had gone for two weeks. Apparently two lads had attacked a guy with a firing pistol, seen our bikes and made off on them. I only realised when I was told by the police they might be ours. That's my only brush with crime - and I made an utterly useless detective!
Are the villages as idyllic as
they look on screen?
I love the locations in Midsomer and often go back to have lunch in villages like Bledlow or The Lee in Buckinghamshire when we're not filming. We work in some beautiful old manor houses and gardens, and the churches are haunting and romantic with stunning Norman architecture. It's not always as peaceful as it appears though - filming often gets interrupted by aircraft noise and eternal strimmers.
When will the villagers of
Midsomer work out they are living in the most dangerous county of Britain?
It's a highly dangerous place and I believe it has a murder rate 10 times that of Chicago! My old professor of logic from the University of Southampton wrote to me saying, by process of elimination, DCI Tom Barnaby must be the murderer. I've been forced to hand in my badge before I'm the only one left standing!
When you complete filming what
will be your favourite memories of the series?
My favourite memories will be of the cast and crew alike. I will miss the camaraderie and company of all the different actors who have graced our episodes down the years. Each time we film an episode it is like a reunion of long lost friends.
Another memorable moment was when I met the Queen. She looked at me, all eyes twinkling, and said "Well I certainly shan't be visiting Midsomer - far too dangerous"!
MIDSOMER IN THE USA!
US fans will be pleased to know that the following channels will start airing episodes of Midsomer Murders in October 2009 :
WSKG in upstate New York
KQED/KTEH - Northern California :
With thanks to Minkey for this info.
SEPTEMBER 2009 - INTERVIEW WITH JOHN NETTLES
What's new for lovers of Midsomer
Murders in the latest film "The Glitch"?
"We discover that Midsomer has a university - something that has remained a secret until now! It seems that the corridors of academia could be hiding a murderer. We also get to see Jones - and Joyce - take part in a bike race."
Is it true that there will be an
end to the murders at Midsomer when you go?
"There will continue to be murders in Midsomer without me. It's that kind of place and after all the series is not called Barnaby. If my replacement has half the good times that I have had on Midsomer then he will be in seventh heaven.''
Can you give us a hint as to how
Barnaby will go out?
"I had been considering leaving Midsomer since Series 10. I wanted to die in noble fashion in the service of my country and then be buried with full military honours in Westminster Abbey. In the event, Tom and long-suffering wife Joyce will simply retire. It's always better to leave when people want more."
What is your favourite aspect of
"Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby is a regular cop, middle-aged and sits behind a desk thinking. He has terrible taste in clothes, lives in an awful house and drives an old car - but I like him that way.
"He's happily married and is not dysfunctional in any way. He's there to be the sheet anchor of the programme, he's really the viewer asking questions to find out who did it and not to be too intrusive. He's the only normal person there which gives a lot of scope for that host of English actors who are wonderful at playing eccentricity."
Who has been your favourite
sidekick and do you prefer Barnaby's sidekicks to be less handsome
than he is?
"I always wanted a female sidekick, someone like Blythe Duff, that would have been great. But seriously, you cannot really compare the sidekicks, they have all been very different. The first two, Troy and Scott, were young and ambitious and new to the profession.
"Jones as Jason Hughes is more mature and considered, and it has moved away from the father/son relationship he had with the previous sidekicks. They are more equal, it is a much more grown up relationship. The trick with Jones is that he is almost but not quite as good a policeman as Barnaby. He has a proper role in the series. I find that more interesting to play.
"But in one episode I objected to Jones being filmed in the shower, as an ageing heart-throb I object to my ground being stolen."
What are you filming at the moment?
"An episode entitled 'The Sword of Guillame', which has been set in Brighton. You come into work and have scenes with Saskia Reeves, Lucy Cohu and Janet Suzman - you can't really ask for more than that. Also on this episode we have Brian Capron and Neil Dudgeon.
"That is what I am going to miss the most when I leave Midsomer, the camaraderie and company of all the different actors who come in each episode."
You are a bit of an icon with Ricky Wilson from the band Kaiser Chiefs, who has apparently done paintings of you?
"I am very pleased to know that because it is a myth that the show and myself only appeal to prosaic 60 year olds. I get lots of letters from fans of all ages, from teenagers to pensioners, from all over the world. I would certainly buy one of Ricky's paintings if they were up for sale!"
What's the oddest thing a fan has
ever sent you?
"I got some ladies underwear sent to me in the post in the early 1990s. I was rather flattered until Les Dawson said he got a pair too, and that took the shine off it."
What has been your favourite
episode and why?
"One of my favourite episodes was 'The Axeman Cometh', as it did have a fine line between comedy and drama. The cast were brilliant - Suzi Quatro, Michael Angelis, James Cosmo - it was a joyful one to film, and the plot was great. Poor old Suzi Quatro going for the high C and then being electrocuted. Everyone stopped when she dropped dead, all apart from the drummer who was stone deaf. That really made me laugh, really lovely."
"A favourite murder was an episode starring Oliver Ford Davies. He was playing one of those irritating wine buffs who know everything. He met his end pinioned to the lawn with croquet hoops, and battered with bottles of his Lafayette, launched from a trebuchet on the lawn."
What's the best advice you've
"Never go back. Tom Baker, the former Dr Who, told me that and he is absolutely right. It's never the same the second time round. Once I have quit next year, that will be it. And never go back to a place you have loved. It will have changed and won't be as good again."
What are you looking forward to
after Midsomer Murders wraps? And when will that be?
"I will finish filming in the autumn of 2010 and will have filmed over 80 episodes by then. I want to do more stage work, and I see myself spending my twilight years treading the boards. I'm also planning to do a bunch of documentaries, so I will be kicking off by going home and doing a series on the occupation of Jersey for UKTV."
Peter Davidson is one of the actors who has been tipped to take over the role Midsomer's new DCI when Barnaby leaves the fold next year. However, an official announcement as to who will take up the mantel is due to be made at the Cannes Festival next month, so we will have to wait until then to find out who will be following in Barnaby's footsteps.
Maroussa Frank, Ian Richardson's widow has a small part in 'The Great & the Good' playing the role of housekeeper, Jenny. As many of you know, Ian Richardson was due to play a key role in 'Death in a Chocolate Box' but sadly died shortly before filming was due to take place.
Paul Chapman, who played Reg Buckley in 'Faithful Unto Death' has just filmed another episode of Midsomer Murders. Paul's many other roles include the part of Stephen in the comedy series 'As Time Goes By' and a key role in the Prisoner of War drama, Colditz.
The U.K. ITV1 schedules for July include two new episodes - The Dogleg Murders - 22nd July & Secrets & Spies - 29th July.
NEWS FROM MIDSOMER!! - JUNE 2009
John said that it was a difficult decision to leave Midsomer Murders - he will miss the comradery of Jason Hughes, the crew and guest actors greatly, and in particular Jane Wymark and Barry Jackson who've both been with the series since the very beginning. However, it has become a year round job, so it will be lovely to get back home for a while. His wife is delighted that he will be retiring as Barnaby. It did get to the stage that he had more bed scenes with Joyce Barnaby than those in real life! John is also keen to go back to the stage again, something which he has really missed. Other plans include making a documentary for U.K. TV on the occupation of the Channel Islands. John is confident that the series will carry on very well without him and can see it going on for many years. As to the new lead, well Brian True-May is 95% sure he knows who this will be. All will be revealed in October this year at MIPCOM in Cannes! The only thing he was prepared to reveal now is that the mantel will be taken over by another man.
The last episode with John will be shot in August 2010 which means he will still be on our screens in the role of Barnaby until 2011 so there is much more of 'Barnaby' for viewers to look forward to.
John joked that he would like to die in nobel fashion, however, this was somewhat frowned upon! Brian True-May has said that it is not planned for Barnaby to have a very spectacular departure, he believes he will just quietly fade away. It will end as a normal episode. There are definitely no plans for him to suffer the same fate as many of his sceen counterparts. This is largely because repeats of episodes are often shown out of order in the U.K. and abroad so it would complicate matters if a dramatic ending was filmed. However, it is possible that 2 endings may be shot, one for the U.K. and one for overseas markets, though nothing has been confirmed at present.
John doesn't see himself embarking upon any other long-running T.V. series - he joked that he is
too old anyway! When asked if he would ever go back to Midsomer, perhaps for a one off story or revival - unfortunately the answer was no, he doesn't believe in going back. He did say that he would love to do a US series though, especially 'CSI Miami' a favourite of his.
Favourite moments in the series to date include Benjamin Whitrow almost being incarcerated alive in a coffin - coming up shortly in Secrets and Spies John also remarked on being impressed with the very sexy voice that the French dubber has given him!
There will now be just two new
episodes shown in July - The Dogleg Murders
and Secrets and Spies - these will be
shown during the 3rd and 4th weeks in July respectively with a repeat
of an old episode in August.
Photos by kind permission of Ian Wylie
Jason admits he has mixed feelings about John's decision to leave Midsomer Murders. "I had known for a while, as John had talked to me about it. My initial feeling was of course disappointment that he was leaving. We have such a good relationship on and off set that naturally I don't want to see him go". However, he thinks that John deserves a break after such a long time on the show.
By the time John retires he would have filmed 38 episodes with him, spanning 5 years which is a long time to work with anybody. Jason has learnt to be patient and gracious from John and never throw a wobbly when things go wrong. He said that John is a very patient guy taking everything in his stride. When asked if he has any suggestions on how John should go, Jason said that he hadn't really thought about it as this is over a year away. However, he joked, "they can't kill him, can they?" and that perhaps 'Jones' will come out of the closet and garrote him.
'Jones' gets to play some cricket in Secrets and Spies and Jason said it was good to pick up a cricket bat again. He used to play in county cricket for Glamorgan and has also played some golf in the past. Jason is a very keen sportsman and wanted to make this his career originally.
When asked if there is any romance on the horizon for 'Jones', Jason said he didn't know. There was some sexual chemistry between him and Gail in one episode where they got all flirty but this seems to have disappeared for the moment.
KIRSTY DILLION (WPC Gail Stephens)
Kirsty first came onto the Midsomer scene in Death & Dust where she is seen unravelling some things on a PC in doctors surgery. Brian True-May thought this brought something modern to the series so decided that Kirsty's role would be good for the future. We were told that there would be lots more challenges coming up for her in Midsomer.
Kirsty herself sees her character as tenacious and ambitious but she is quite light hearted too. She will be promoted out of uniform to a detective in Secrets and Spies and it becomes obvious from her reaction that she has wanted this for some time. Gail Stephens also comes across as being a bit emotional and Kirsty doesn't know how this will impair or help her character in the future.
Kirsty said that she couldn't
think of a better place to learn her acting skills. When she joined
the cast she was amazed at John Nettles. She always feels in safe
hands because he is so easy to engage, very twinkly and with you
every step of the way. He also carries scenes with an effortless
energy making it look really easy. She admits to being star struck by
some of the guest stars too - there was one scene in 'Days of
Misrule' where she didn't have anything to say but was in a small
room with John, Judy Parfitt and Niamh Cusack
- 'it was like being at a master class'!
Three new episodes should be shown in the U.K. end July/beginning of August. More details to follow w/c 22nd June.
Viewers in the Netherlands were lucky enough to see 'The Dogleg Murders' on their screens recently - they are the first country to see this new episode.
A book on the locations see in
Midsomer will be published on 20th June 2009.
More details at http://www.midsomermurdersonlocations.com