DESMOND BARRIT plays Raymond Clandillon
Playing Raymond Clandillon took Desmond Barrit back to his earliest days as an actor.

"The episode is set on a stately home where they are filming a version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. That was my first West End job at Her Majesty's Theatre and I played several parts, but the main one was Brogard, a working class chef who cuts up rats and makes soup.

"It was strange to go back to The Scarlet Pimpernel and to play an actor who is not getting many parts these days. He gets the part of an extra instead. To us actors, it's so recognisable - getting to a certain age and no longer are they playing the leads but the father of the leads."

Raymond is a larger than life character - warm, gregarious and gay.

Says Desmond: "I based him on two actors - Harold Innocent who's sadly dead and a friend I know. Raymond is high camp, a colourful character in lovely costumes. I didn't know there were so many flower fabrics - I had green roses, pink flowers and a cape which was a throwback to Sherlock Holmes. It was great for making an entrance and the costume was so good you didn't really need me!

"The character goes from camp comedy to quite sad, moving stuff. It's not one-dimensional and even in life Raymond was being somebody else. It was good fun working on a set within a set. I am right in the mix of it at the murder scenes and it's quite gruesome with the guillotine falling and actors getting murdered."

The role marks a return to Midsomer Murders for Desmond.
"I was in Murder on St Malley's Day five years ago playing the headmaster, so it was nice to be asked back. It was great to see John Nettles again - success hasn't spoilt him at all."


NICKY HENSON plays Terence Charteris
Nicky Henson comes back from the 'grave' to appear in this episode.

"The story is a return for me to Midsomer country because I appeared in Dark Autumn in 2001. I died in that episode but the producers said not to worry as they would put a moustache on me! So I am a retread."

Terence Charteris is the executive producer of a film version of The Scarlet Pimpernel being shot at his home in Midsomer Magna.

Says Nicky: "Terence is the Lord of the local manor and thinks he is Mr Big. He's trying to make money out of the movie to save his house and his marriage. He's a producer but he's never produced a film before. He's slightly spivvy and has a second-hand car salesman look but with classy country clothes.

"The episode is particularly gruesome with beheadings but I wasn't in any of those scenes, although I did see the heads stacked up in the make-up truck!"

He adds: "It was great to return because Midsomer Murders is a terrific gig. There are lots of mates there from the National and RSC and John leads the company brilliantly. We always watch it in our house and I love seeing it when I'm abroad."