© ITV/Mark Bourdillon

Tyger Drew-Honey plays Ferdy Linklater


Tyger Drew-Honey was pleased to win a role in Midsomer Murders, especially as it meant having Arabella Weir as his mum.


"It was cool having Arabella as my mother Angela Linklater. She was quite mum-ish, looking after me, which was very nice. Although as a character I get a bit fed up with her, I enjoyed it myself.


"Arabella was in the same heat as me for Let's Dance for Sport Relief where I did 'Fat Sam's Grand Slam' from Bugsy Malone and she did Kylie Minogue's 'Can't Get You Out of my Head' in a white outfit. It was really funny.


"All the other actors in Midsomer were really professional and friendly. I thought my audition went quite well and I was so pleased to found out that I'd nailed it. It's such a big show that sells well around the world. My real mum is actually my manager so she told me the good news!"


Tyger plays put-upon kitchen porter Ferdy Linklater.


"He's 17-years-old and a very surly teenager. He's quite a loner and not very personable; he just gets on with his job in the kitchen and tries to get away from his mum to play on his zombie PlayStation. But he's not a bad person at heart.


"I'm 17 as well so I could relate to him but he's very different from me in character. It's good to play people unlike yourself and experiment with different sides of the spectrum."


Tyger felt quite at home in the professional kitchens where the episode was filmed.


"I had chef's whites, but I was the porter so I did the chopping and washing up. I had a completely white outfit, while the others had burgundy or black. There's quite a pecking order.


"I like cooking and I'm quite good. I make stir-fried chicken, risotto or maybe lamb shanks or pasta. I enjoy it and do it all from scratch, though sometimes my mum helps me."


Tyger is well known for his role as Jake in Outnumbered.


"I've grown up with the role and I do get recognised as being Jake. We're doing another series - series 5 - and I still enjoy it as the writing is so good. It's changed slightly as we've got older as children but a bit of improvisation is still at the heart of the show."


Tyger's other credits include Cuckoo, The Armstrong and Miller Show, Friday Download and The Ministry of Curious Stuff as well as providing voiceovers for animated series.


He says: "When I'm not working I like writing music, seeing my girlfriend, going to the gym and playing with my dog. I still live at home but I've bought a flat recently with my mum."



Marc Elliott plays Nick Iver


Playing the part of sous chef Nick Iver in Midsomer Murders allowed Marc Elliott to indulge his passion for cooking.


"I am a big, big cook at home. I like making traditional dishes like shepherd's pie and spaghetti bolognese. I find it quite therapeutic to be chopping vegetables, grinding herbs and preparing a whole meal from scratch. I like challenging myself and testing myself when people come round to dinner.


"I do a mean jambalaya - that really is my signature dish. I went on a tour of the southern states in America in a Ford Mustang convertible; it was a real boys' road trip with two friends from university. The countryside and the cuisine were really diverse and interesting. I try to eat fairly healthily and I love vegetables.


"One of my favourite programmes is The Great British Bakeoff. I'm not a natural baker although I did make a mean lemon meringue pie the other day."


Marc's character works for temperamental head chef Ruth Cameron (Sharon Small).


"I am well versed in kitchen pecking order. As a student, I was a waiter for several years so I know how tense and stressful the kitchen situation can be.


"Nick is not particularly ambitious and he has a temper. He respects Ruth and he owes her because she took him on when there was an incident in his past. There is a mother-son thing going on but half the time they are at each other's throats!


"In one scene, we had to pick real wild mushrooms because part of the episode is about a death through poisoned mushroom soup. In real life, I wouldn't know a magic mushroom from a wild one, so I'm sure I would end up poisoning myself or getting high."


The role was Marc's first since leaving EastEnders and he enjoyed the whole experience.


"We filmed at a lovely village - Hambledon in Oxfordshire - and it was the most gorgeous chocolate box place and we were also blessed with the sunshine. It was like a holiday.


"This is my first television since leaving EastEnders and I loved the time we got for filming and rehearsing and having time to think about my performance. To have a read-through was luxury after the fast turnaround of EastEnders. It was like making a mini film."


Marc played Syed Masood in nearly 300 editions of the soap.


"I still get recognised as Syed but it's dying down a bit now because I'm off screen and people generally forget about you. I'm not complaining at all, though, because I had a wonderful time on EastEnders and it raised my profile. It was the first time a soap had explored a gay relationship within Islam."


Marc's other credits include The Invisibles and Holby City. "You have to be careful when you come out of something big and I want to structure my career in the right direction. I did a black comedy called Tape and I'm writing a horror comedy."


In this spare time he likes to keep fit. "I've just started playing squash and going to the gym more regularly. It's a killer on the glutes, though, and I'm feeling the pain at the moment!"



Hayley Mills plays Lizzy Thornfield


Hayley Mills found it easy to relate to hippy herbalist Lizzy Thornfield.


"Lizzy is a bit of a hippy; she's quite colourful, loves flowers and beautiful things. She had a successful modelling career in Chelsea in the 1960s and 70s and developed a love and interest in clothes and floppy hats, as well as spiritual ethics.


"She then had a terrible tragedy of losing her son and was attracted to leading a very different life, becoming a bit of a recluse. She's very interested in natural remedies and herbal recipes, she makes her own make-up and moisturiser. In the old days she would have been called a witch.


"Like Lizzy, I'm a believer in natural medicine - drugs are a last resort for me, rather than the first line of attack. I love herb tea, and green tea with jasmine is my favourite. I love doing yoga, meditation and deep breathing which is so good for helping you to relax.


"Long walks in the country are also a good way of unwinding as are infusions of essential oils to burn and use in the bath at the end of a working day. I love incense and fragrances and I always have flowers at home - they are very important to me."


Hayley is a fan of Midsomer Murders and was delighted to join the list of guest stars.


"The films are intricate, wonderful stories. Everyone loves a good detective tale, it brings out the Agatha Christie in us all. Great attention is paid to getting the scripts right, and it's very well shot. All in all, good classy TV entertainment!"


She adds: "It can be quite nerve-wracking going onto a set where everyone else is in the same groove and you haven't reached that yet, but they couldn't have been nicer."


Hayley now divides her time between England and New York.


"When we were doing Wild At Heart, I was out in South Africa for five months of the year and moving all over the place. It was an amazing experience, like having another life for five months. You get up very early and there is this intense heat and the dust and dryness that goes with the territory. So it was lovely to find myself in Hambleden village for Midsomer, with no wild animals!"


Adds Hayley: "I still enjoy working but the older I get the less inclined I am to leave my home for long periods of time, apart from theatre where you have to give up your home life. I like to see my family as much as possible so I've definitely become more selective as I've got older, and very lucky I am to be able to do so."


The daughter of Sir John Mills, Hayley began her career as a child actor, appearing in classic films such as Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, Take a Girl Like You, Whistle Down the Wind and The Family Way. Her TV work includes The Flame Trees of Thika, The Love Boat and Good Morning Miss Bliss.


"I often get recognised and it's always at the most unexpected moment. Someone will mention a film I made as a child and it's so nice that the Disneys still attract attention. It's very surprising and very flattering."



Sharon Small plays Ruth Cameron


Sharon Small admits she's no Nigella or Delia, unlike her character Ruth Cameron.


"My signature dishes are apple crumble or sausage and mash and I'm really good at sandwiches - that's a bit bad isn't it? I would love to be a better cook but I tend to skim-read a recipe and then mess it up. I'm a pretty basic cook because my husband is the chef in our house and does all the cooking if we have a dinner party.


"We filmed in a professional kitchen and the head chef was a really sweet guy. He said I was holding the knife well and gave me a lesson in chopping. I got the thumbs up for the way I dealt with the energy in the kitchen - he thought I'd got that right."


Ruth is a successful - but tyrannical - chef at her restaurant, Wyvern House.


Explains Sharon: "She is fiercely ambitious and passionate. She is talented and she's worked from the bottom up and deserves everything that she's got. She's not easy to work for, she's not generous to other people but she's a great teacher even though she's not incredibly nurturing and her praise is rare. If you can work in that way you can learn a lot from her tough, exacting standards.


"She has a difficult relationship with her husband Johnny. They are not telling the truth to each other and there is a lot of tension there which the story brings to the forefront. Her sous chef Nick doesn't really get on with her either but he adores her in a professional way. She took him in and taught him everything he knows and made him the chef he is today."


She adds: "I enjoyed playing a bossy role as you don't often get those chances. It was great to use my Scottish accent and not have to transpose all the time because it allows you to be much freer.


"I also loved wearing the chef's whites - they were personalised with Ruth's name and kitchen. They were not the most flattering for the figure but it helped me to get into the character. I also had a picture of the book that Ruth has written.


"I had a scene with Hayley Mills which was one of those pinch-yourself moments. You realise you are working with a legend. She said she couldn't stop staring at my green eyes!"


Playing Ruth was a big contrast to Sharon's recent role as an American heiress in Death in Paradise.


"We filmed in Guadeloupe and it was very humid. The men are in linen suits which must be so hot, but I had a great costume designer who gave me flimsy chiffon dresses, lots of high heels and big hair. My character has grown up with money and is very different from down-to-earth Ruth. But the similarity is that they are both unhappy."


While she is away filming, Sharon's husband Dan is a full-time father to their sons Leo, aged seven, and five-year-old Zac. "I am very lucky because Dan is a real hands-on dad and does everything."


Glasgow-born Sharon played DS Havers in six series of Inspector Linley and her other credits include No Child of Mine, Sunburn, Glasgow Kiss, About A Boy, Murderland, Mistresses, Kidnap and Ransom and Silent Witness.



Arabella Weir plays Angela Linklater


Arabella Weir was determined not to find anything funny about her character, landlady Angela Linklater.


"Angela is powerful, capable and focussed and seemingly jolly. I think you would like her, as long as you didn't get to know her too well. Her ex-husband Johnny has remarried and she is coping with him and his new wife, and tries to make light of it. But she's not all she seems.


"It was great to do something away from comedy, although the producers seemed nervous that I couldn't play the serious part of it. So I rang up one of my best friends who is an actor, and he said just take yourself very seriously, which I did. I hope I pulled it off!"


Angela is mum to kitchen porter Ferdy, played by Tyger Drew-Honey.


"I've worked with Tyger before on Let's Dance for Sport Relief and he is very easy going and lovely, not precious or grand. Everyone was very nice and I enjoyed the job enormously. It didn't feel like work at all so I've told them I am available to come back, as I know they recycle actors."


Arabella is well known for her many characters for The Fast Show and The All New Alexei Sayle Show. Her other credits include Skins, Posh Nosh, The Creatives, Takin' Over The Asylum, Shooting Fish and Doctor Who.



Clive Wood plays Johnny Linklater


Clive Wood comes back from the 'dead' to make his third appearance in Midsomer Murders in the episode "Wild Harvest".


"I have done two episodes before, always with the same director Renny Rye, so this is my third time to be recycled. The first time I was a chap who ran an elderly care home in 'Blue Herrings', and I survived that, then I was murdered in 'Secrets and Spies' in an episode with Alice Krige. So we'll see what happens in my third incarnation!


"They are always great fun to do and it runs like clockwork with beautiful locations and wonderful sunny weather. This time it was glorious again."


Clive plays Johnny Linklater who runs a restaurant with his wife, chef Ruth Cameron (Sharon Small).


Says Clive: "Johnny is ex-army and you'd think there would be something strong about him, but he is quite weak. He adores his second wife Ruth and she is the driving force in the relationship. He has aspirations for great success but he is easily led and finds himself in all sorts of trouble. I've done a few uniform parts in my time so it was good to be on the other side of the interview desk."


Clive gained attention as the anti-hero Vic Brown in A Kind of Loving and his many TV credits include London's Burning, The Bill, Press Gang, Death in Holy Orders, The Pillars of the Earth, Land Girls, Waking The Dead, Holby City and Endeavour. His film work includes Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Buster and The Innocent.