© ITV/Mark Bourdillon

'Written in the Stars' marks Jason Hughes' 50th appearance in the long-running drama in the role of DS Ben Jones. Jason has starred in every episode filmed since 2005 when he made his debut at the start of series nine.


Says Jason: "I joined the series in 2005 - as John Nettles was celebrating his 50th episode - but I never thought that I would ever get to my own 50th. It's been great and a real joy to have worked both with John and Neil Dudgeon over the years.


"I am just so pleased that the viewers in the UK and all over the world have stayed with us over the years, and I hope for many more to come".


Jason's first appearance as DS Jones was in 'The House in the Woods'. He starred alongside John Nettles for 36 episodes before Neil Dudgeon took over the leading role. The new detective duo have starred together for 14 episodes so far.


Says Jason: "My very first day involved finding a dead body in a car, which turned out to be the first of many bodies. I've had some great, memorable scenes, like falling in the lake in the middle of freezing January and singing naked in the shower. In that one, I was a bit shocked when they told me to take my boxer shorts off, and then they had to dub over my singing anyway because of a rights issue!"


As DS Jones, Jason has also been almost killed by a tractor, dressed up as a nun, gone undercover at a cult and fallen out of a tree.


"Some of my favourite episodes have included 'The Magician's Nephew', where poisonous frogs were a good murder weapon, and I loved the one where Edward Fox killed his wife with a tower of old newspapers that he had been collecting ('Dark Secrets'). I also loved the moment in 'The Night of the Stag' when the victim is shaken to death by a apple tree shaker and then dumped in a massive barrel of cider."


"Fans of Midsomer Murders like the genre - from the mad, eccentric aristocratic families on a big scale to the small dark tales. Each film has a different style, even though it is one drama each has its own feel and I think the viewers like that. They certainly like the murders. It's extraordinary to think they could be watching telly with a cup of Horlicks and loving the grisly killings!"


Adds Jason: "I feel incredibly lucky to have worked closely with both John and Neil. With John, it was very much my character being the new boy and learning from him, which is a very different relationship to the one I have with Neil's character.


"Nowadays it's more on an equal level, and there is more banter. Working with John it was more by the book, but with Neil as Barnaby he is thinking out of the box, while I use the teaching that I got from the first Barnaby which is sometimes at odds with Neil's more modern policing. So you get a good conflict there and room for comedy.


"I like Jones but I'm not like him - I don't have his police sense of humour but I think he's a good man, very focused on his job. He doesn't have much else in his life, though, he probably goes home and listens to Wings."


Jason has just finished filming three further episodes in the 15th series of MIDSOMER MURDERS, which will be screened on ITV1 from Winter 2012