As Midsomer Murders returns for a new six-part series, have they run out of bizarre murder methods in the sleepy county? Not at all!
It’s hard to believe that 20 series of Midsomer Murders have gone by since our initial visit to the ill-fated county to witness the first of many untimely deaths!
Tonight, TV’s most fun-filled crime drama marks the milestone with a cracking opener set at a brewery launch on the site of Causton Abbey.
The next day, a local writer is found boiled to death in a vat of beer, echoing the execution of a monk who placed a curse on the abbey 500 years earlier… and there are plenty of people who could have dunnit!
TV Times rating: *****
Neil Dudgeon, 58, (DCI John Barnaby), and Nick Hendrix (DS Jamie Winter), 33, join us for a chat about the six-part series (episodes three to six are set to air later this year) and reveal why there’s still plenty of life left in the show yet…
How does it feel to celebrate the 20th series of Midsomer Murders?
Neil: Unbelievable, isn’t it? We have always had wonderful guests, and people like murders and the countryside! I hope it’s retained that unique Midsomer tone.
Nick: We went to an amazing dinner for the 20th series. The previous sidekicks came – there was no rivalry!
In next week’s episode, there are 20 hidden ‘Easter eggs’, which are references to previous episodes…
Neil: Yes, it’s an Easter egg hunt in the Midsomer garden. I don’t think I’d get more than eight! But fans who know the show better than me will enjoy it. Although there are so many bizarre things in a Midsomer episode, perhaps another 20 will hardly register!
Nick: One’s a big old car from a previous series, and it was beautiful. The references acknowledge people’s commitment over the years, so they’re a nice reward.
Annette Badland appears in this series as pathologist Fleur Perkins. Is it nice having new blood?
Neil: We always have lots of blood! Annette’s wonderful. Fleur is a tough, cheeky, independent-minded woman who stands her ground.
Nick: The pathologist character has fun potential now, which is great because Midsomer’s not Luther or Happy Valley.
She’s like [James Bond’s gadget guru] Q schooling Winter and Barnaby, saying, ‘Don’t touch that!’ People will love her.