TV Times talks to Midsomer Murders star Jason Hughes about the retirement of his boss, DCI Barnaby

What is your reaction to the news that John Nettles has decided to leave?
“We have such a great relationship, that naturally I don’t want to see him go. John is a wonderful guy, kind and generous, and good fun to be around. It won’t be the same without him.”

Did you know it was going to happen?
“John talked to me about it beforehand and my initial feeling was, of course, one of disappointment. But I know he wants to do so many other projects and I’m happy for him.”

What has it been like filming 76 hours of television alongside John?
“Brilliant. A bad word hasn’t passed between us in all that time. I haven’t seen the script for the last scene yet, but I have heard a whisper that the production company is organising a big leaving party for John.”

What about your own future?
“I am very happy. It’s such a well-loved show and I am still enjoying playing Ben. The trick with him is that he is almost, but not quite, as good a policeman as Barnaby.”

Are you also looking forward to Neil Dudgeon taking over?
“Yes! Neil is a terrific actor and it’s good we have worked together already on Midsomer. I get on well with him and it will be an interesting process to see how the series changes.”

*Jason Hughes stars in Midsomer Murders on Wednesday at 8pm on ITV1*