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Midsomer Murders (ITV 1997, John Nettles, Neil Dudgeon)

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In whodunnit crime drama series Midsomer Murders Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby investigates an ever growing number of murders in the idyllic villages that make up the county of Midsomer. Initially partnered with Sergeant Gavin Troy, Barnaby finds that amongst the well to do murder is never far from the surface. Later Troy would gain promotion and be replaced by the short lived Sergeant Dan Scott (who was possibly just a bit too cool to be Barnaby’s partner) and latterly by Detective Sergeant Ben Jones who has fitted in extremely well.

Barnaby, unlike most cops on TV is a long time happily married (his wife is Joy who quite often plays an integral in driving the plot forward) and has a daughter Cully who over the course of this hugely long running series leaves University, becomes an actress and later gets married.

The series is extremely popular all over the world (for a time it was the most watched show in the world) with its picture postcard, chocolate box lid view of English country life. It never takes itself too seriously either and has always attracted a high calibre of big name guest stars – indeed for a time you could pick the murderer as the most prominent member of the guest cast but the producers have since cottoned on to that and its no longer the case.

John Nettles who plays Barnaby (after previously playing another much loved detective Sgt Jim Bergerac for a decade) has recently announced that he is leaving the series but the producers are carrying on with the show introducing Barnaby’s cousin DCI John Barnaby (played by Neil Dudgeon) who has already made his first appearance in an episode thereby laying the groundwork for the transition.

Special mention must be made amongst the supporting cast of Barry Jackson who as pathologist Dr Bullard has appeared in every episode, usually at the crime scene or the morgue. There are a few other recurring characters who have made occasional appearance too such as police constable Gail Stephens (Kirsty Dillon) who has appeared in over 20 episodes over the years. likewise Chris Wilson and Neil Conrich who haves played a police officer 8 and 7 times respectively on the show. Neville Phillips has also appeared on the show six times as a vicar.

The episode guide listed below is in official season by season order but months can often go by between episodes, they are more like special treats broadcast throughout the year, there is usually anywhere between four and seven throughout the year.

production details
UK / ITV1 Network – Carnival / x120 minutes / Broadcast 23 March 1997 –

Developed by Anthony Horowitz / Music: Jim Parker / Novels: Caroline Graham / Producers: Betty True-May, Betty Willingdale

cast
JOHN NETTLES as DCI Tom Barnaby (1997-2010)
NEIL DUDGEON as DCI John Barnaby
JANE WYMARK as Joyce Barnaby (1997-2010)
DANIEL CASEY as DS Gavin Troy
BARRY JACKSON as Dr Bullard
LAURA HOWARD as Cully Barnaby (1997-2010)
JASON HUGHES as DS Ben Jones
JOHN HOPKINS as DS Dan Scott (2004-2005)
KIRSTY DILLON as WPC Gail Steph
FIONA DOLMAN as Sarah Barnaby

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