Midsomer Murders

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Midsomer Murders
Genre Crime drama, mystery fiction
Based on Chief Inspector Barnaby 
by Caroline Graham
Directed by Luke Watson
Andy Hay
Renny Rye
Nick Laughland
Simon Langton
Alex Pillai
Peter Smith
Sarah Hellings
Jeremy Silberston
Richard Holthouse
Starring John Nettles
Daniel Casey
Barry Jackson
Jane Wymark
Laura Howard
Toby Jones
John Hopkins
Jason Hughes
Kirsty Dillon
Neil Dudgeon
Fiona Dolman
Tamzin Malleson
Gwilym Lee
Manjinder Virk
Composer(s) Jim Parker
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 18
No. of episodes 105 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Jo Wright (90+)
Brian True-May (1–89)
Producer(s) Betty Willingale
Cinematography Colin Munn
Graham Frake
Editor(s) Derek Bain
Running time 89–102 minutes
Production company(s) Bentley Productions
Distributor All3Media
Original network ITV
Picture format 16 mm film:
576i 4:3 (SDTV)
Super 16 mm film:
576i 16:9 (SDTV)
High Definition Digital:
1080i 16:9 (HDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release 23 March 1997 – Present
External links

Midsomer Murders is a British television detective drama[1] that has aired on ITV since 1997. The show is based on Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby book series, as originally adapted by Anthony Horowitz. The current lead character is DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon), who works for Causton CID. Dudgeon's character is the younger cousin of former lead character DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles). Dudgeon first appeared as randy gardener Daniel Bolt in the Series 4 episode "Garden of Death". Dudgeon permanently joined the show in 2011 following Nettles' departure.


The stories revolve around Tom Barnaby's (later, John Barnaby's) efforts to solve numerous murders that take place in the idyllic picturesque but deadly villages of the fictional county of Midsomer. The Barnabys have worked with several different sergeants throughout the run of the show: Sgt Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), Sgt Dan Scott (John Hopkins), Sgt Ben Jones (Jason Hughes), and currently Sgt Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee).


Filming of Midsomer Murders began in Autumn 1996, with the first episode ("The Killings at Badger's Drift") broadcast in the United Kingdom on 23 March 1997. Viewing figures for the series were healthy initially[citation needed] and still consistently exceed 6 million.[citation needed] The feature-length drama attracts many well known accomplished actors from the stage and screen in guest-starring roles.

Anthony Horowitz and the original producers, Betty Willingale and Brian True-May, created the series. Horowitz adapted the majority of the early episodes from the original works by Caroline Graham. Current writers include Paul Logue, Michael Aitkens and Rachel Cuperman, and Sally Griffiths. Actor John Nettles retired at the end of 2010, after the 13th series of eight episodes; his last episode was "Fit for Murder". Neil Dudgeon replaced him in the 14th series, playing Tom Barnaby's cousin, DCI John Barnaby,[2] who is first seen in the episode "The Sword of Guillaume".

In February 2015, the show was renewed for an 18th series, consisting of six episodes. It started filming at the end of March 2015 and began broadcasting in January 2016.[3]


The pilot episode of Midsomer Murders was shown on 23 March 1997. As of 6 January 2016, 105 episodes have been broadcast comprising 18 series'.



Characters and the seasons where they appeared
Character Actor
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
DCI Tom Barnaby John Nettles Main
DCI John Barnaby Neil Dudgeon Recurring Main
Sergeant Gavin Troy Daniel Casey Main Guest
Sergeant Daniel Scott John Hopkins Main
Sergeant Benjamin Jones Jason Hughes Main
Sergeant Charlie Nelson Gwilym Lee Main
Constable Gail Stephens Kirsty Dillon Recurring Main
Dr George Bullard Barry Jackson Main Main Recurring Main
Dr Dan Peterson Toby Jones Recurring Main
Dr Kate Wilding Tamzin Malleson Recurring Main
Dr Kam Karimore Manjinder Virk Main
Joyce Barnaby Jane Wymark Main
Cully Barnaby Laura Howard Recurring Recurring
Sarah Barnaby Fiona Dolman Main


Midsomer is an English fictional county. The county town is Causton, a middle-sized town where Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby lives with his wife, and where the Criminal Investigation Department is located. Much of the popularity of the series arises from the incongruity of sudden violence in a picturesque and peaceful rural setting. Individual episodes focus on institutions, rituals, and customs popularly seen as being characteristic of rural English counties.

Many of the villages and small towns of the county have the word "Midsomer" in their name; this is inspired in part by the real county of Somerset, and specifically the town of Midsomer Norton. The fictional county of Midsomer is notable for its particularly high crime rate, causing the Midsomer Constabulary to be inundated with the number of murder cases that come their way—estimated at 32 per million, around double that of London.[4] This has even become a running joke among the British public,[citation needed] as well as within the show. When Mrs Barnaby proposed they move out of Causton and suggested various villages, her husband countered with recollections of particularly grisly murders that occurred in each community. Likewise, when Sgt. Dan Scott asked if the body count was, "always this high around here, sir?"; Barnaby replied, "It has been remarked upon."

Humour is a main feature of the series, with many of the actors playing up their high-camp characters. There is often black comedy, such as a woman being murdered with a wheel of cheese,[5] and many scenes are examples of "dramedy" (comic drama or dramatic comedy); according to RadioTimes when describing the episode Death and the Divas (series 15, episode 4): 'Midsomer Murders never takes itself too seriously but here it’s got its tongue so far into its cheek, it hurts.' [6]

List of villages in Midsomer

  • Angels Rise
  • Aspern Tallow
  • Badger's Drift
  • Binwell
  • Bishopwood
  • Bow Clayton
  • Broughton
  • Burwood Mantle
  • Calham Cross
  • Causton
  • Cooper Hill
  • Devington
  • Dunstan
  • Elverton-cum-Latterley
  • Ferne Basset
  • Finchmere
  • Fletcher's Cross
  • Ford Florey
  • Goodman's Land
  • Great Pelfe
  • Great Worthy
  • Haddington
  • Little Crosby
  • Little Malton
  • Little Upton
  • Little Worthy
  • Lower Warden
  • Luxton Deeping
  • Malham Bridge
  • Malham Cross
  • March Magna
  • Marsh Wood
  • Martyr Warren
  • Midsomer Abbas
  • Midsomer Barrow
  • Midsomer Barton
  • Midsomer Chettham
  • Midsomer Cicely
  • Midsomer Deverell
  • Midsomer Florey
  • Midsomer Herne
  • Midsomer Holm
  • Midsomer Langley
  • Midsomer Magna
  • Midsomer Malham
  • Midsomer Mallow
  • Midsomer Market
  • Midsomer-in-the-Marsh
  • Midsomer Mere
  • Midsomer Morchard
  • Midsomer Morton
  • Midsomer Mow
  • Midsomer Newton
  • Midsomer Oaks
  • Midsomer Parva
  • Midsomer Pastures
  • Midsomer Priors
  • Midsomer Sonning
  • Midsomer St. Claire
  • Midsomer St. Michael
  • Midsomer Stanton
  • Midsomer Vertue
  • Midsomer Vinae
  • Midsomer Wellow
  • Midsomer Worthy
  • Midsomer Wyvern
  • Milton's Cross
  • Monks Barton
  • Morton Fendle
  • Morton Shallows
  • Newton Magna
  • Pandlefoot Bailey
  • Upper Warden
  • Whitcombe Mallet

Filming locations

Causton was represented by Wallingford, Oxfordshire.[7] Causton police station was represented by the former RAF Staff College, Bracknell. Favourite filming locations include Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire, Beaconsfield, Amersham, Great Missenden, Prestwood, The Lee, Wendover, Stoke Poges, Princes Risborough, Turville, Long Crendon, Penn, Marlow, Denham, Bledlow, the Ashridge Estate, Aldbury, Little Gaddesden, Chesham, Latimer, Folkingham, Chenies, Hambleden, Haddenham, Ballinger and Waddesdon; in Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead town, Chipperfield, Flaunden, Bulbourne, Hadley Wood, Sarratt, and Watford; and, in Oxfordshire, Warborough, Islip, Nettlebed, Henley on Thames, Shiplake College, Hurley, Dorchester-on-Thames, Waterstock, Stoke Talmage, Stonor Park, Thame, Thame Park House and Aston. Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield features in one episode, and Twyford railway station repeatedly features as the fictional Causton railway station.

The Six Bells, a pub in Warborough, Oxfordshire,[8] repeatedly features as the Black Swan in the Midsomer village of Badger's Drift.[9]

Filming took place on Sunday 11 August 2013 at White Waltham Airfield, southwest of Maidenhead, England, for episode 4 of Series 16, "The Flying Club".[10]


In March 2011, the series' producer, Brian True-May, was suspended by All3Media after telling the TV listings magazine Radio Times that the programme did not have any non-white characters, because the series was a "bastion of Englishness". When challenged about the term "Englishness" and whether that would exclude different ethnic minorities, True-May responded: "Well, it should do, and maybe I'm not politically correct". He later went on to say that he wanted to make a programme "that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed". True-May's comments were investigated by the production company.[11] He was reinstated, having apologised "if his remarks gave unintended offence to any viewers", but he has since stepped down as producer.[12][13]

The following series (series 15) saw Asian characters appear on the show in the episodes "The Dark Rider" and "Written in the Stars",[14] though an Asian character had previously appeared in "Orchis Fatalis". Also, series 15 introduces more black characters, although previously they had been seen in background scenes, but had not had many speaking roles except for the Crown Prosecutor in the episode "Last Year's Model" (Series 9, episode 8), who was a black female, and in the episode "Dance With The Dead", in which two black men were among the dancers at a 1940s-themed party. Also, in episode 3 of season 11 ("Left for Dead"), the character Charlotte/Charlie (played by Indra Ové as the adult version and Jade Gould as the younger version) appeared to be of mixed race.[citation needed]

International sales

Midsomer Murders has been sold to a large number of countries and territories around the world. In 2004, it was among the three most-sold British TV shows worldwide, whether as TV Programming or DVD.[15]

In Australia first-run episodes and repeats are screened on national free-to-air network ABC1 with repeats also shown on sister station ABC2. The series was originally aired on the Nine Network. Repeat screenings are also aired on the subscription channels UKTV and 13th Street. A measure of the success of the series in Australia is that repeats of the series still rate highly and often feature in the nation's top twenty shows in national surveys.[16][17]

In Canada the series is broadcast on TVOntario and Book Television in Ontario, and on Knowledge in British Columbia, which in 2014 is showing Series 16.

In Ireland the series is shown by the state broadcaster, RTE.

In New Zealand the series has been broadcast for a number of years on the free-to-air channel Prime.

In the United States, the series was aired by A&E for a time and is now syndicated by American Public Television for broadcast on public television stations. As of September 2014, episodes through series 15 are available for streaming through Netflix.

In Germany, the series is broadcast in a German language synchronised version by the public broadcaster ZDF under the series title "de:Inspector Barnaby".


Composed by Jim Parker, the iconic main theme is a moderate-tempo waltz, performed (primarily though not exclusively) on an unusual electronic musical instrument, the theremin, which has a sound not unlike a low whistle or a human voice. The theremin part was played by Celia Sheen (1940-2011). From the 14th series onwards the soundtrack was altered so that during the closing titles a standardised version of the theme is played on a solo violin in place of the theremin.

Three soundtrack CDs have been released so far, containing musical cues from various series. The first two sold out quickly and are now out of print, making them extremely hard to find. The most recent soundtrack is currently being given away to subscribers of the Midsomer Murders DVD/Magazine package in the UK and the Netherlands.

Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders
Soundtrack album by Jim Parker
Released 1998
Genre Soundtrack
Length 65:15
Label Oceandeep Soundtracks Ltd

The first soundtrack release contains music from the first two series.

All music composed and conducted by Jim Parker

No. Title Length
1. "Midsomer Murders"   2:51
2. "Agnus Dei"   2:05
3. "The Village"   2:05
4. "An Irish Boy"   3:14
5. "Cambridge"   1:58
6. "Funeral Dance"   3:55
7. "Driving Home"   1:49
8. "Haunted Rooms"   2:32
9. "Discovery of a Dead Body"   3:55
10. "The Commune"   2:45
11. "The Alcoholic Fox-trot"   1:41
12. "Sarah's Lament"   1:59
13. "The Madonna's Statue"   2:47
14. "Milking Time"   2:10
15. "Scratching The Paintwork"   2:44
16. "Ancient Rome"   2:47
17. "Looking For Clues"   2:08
18. "Death on Stage"   2:35
19. "Rosa"   2:41
20. "The Village Band"   1:57
21. "Cully's Tune"   1:57
22. "Bunny Cakes"   2:17
23. "Magic Pipes"   1:43
24. "Hunt And Kill"   3:37
25. "Meeting in the Dark"   2:22
26. "The Fairground"   2:03
Total length:

The Best of Midsomer Murders

The Best of Midsomer Murders
Soundtrack album by Jim Parker
Released 16 September 2002
Genre Soundtrack
Length 63:05
Label Universal Classics

The second soundtrack release contains music from the first five series of Midsomer Murders, featuring both recycled cues from the previous release as well as some new material.

All music was conducted by Jim Parker, except for track 17 conducted by Don Lusher.

All songs written and composed by Jim Parker

No. Title Length
1. "Midsomer Murders"   2:51
2. "Agnus Dei"   2:05
3. "The Village"   2:05
4. "Isobel"   2:08
5. "Cambridge"   1:58
6. "Libera Me"   2:08
7. "Driving Home"   1:49
8. "Discovery of a Dead Body"   3:55
9. "Hunting"   1:51
10. "The Commune"   2:45
11. "The Alcoholic Fox – trot"   1:41
12. "Sarah's Lament"   1:59
13. "The Madonna's Statue"   2:47
14. "Milking Time"   2:10
15. "Rosa"   2:41
16. "Ancient Rome"   2:47
17. "The Postman"   2:38
18. "Looking For Clues"   2:08
19. "A Roving"   2:01
20. "The Village Band"   1:57
21. "An Irish Boy"   3:14
22. "Cully's Tune"   1:57
23. "Haunted Rooms"   2:32
24. "Bunny Cakes"   2:17
25. "Magic Pipes"   1:43
26. "Meeting in the Dark"   2:22
27. "The Fairground"   2:03
Total length:

The Music of Midsomer Murders

The Music of Midsomer Murders
Soundtrack album by Jim Parker
Released 2006
Genre Soundtrack
Length 43:39
Label Bentley Productions Ltd

This third release was given away to anyone subscribing to the series' DVD/magazine package, and once again contains a few new cues, while largely recycling old material.

All music was conducted by Jim Parker except for track 14, conducted by Don Lusher.

All songs written and composed by Jim Parker

No. Title Length
1. "Midsomer Murders"   2:51
2. "Ponies"   2:50
3. "Isobel"   2:08
4. "Seduction, 1953"   2:22
5. "Hunting"   1:51
6. "Discovery of a Dead Body"   3:55
7. "Driving Home"   1:49
8. "The Alcoholic Foxtrot"   1:41
9. "An Irish Boy"   3:14
10. "Cambridge"   1:58
11. "Rosa"   2:41
12. "Milking Time"   2:10
13. "Cully's Tune"   1:55
14. "The Postman"   1:31
15. "A Roving"   2:01
16. "Magic Pipes"   1:44
17. "The Village Band"   1:54
18. "Haunted Rooms"   2:32
19. "The Fairground"   2:03
Total length:

DVD releases

All 100 episodes that have been aired so far have been released in the UK (Region 2) including three Christmas specials. The first 16 series of Midsomer Murders have been released in Australia[18] and New Zealand (Region 4).

In January 2006, Midsomer Murders started a DVD and Magazine Collection, available at newsagents in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK.[citation needed]

Acorn Media UK has released 24 DVD sets of Midsomer Murders in North America as well as several collections. The Early Cases 10 disc collection of 18 episodes includes the pilot episode and those of series one, two, three, and four (except the last episode), as well as a bonus disc featuring a behind-the-scenes documentary. Acorn's "Barnaby's Casebook" 10 disc collection has 17 episodes, including the last episode of series four, followed by those of series five, six, and seven. Acorn's "Village Case Files" 8 disc collection includes the 16 episodes of series eight, and nine. The North American releases have been catching up with the time of original screening in the UK and the latest release (Set 24 released in July 2014) includes episodes first screened in January 2014.[citation needed]



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  4. "More or Less, How extraordinary is Ye Shiwen?". BBC. Retrieved 4 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  17. Knox, David (22 December 2013). "Ratings". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links