Midsomer Murders

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Midsomer Murders
Midsomer murders logo.jpg
GenreCrime drama, mystery fiction
Based onChief Inspector Barnaby 
by Caroline Graham
Directed byLuke Watson
Andy Hay
Renny Rye
Nick Laughland
Simon Langton
Alex Pillai
Peter Smith
Sarah Hellings
Jeremy Silberston
Richard Holthouse
Starring

Currently:
Neil Dudgeon
Gwilym Lee
Fiona Dolman
Tamzin Malleson

Formerly:
John Hopkins
Barry Jackson
Daniel Casey

Jane Wymark
Laura Howard
Kirsty Dillon
John Nettles
Jason Hughes
Composer(s)Jim Parker
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series16
No. of episodes100
(as of 12 February 2014) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Jo Wright (89+)
Brian True-May (1–88)
Producer(s)Betty Willingale
Editor(s)Derek Bain
CinematographyColin Munn
Graham Frake
Running time88–103 minutes
(excluding adverts)
Broadcast
Original channelITV
Picture format16 mm film:
576i 4:3 (SDTV)
(1997–2004)
Super 16 mm film:
576i 16:9 (SDTV)
(2004–2009)
High Definition Digital:
1080i 16:9 (HDTV)
(2009–present)
Audio formatStereo
(1997–2004)
Dolby Digital 5.1
(2004–present)
Original run23 March 1997 – Present
External links
Website
 
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Midsomer Murders
Midsomer murders logo.jpg
GenreCrime drama, mystery fiction
Based onChief Inspector Barnaby 
by Caroline Graham
Directed byLuke Watson
Andy Hay
Renny Rye
Nick Laughland
Simon Langton
Alex Pillai
Peter Smith
Sarah Hellings
Jeremy Silberston
Richard Holthouse
Starring

Currently:
Neil Dudgeon
Gwilym Lee
Fiona Dolman
Tamzin Malleson

Formerly:
John Hopkins
Barry Jackson
Daniel Casey

Jane Wymark
Laura Howard
Kirsty Dillon
John Nettles
Jason Hughes
Composer(s)Jim Parker
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series16
No. of episodes100
(as of 12 February 2014) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Jo Wright (89+)
Brian True-May (1–88)
Producer(s)Betty Willingale
Editor(s)Derek Bain
CinematographyColin Munn
Graham Frake
Running time88–103 minutes
(excluding adverts)
Broadcast
Original channelITV
Picture format16 mm film:
576i 4:3 (SDTV)
(1997–2004)
Super 16 mm film:
576i 16:9 (SDTV)
(2004–2009)
High Definition Digital:
1080i 16:9 (HDTV)
(2009–present)
Audio formatStereo
(1997–2004)
Dolby Digital 5.1
(2004–present)
Original run23 March 1997 – Present
External links
Website

Midsomer Murders is a British television detective drama[1] that has aired on ITV since 1997. The show is based on the books by Caroline Graham, 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 the Barnabys' efforts to solve numerous murders that take place in 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).

Production[edit]

Filming of Midsomer Murders began in the Autumn 1996, with the first episode entitled "The Killings at Badger's Drift" broadcast in the United Kingdom on 23 March 1997. Viewing figures for the series were healthy initially and still consistently exceeds 6 million. The feature-length drama attracts a number of actors from the stage and screen in guest-starring roles.

The majority of the early episodes were adapted by Anthony Horowitz from the original works by Caroline Graham. Horowitz and the original producers, Betty Willingale and Brian True-May, created the series. Current writers include Paul Logue, Michael Aitkens and Rachel Cuperman and Sally Griffiths. John Nettles retired at the end of 2010, after the 13th series of eight episodes, John's last episode was "Fit for Murder".

Neil Dudgeon replaced him in the 14th series, playing Tom Barnaby's cousin, DCI John Barnaby.[2] The character is first seen in the episode "The Sword of Guillaume".[3] Filming for the 17th series started in April 2014, with the first episode's title being "The Dagger Club".[4]

Episodes[edit]

The pilot episode of Midsomer Murders was shown on 23 March 1997. Since then 100 episodes have been broadcast, comprising 16 series and 3 Christmas specials (as of 12 February 2014). New episodes within each series have in recent years usually been screened during the autumn and winter months.

Characters[edit]

Cast[edit]

CharactersPortrayed byActor statusYears
DCI Tom BarnabyJohn Nettlesstarring; former1997–2011
DCI John BarnabyNeil Dudgeonstarring; present2010–present
Sgt Gavin TroyDaniel Caseystarring; former1997–2003, 2008
Sgt Daniel ScottJohn Hopkinsstarring; former2003–2005
Sgt Benjamin JonesJason Hughesstarring; former2005–2013
Sgt Charlie NelsonGwilym Leestarring; present2013–present
Dr George BullardBarry Jacksonstarring; former1997–1998,2000-2011
Dr Dan PetersonToby Jonesstarring; former1999
Dr Kate WildingTamzin Mallesonstarring; present2011–present
Joyce BarnabyJane Wymarkstarring; former1997–2011
Cully Barnaby (later Dixon)Laura Howardsupporting; former1997–2000, 2003–2011
Sarah BarnabyFiona Dolmanstarring; present2011–present
Characters and the seasons where they appeared
CharacterActor
12345678910111213141516
DCI Tom BarnabyJohn NettlesMain
DCI John BarnabyNeil DudgeonGuestMain
Sergeant Gavin TroyDaniel CaseyMainGuest
Sergeant Daniel ScottJohn HopkinsMain
Sergeant Benjamin JonesJason HughesMain
Sergeant Charlie NelsonGwilym LeeMain
Dr George BullardBarry JacksonMainMainRecurringMain
Dr Dan PetersonToby JonesRecurringMain
Kate WildingTamzin MallesonMain
Joyce BarnabyJane WymarkMain
Sarah BarnabyFiona DolmanMain

Setting[edit]

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.[5] This has even become a running joke among the British public. 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.

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, and many scenes are examples of "dramedy" (comic drama or dramatic comedy).

List of villages in Midsomer[edit]

  • Aspern Tallow
  • Badger's Drift
  • Binwell
  • Bishopwood
  • Bow Clayton
  • Broughton
  • Burwood Mantle
  • Calham Cross
  • Causton
  • Devington
  • Draycott
  • Dunstan
  • Elverton-cum-Latterley
  • Ferne Basset
  • Finchmere
  • Fletcher's Cross
  • Ford Florey
  • Goodman's Land
  • Great Pelfe
  • Great Worthy
  • Haddington
  • 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 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 Parva
  • Midsomer Pastures
  • Midsomer Priors
  • Midsomer Sonning
  • Midsomer St. Claire
  • Midsomer St. Michael
  • Midsomer Stanton
  • Midsomer Vertue
  • Midsomer Wellow
  • Midsomer Worthy
  • Midsomer Wyvern
  • Milton's Cross
  • Monks Barton
  • Morton Fendle
  • Morton Shallows
  • Newton Magna
  • Upper Warden

Filming locations[edit]

Causton was represented by Wallingford, Oxfordshire.[6] 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, and Waddesdon; in Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead town, Chipperfield, Flaunden, Bulbourne, Hadley Wood, Sarratt, and Watford; and, in Oxfordshire, Warborough, Islip, Nettlebed, Henley on Thames, 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,[7] repeatedly features as the Black Swan in the Midsomer village of Badger's Drift.[citation needed]

Filming took place on Sunday 11 August 2013 at White Waltham Airfield, southwest of Maidenhead, England, for episode 4 of the upcoming Series 16. It likely that the airfield is serving as an aerodrome in the episode as it is rumoured to feature the Supermarine Spitfire.[citation needed]

Controversy[edit]

In March 2011 the producer of the series, Brian True-May, was suspended by All3Media after telling the TV listings magazine the Radio Times that racial diversity in the programme was non-existent because the series was a "bastion of Englishness." When challenged about the term "Englishness" and whether that would exclude different ethnic minorities, True-May said "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.[8] He was reinstated, having apologised "if his remarks gave unintended offence to any viewers," but he has since stepped down as producer.[9][10] The following series (series 15) saw Asian characters appear on the show in the episodes "The Dark Rider" and "Written in the Stars,"[11] though an Asian character had previously appeared in "Orchis Fatalis", and black characters had been seen in background scenes, but had not had many speaking roles: the Crown Prosecutor in the episode "Last Year's Model" (Series 9, episode 8) was a black female, and in the episode "Dance With The Dead," two black men were among the dancers at a 1940s-themed party.

International sales[edit]

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[12] whether as TV Programming or DVD.

Soundtracks[edit]

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 is played by Celia Sheen. 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[edit]

Midsomer Murders
Soundtrack album by Jim Parker
Released1998
GenreSoundtrack
Length65:15
LabelOceandeep Soundtracks Ltd

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

All music composed and conducted by Jim Parker

No.TitleLength
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:
65:15

The Best of Midsomer Murders[edit]

The Best of Midsomer Murders
Soundtrack album by Jim Parker
Released16 September 2002
GenreSoundtrack
Length63:05
LabelUniversal 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 conducted by Jim Parker except for track 17 conducted by Don Lusher

All songs written and composed by Jim Parker

No.TitleLength
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:
63:05

The Music of Midsomer Murders[edit]

The Music of Midsomer Murders
Soundtrack album by Jim Parker
Released2006
GenreSoundtrack
Length43:39
LabelBentley 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 conducted by Jim Parker except for track 14 conducted by Don Lusher

All songs written and composed by Jim Parker

No.TitleLength
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:
43:39

DVD releases[edit]

All 65 episodes that have been aired so far have been released in the UK (Region 2) including the 2008 Christmas Special "Days of Misrule" released 2 February 2009. The first fifteen series of Midsomer Murders have been released in Australia[15] and New Zealand (Region 4).

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

Acorn Media has released 20 DVD sets of Midsomer Murders in North America, as well as a 19-disc collection available as The Early Cases. This set, which restores the episodes to their UK broadcast order, includes Acorn's set one, two, three, and five, as well as a bonus disc featuring a behind-the-scenes documentary. The North American releases are quite considerably behind UK releases.[citation needed]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Guardian (2 January 2008). "Midsomer shines for ITV". London. Retrieved 9 April 2008. 
  2. ^ "Midsomer Murders – The New Barnaby Joins John Nettles on Exclusive Acorn Media DVD Release". Prlog.org. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Neil Dudgeon to replace John Nettles in Midsomer Murders.". Itv.com. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.midsomermurders.org/daggerclub.htm
  5. ^ "More or Less, How extraordinary is Ye Shiwen?". BBC. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Midsomer Murders Locations". Midsomermurders.org. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Falconer, Kieran (19 July 2008). "Midsomer Murders: A very English setting". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Mark Easton (15 March 2011). "Midsomer Murders producer suspended over race row". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  9. ^ John Plunkett (23 March 2011). "Midsomer Murders co-creator to step down at end of current series". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Midsomer producer to 'step down' after current series". BBC News. 23 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Singh, Anita (14 September 2012). "Midsomer Murders gets two Asian characters". Telegraph. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Strong DVD Market Boosts UK TV Export Revenues". Culture.gov.uk. May 2005. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  13. ^ Knox, David (29 December 2013). "Ratings". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Knox, David (22 December 2013). "Ratings". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "Midsomer Murders DVD sales". ABC Shop. ABC Online. 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 

External links[edit]