Country of origin United Kingdom
Composer(s) Jim Parker
First episode date 23 March 1997
|Genre Crime drama, mystery fiction|
Based on Chief Inspector Barnabyby Caroline Graham
Directed by Luke WatsonAndy HayRenny RyeNick LaughlandSimon LangtonAlex PillaiPeter SmithSarah HellingsJeremy SilberstonRichard Holthouse
Starring John NettlesDaniel CaseyBarry JacksonJane WymarkLaura HowardToby JonesJohn HopkinsJason HughesKirsty DillonNeil DudgeonFiona DolmanTamzin MallesonGwilym LeeManjinder VirkNick Hendrix
Theme song Midsomer Murders Theme Song
Networks ITV, Sveriges Television, STV, UTV, ITV HD
Cast John Nettles, Neil Dudgeon, Jane Wymark, Jason Hughes, Fiona Dolman
Midsomer Murders is a British television detective drama 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.
- Midsomer murders
- Filming locations
- International sales
- Midsomer Murders
- The Best of Midsomer Murders
- The Music of Midsomer Murders
- DVD releases
The stories are set in modern-day England and 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), Sgt Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee) and currently Sgt Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix).
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. 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, Chris Murray, Lisa Holdsworth, 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, who is first seen in the episode "The Sword of Guillaume".
In February 2016, it was announced that there would be a 19th series, consisting of six episodes. Nick Hendrix will play the role of Detective Sergeant Jamie Winter, replacing Gwilym Lee. Returning too in the 19th series are Manjinder Virk as pathologist Dr Kam Karimore and Fiona Dolman as Sarah Barnaby.
The pilot episode of Midsomer Murders was shown on 23 March 1997. As of 18 January 2017, 114 episodes have been broadcast, comprising 19 series.
Midsomer is an English fictional county. The county town is Causton, a middle-sized town where Detective Chief Inspector 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, and became a naming convention 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, 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.'
Causton is represented by the Town of Wallingford in Oxfordshire. Causton police station is represented by the former RAF Staff College, Bracknell. Most episodes have been filmed in villages around Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire counties.
The Six Bells, a pub in Warborough, Oxfordshire, repeatedly features as the Black Swan in the Midsomer village of Badger's Drift.
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".
In the Killings of Copenhagen episode, number five in the sixteenth series—the 100th episode in all—several scenes are filmed at location in central Copenhagen, like Rådhuspladsen ("the City Hall Square", Nyhavn), "New Port" with its canal and old colourful houses, a Danish countryside church, and at the circular square inside the Copenhagen Police headquarters building The murder in Copenhagen is one of two within the entire series (until episode 106, at least) where a murder takes place outside the fictive County of Midsomer, the other being in Brighton where Inspector John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) is introduced.
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. He was reinstated, having apologised "if his remarks gave unintended offence to any viewers," a classic sorry-not-sorry approach, but he has since stepped down as producer.
The following series (series 15) saw Asian characters appear on the show in the episodes "The Dark Rider" and "Written in the Stars," though an Asian character had previously appeared in "Orchis Fatalis". Series 15 also introduced 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 woman, and in the episode "Dance With The Dead", in which two black men were among the dancers at a 1940s-themed party. In episode 3 of series 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.
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.
In Armenia, the series is shown by Shoghakat TV.
In Australia first-run episodes and repeats are screened on national free-to-air network ABC 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.
In Canada the series is broadcast on TVOntario and Book Television in Ontario, and on Knowledge in British Columbia, which in 2014 was showing Series 16.
In Ireland, the series is shown by Be3.
In New Zealand the series was broadcast on TVNZ until it's 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 March 2017, episodes through series 18 are available for streaming through Netflix and through series 19 part 1 on Acorn TV.
In Germany, the series is broadcast in a German language synchronised version by the public broadcaster ZDF under the series title "Inspector Barnaby".
In Norway, the series is broadcast by TV2 Norway under the series title "Mord og mysterier".
In Denmark, the series is broadcast by DR1 under the title "Barnaby". Parts of the one hundredth episode, the Killings of Copenhagen, were filmed in the country.
In Italy, the series is dubbed and presented as "L'ispettore Barnaby".
In Finland, the series is broadcast by the public broadcaster Yle TV1 under the title Midsomerin murhat.
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.
The first soundtrack release contains music from the first two series.
All music composed and conducted by Jim Parker
The Best of Midsomer Murders
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 tracks written by Jim Parker.
The Music of Midsomer Murders
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 tracks written by Jim Parker.
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 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.
Acorn Media UK has released 24 DVD sets of Midsomer Murders in North America as well as several collections, which are: