Midsomer Murders

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Midsomer Murders
Midsomer murders logo.jpg
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

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 origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 16
No. of episodes 100
(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
Cinematography Colin Munn
Graham Frake
Running time 88–103 minutes
(excluding adverts)
Broadcast
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 16 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 format Stereo
(1997–2004)
Dolby Digital 5.1
(2004–present)
Original run 23 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 English 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 autumn 1996, with the first episode 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 8 episodes, with his last being 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 is due to start in April 2014.

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). The episodes within each series are often aired many months apart.

Characters[edit]

Cast[edit]

Characters Portrayed by Actor status Years
DCI Tom Barnaby John Nettles starring; former 1997–2011
DCI John Barnaby Neil Dudgeon starring; present 2010–present
Sgt Gavin Troy Daniel Casey starring; former 1997–2003, 2008
Sgt Daniel Scott John Hopkins starring; former 2003–2005
Sgt Benjamin Jones Jason Hughes starring; former 2005–2013
Sgt Charlie Nelson Gwilym Lee starring; present 2013–present
Doctor George Bullard Barry Jackson starring; former 1997–1998,2000-2011
Doctor Dan Peterson Toby Jones starring; former 1999
Doctor Kate Wilding Tamzin Malleson starring; present 2011–present
Joyce Barnaby Jane Wymark starring; former 1997–2011
Sarah Barnaby Fiona Dolman starring; present 2011–present
Character Actor
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
DCI Tom Barnaby John Nettles Main
DCI John Barnaby Neil Dudgeon Guest 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
Dr. George Bullard Barry Jackson Main Main Recurring Main
Dr. Dan Peterson Toby Jones Recurring Main
Dr. Kate Wilding Tamzin Malleson Main
Joyce Barnaby Jane Wymark Main
Sarah Barnaby Fiona Dolman Main

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 and practices popularly seen as being characteristic of the 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 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. 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. This causes some black comedy, such as a woman being murdered by a wheel of cheese, and many scenes being 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.[5] 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,[6] 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 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.

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.[7] He was reinstated, having apologised "if his remarks gave unintended offence to any viewers", but he has since stepped down as producer.[8][9] The following series (series 15) saw Asian characters appear on the show in the episodes "The Dark Rider" and "Written in the Stars",[10] though an Asian character had previously appeared in "Orchis Fatalis" and black characters had been seen in background scenes, but not had speaking roles (for example in the episode "Dance With The Dead", where two black men were among the dancers at the 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[11] whether as TV Programming or DVD.

  • In Australia first-run episodes and repeats are screened on national free-to-air network ABC1. 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.[12][13]
  • In Austria the channel ORF2 airs the series as Inspector Barnaby.
  • In Belgium the series is shown subtitled on the Dutch-language channel Eén and dubbed in French on RTL-TVI, Club RTL, where it has also been retitled Inspecteur Barnaby.
  • In Bulgaria the literal translation of the title Убийства в Мидсъмър is used. The series first appeared subtitled on the Hallmark Channel, which continues to premiere the newest episodes and repeat the older ones. A Bulgarian distributor has selected the show and aired it dubbed on TV7, and after that on numerous other cable or regional channels. On 25 July 2011, the series began on Nova Television from Monday to Friday at 14:30.
  • In Canada the series is broadcast on TVOntario and Book Television in Ontario, and on Knowledge in British Columbia, which in 2009 is showing Series 9 to series 10.
  • In Croatia the series is broadcast on HRT, typically in the Friday late evening slot, about a year after the original airing, with the title translated as Umorstva u Midsomeru. Most of the series have been rerun. Various cable channels that carry the series are also available (such as Hallmark Channel Croatia and BBC Prime).
  • In the Czech Republic the series is known as Vraždy v Midsomeru (Murders in Midsomer), and it is broadcast on TV Prima, one of the four major TV channels there. It was also broadcast for a brief time by Nova Cinema, 2nd channel of the largest commercial TV company in CZ, Nova TV. In 2012 the series also is broadcast on Universal channel.
  • In Denmark it is called Kriminalkommisær Barnaby (Detective Inspector Barnaby) and is shown by DR (Danmarks Radio). DVDs have several times been sold with a weekly magazine called Billedbladet.
  • In Estonia the series is known as Midsomeri mõrvad (Midsomer Murders) and is broadcast on national public television channel TV3 with Estonian subtitles.
  • In Finland the series is known as Midsomerin murhat (Midsomer's Murders) and is shown on the channel YLE1 with Finnish subtitle.
  • In France the series is shown on France 3 and has been retitled Inspecteur Barnaby.
  • In Germany the channels ZDF and ZDFneo air the series as Inspector Barnaby without adhering to the chronological order of the episodes.
  • In Hungary the series is shown on the Universal Channel (former Hallmark Channel) and on Film+/Film+2 Channels. It is dubbed in Hungarian in two different versions. Its title is Kisvárosi gyilkosságok (Small-town Murders) on Universal, and A Midsomer gyilkosságok (The Midsomer Murders) on Film+/Film+2.
  • In Iceland the series is aired as Barnaby ræður gátuna (Barnaby Solves the Puzzle) on RÚV.
  • In Ireland the series is shown by the state broadcaster, RTE.
  • In Italy it is called L'ispettore Barnaby (Inspector Barnaby) and is one of the most viewed shows on the private channel La7. Reruns also air on satellite channel Fox Crime.
  • In Japan the series is shown on the "AXN Mystery" Cable Channel. It is called "Banabi Keibu" (Inspector Barnaby) and shown with Japanese subtitles.
  • In Latvia the series is shown on LTV 1 and has been retitled Midsomeras slepkavibas.
  • In Lithuania the series is shown on TV1 and has been retitled Midsomerio žmogžudystes.
  • In Macedonia the literal translation of the title Убиствa вo Мидсoмeр is used. The series first appeared (subtitled in Serbian) on the Hallmark Channel, which continues to premiere the newest episodes and repeat the older ones. A Macedonian TV channel Sitel has selected the show and it started to air from the very first episode in June 2011 .
  • In the Middle East it is aired on the Saudi channel MBC 4.
  • In New Zealand the series has been broadcast for a number of years on the free-to-air channel Prime.
  • In Norway the series is called Mord og Mysterier (Murder and Mysteries) and has developed a steady and loyal fanbase. It is broadcast on the second-largest TV channel, TV 2.
  • In Poland the series is called Morderstwa w Midsomer (Murders in Midsomer) and is aired on the Hallmark Channel (currently called 13th Street Universal).
  • In Portugal the series is shown on FOX Crime as Midsomer Murders, with Portuguese subtitles.
  • In Romania the series is called Crimele din Midsomer (Midsomer Murders) and is aired on Diva Universal and, more recently, on Pro TV.
  • In Russia it is called Чисто английские убийства ("Very English Murders") and has been repeatedly shown on various channels. The reason for such an unusual choice of title is the great success of the Soviet film Чисто английское убийство (A Very English Murder, 1974 ), adapted from the novel An English Murder (1951) by Cyril Hare.
  • In Serbia the series is called "Ubistva u Midsomeru" and is aired on Fox televizija and the Hallmark Channel.
  • In Slovakia the series is aired on JOJ Plus as Vraždy v Midsomeri (Murders in Midsomer).
  • In Slovenia the series is aired on POP TV and its sister channel POP BRIO and the Universal Channel, and is called Umori na podeželju (Murders in the Countryside). DVDs of the series have been sold via newspapers. The first 14 series will be aired on RTVSLO1 and starting on 3 June 2012
  • In South Africa the series is aired on the Universal Channel on DStv.
  • In South Korea the series is aired every Friday evening on the BBC Entertainment channel on Sky. It has been seen from series 12 onwards on channel number 334.
  • In Spain the series is called Los asesinatos de Midsomer (Midsomer Murders). Only the first episodes were aired on City TV.
  • In Sri Lanka the series is aired on Channel Eye every Sunday Night.
  • In Sweden the series, translated to Morden i Midsomer (The Murders in Midsomer) and airing on SVT1, is hugely popular and has become a traditional part of summer television schedules. Older series are currently aired on TV3 and TV8. DVDs of the episodes were previously sold weekly with copies of a newspaper.
  • In Ukraine the series is called "Суто англійські вбивства" (Very English Murders), and has been shown on some channels, most recently (since 2009) on НТН Channel. The reason for the choice of title is the same as in Russia.
  • In the United States the series was aired by Arts & Entertainment Television for a time, and is now syndicated by American Public Television for broadcast on public television stations. As of 2012 the first 13 series are available for streaming through Amazon; as of March 2013, episodes through series 13 are available for streaming through Netflix, and series 1 through 13 are available for DVD rental.

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
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:
65:15

The Best of Midsomer Murders[edit]

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 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:
63:05

The Music of Midsomer Murders[edit]

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 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:
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[14] 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. ^ "More or Less, How extraordinary is Ye Shiwen?". BBC. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Midsomer Murders Locations". Midsomermurders.org. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Falconer, Kieran (19 July 2008). "Midsomer Murders: A very English setting". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Mark Easton (15 March 2011). "Midsomer Murders producer suspended over race row". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  8. ^ John Plunkett (23 March 2011). "Midsomer Murders co-creator to step down at end of current series". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Midsomer producer to 'step down' after current series". BBC News. 23 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Singh, Anita (14 September 2012). "Midsomer Murders gets two Asian characters". Telegraph. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Strong DVD Market Boosts UK TV Export Revenues". Culture.gov.uk. May 2005. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  12. ^ Knox, David (29 December 2013). "Ratings". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Knox, David (22 December 2013). "Ratings". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "Midsomer Murders DVD sales". ABC Shop. ABC Online. 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 

External links[edit]