In the 21st century era of ‘one and done’ British dramas, there lives among us the UK’s longest running contemporary detective drama series, Midsomer Murders, which celebrated two decades of murder in the picturesque, but deadly, countryside of Midsomer back in 2017. Showing no signs of slowing down, filming is currently underway on the 22nd series of Midsomer Murders which, once again, promises another seemingly endless array of shocking and bizarre mysteries for Detective John Barnaby to unravel.
Based on Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Barnaby book series, Midsomer Murders started way back in 1997 with John Nettles in the lead role before Neil Dudgeon took over almost a decade ago in March 2011 (series 14). Dudgeon, as DCI John Barnaby, is the younger cousin to DCI Tom Barnaby who was played by Nettles since the beginning of series 1.
Over the course of the last 20+ years, while the picturesque yet fictional towns in the county of Midsomer have seen their fair share of murder, only two DCI’s, the Barnabys (Tom and John) have headed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) working with several different sergeants throughout the 2+ decade long run of the show including 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). Hendrix, will return for series 22 along with Annette Badland and Fiona Dolman, who portray DS Jamie Winter, pathologist Dr Fleur Perkins, and Sarah Barnaby respectively.
Midsomer Murders has never had any difficulty attracting well-known performers from all walks of the British mystery and drama arena, with Amanda Abbington (Mr Selfridge, Sherlock) and Mark Williams (The Indian Doctor, Father Brown). PBS fans of the recent broadcast of Van der Valk, seen on Sunday nights in September and starring Marc Warren will also recognize Maimie McCoy, who has also been confirmed for the series 22 premiere. You may also remember McCoy, who played Lucienne Hassell in Van der Valk, from guest roles in Wallander, Endeavour, Grantchester and DCI Banks.
According to producers, fans of the series will not be disappointed with upcoming episodes featuring another series of intriguing premises, from an urban myth becoming a murderous reality to a post-operative heart rehabilitation club whose members’ dreams of a second chance at life are cut short. The new series will also include an episode set appropriately during a murder mystery weekend and another at a twisted scarecrow festival, while one installment will focus on the deadly secrets of an amateur dramatics company.
As are other series that have recently returned to filming amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Midsomer is committed to maintaining a safe working environment for all cast and crew. Dudgeon sounded excited to return to filming although admitted it will be a bit strange. “Everyone is excited to get back to work. Sadly there won’t be as much hugging and kissing on set as usual but we’ve all got to make sacrifices! It’s bound to be a bit strange at first with all the safety protocols but hopefully we can all keep each other safe and shoot another great series,” said Dudgeon.
Thankfully, a number of public television stations in America are broadcasting the series to great success. Even better is the fact that the most current series available is series 17 so even it if stopped today, there would still be four series (S18-21) not yet seen on public television stations.
Looking forward to some new Midsomer Murders comfort food in 2021!