Midsomer Murders Review: Barnaby Bolts Before He’s Bumped Off..

MIDSOMER MURDERS: Wednesday 12th January, ITV1, 8pm ALERT ME

Like every student worth their loan, I spent many hungover Saturday afternoons watching Midsomer Murders during my youth. Back then of course, Freeview was merely a pipe-dream, so young scholars like myself were restricted to a mere five channels and in amongst the horse-racing and 50s film matinees, DCI Barnaby always won out. As is often the way when you are at university, it was only a couple of years later that I realised how bloody brilliant life really was…

It would be easy to go on about the sheer ludicrousness of this television; the murder rate that compares with the poorest South African townships, the exclusively upper class residents who make Barnaby look like a veritable chav by comparison or the absurdity of the murders (the indignity of being done over with an empty mineral water bottle..) but none of that takes away from the fact that it is exceptionally watchable tosh.

As well as being the first episode in John Nettles’ final run as the rural sleuth – he is leaving Midsomer later in the year (presumably from work-related stress) to be replaced by Neil Dudgeon* – this evening’s offering centres around some ‘hot-shot banker from the city’ (the city!!) developing some property in Pelfe Chase. As you can imagine, the rather uppity inhabitants of the idyllic county are none too pleased about the whole situation. The word ‘cronies’ was used on no fewer than five occasions in the fist half an hour alone by my count…

When a typically plum-mouthed woman who opposes these awful ‘city cronies’ is customarily murdered in the dark after branding the apparently reasonable developer in question a “bent gerry builder with the morals of a tomcat..”, an almighty investigation kicks-off. Vintage Midsomer of course. Oh how we will miss you Barnaby…

*Incidentally, Dudgeon will be playing Barnaby’s cousin, John Barnaby, a move that is probably a vehicle for continued sales to territories where the show is known as “Inspector Barnaby”.

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