Neil Dudgeon: Midsomer's Murders are low

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 11 April 2014
Neil Dudgeon

Neil Dudgeon

Neil Dudgeon believes many 'Midsomer Murders' fans think there are too many deaths in the show because they believe Midsomer is a village not a county

Neil Dudgeon believes the kill count in 'Midsomer Murders' is actually quite low.

The 53-year-old actor portrays lead character DCI John Barnaby in the ITV crime drama and although fans often joke about the high murder rate in the fictional county, Neil insists the viewers need to remember it is actually supposed to be a huge area of Britain.

Neil told BANG Showbiz: "I think of Midsomer as kind of Buckinghamshire, half of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, it's a sort of super-county. You could also think of it being like Devon, Wiltshire and Dorset all put together. So if you think about it like that, in 16 years there's been about 305 murders that's less than 20 murders a year, if my maths are right. In an area that size, you think, 'That's not so many really.' It's the fact that come in clusters that is possibly alarming and hopefully entertaining. Midsomer is not that deadly or murderous."

Neil thinks viewers' misconception about the death rate comes from the mistaken belief that Midsomer is actually a village.

The star has come up with an idea to stop people from thinking Midsomer is a village - he's going to get T-shirts printed with the correct information emblazoned on them.

He joked: "I want to get T-shirts made which say, 'It's not a village, it's a county!' People always say, 'Oh God, all those murders in one village.' I think that would be stretching the bounds of believability, even more than we do anyway, if everything happened in one village ... I hoped when my Barnaby moved in and took over from the old Barnaby that we could do something to arrest the alarming murder rate but that hasn't happened. I've always been a fan of several murders per episode any way."

Neil became the lead character in the series after John Nettles - who played DCI Tom Barnaby, the cousin of John Barnaby - decided to quit in 2011 after 14 years in the role.

Neil feels very comfortable in the show and is pleased that viewers seem to like his work in it as much as they enjoyed John's performances.

He explained: "I've been having a marvellous time since taking over from John, it's been great. When I started I'd always been a fan of the show which helped me greatly, because I felt I had at least my idea of what the show was, what it was meant to be, what I, as a fan of the show, really enjoyed about it. Luckily, people seem to like it."

The 100th episode of 'Midsomer Murders, The Killings of Copenhagen' - which as well as Neil stars Danish actors Ann Eleonora Jorgensen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Marie Askehave and Nicolaj Kopernikus - is available to buy on DVD now.

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