TV Quickfire: Star Neil Dudgeon on the latest series of Midsomer Murders
As Midsomer Murders returns to ITV with four brand new episodes, we spoke to star Neil Dudgeon to find out more...
WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS ON RETURNING TO SET?
WE STARTED filming again at the beginning of October. On the first day, when I first arrived back and we started shooting The Wolf Hunter Of Little Worthy, it was all on a glamping site. It was all very Midsomer – except that everybody was distant and wearing the masks. I thought, 'This is really weird and really strange and a little bit unnerving', and within about 15 minutes I was quizzing Mark Williams and Sean Redmond about whether they'd murdered somebody. I sort of slipped back into the Midsomer world with the frightening ease.
DID SOCIAL DISTANCING POSE ANY PROBLEMS FOR SHOOTING?
Midsomer is a very physically affectionate set, if I can put it that way. There's lots of handshaking, hugging and kissing in the mornings, that sort of thing, and that's had to stop. Sometimes you wonder, 'What's that point in going to work without that?'. But we've struggled on.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE FORTHCOMING EPISODES?
We shot two episodes before Christmas, which are going to be broadcast shortly, I believe. The Wolf Hunter of Little Worthy and The Stitches Society, we did those before Christmas. And then we reconvened again in January and we shot another episode. There's The Stitcher Society – it's an episode about a village where lots of people have got heart problems and they're all people of a certain age or a similar age to me. Also, in that is Nimmy March – some older viewers may remember a series years ago called Common As Muck from the mid '90s.
CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE ANY OTHER FAMILIAR FACES?
In that episode, there was a young man who appeared on set who I had just seen in an entire series. Jacob Fortune-Lloyd is his name, who is in The Queen's Gambit, which is fantastic. And then there he was on our set being fantastic… In The Sting Of Death episode is Griff Rhys Jones, who was fascinating and hilarious and lovely to spend some time with. And then also I must mention Derek Griffiths, who was a hero of my childhood from Playschool and Play Away and those are things when I was a tiny little boy.
IT'S NOW BEEN 10 YEARS SINCE YOU TOOK ON THE ROLE OF DCI JOHN BARNABY...
I never had any idea that it will go on this long. They said come in and do a few episodes of Midsomer and I thought, 'I'll give it a try. I hope I don't destroy the show inside one episode because that would be very embarrassing, after John Nettles has done it so marvellously for 13 years and I bury it inside one episode'. That would have been very embarrassing. But we got through that first series and then they wanted to do it again and I thought 'Hurrah!', and sort of repaid the faith of the people who cast me in it.
DO YOU THINK YOU'D MAKE A GOOD POLICE OFFICER?
In Midsomer, there's always loads of people who might [want to] murder you and they're all lying and they're all very hard to pin down. Whereas, in real life, you find some bloke's been murdered and you go 'Where was his wife?' And she was standing next to him with the big knife in her hand. So, I think we'd be pretty good. I do the thinking and Nick [Hendrix, co-star] can run around dragging people into lakes and stuff like that.
:: The new series of Midsomer Murders is airing on ITV now