Smokie’s Willy CYs Preview, Rd10: Midsomer

I was interested to read the recent release of Victorian crime statistics. It seems that we are no longer safe in our homes, and most are fearful of evening walking down to the shops to buy some milk for our cuppa. Luckily, when I am walking home after dark I wear my invisible shield: ten pints at the pub creates a force field, which is impervious to any threat to my physical well-being.


In the aftermath of the tragic siege at Brighton, I began to ponder whether it was all true and not just a media beat-up. I began checking under my bed each night to ensure that my Roy Hobbs Wonderboy was still in its rightful place. Particularly when Matthew Guy and Malcolm Turnbull both in effect blamed Premier Daniel Andrews for letting the perpetrator loose on the streets. Who knows just how many crims Dan the Man has freed? But as fate would have it, at that very moment, whilst watching UKTV, a promo for Midsomer Murders flickered across the television screen. In that moment I realised that, no matter how dangerous the dark streets of Melbourne become, this city will always be a safer place in which to live than the county of Midsomer in the English countryside.


Have you ever watched this show? Yes? No? Well, to set the scene for those who may be new to the genre of genteel English detective/crime shows: Midsomer Murders focuses on Detective Inspector Tom Barnaby and his various sidekicks’ efforts to solve murders in the sleepy county of Midsomer. One of the kickers is that there is never just one murder per episode – there are usually a few. Meaning that, for an idyllic-looking location, Midsomer not only has much more than its fair share of murders, but it is also home to more serial-killers per capita than Rikers Island.


The original Barnaby, who took a retirement package a few seasons ago and was replaced by his cousin John (still following?), had a long-suffering wife named Joyce Barnaby (who would probably make a better deputy prime-minister than our Barnaby, Joyce). He was as cool as a cucumber, and revelled in the formulaic plots that presented sidekicks (in order) Troy, Scott, Jones and Nelson as the biggest dimwits to have ever been admitted into the job. He was the smugly heavy-breathing know-all who was always a step ahead of the rest. I was not sad to see him depart.


But for mine, it is the methods used by the murderers that regularly steal the show. Drowning in a vat of cider? Check. Bludgeoning with a candlestick? Check (very Cluedo-esque). Poisoning? Yes. Decapitation. This is a recurring favourite. Garroting with the odd ornamental sword and/or dagger, being squashed with the odd ancient artifact; you name it, that type of grisly end has befallen a resident of Midsomer. The script-writers surely compete with each other to see who can conceive of the most far-fetched way to kill off a character. They are just taking the piss.      


Unbelievably, this staple of English drama it has been ‘gracing’ our screens for nigh on 21 years, at last count. Someone somewhere on the Internet has probably kept a head count (sorry). And apparently there are many more murders in the planning.

Feeling safer?  



About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Super funny smokie. ‘Midsomer’ is a horrendous show, pretty much like everything on FTA. The new season of ‘Fargo’ on SBS has been pretty good, but there’s little else. Thank god for production companies like HBO.

    And on our so called crime epidemic, I think a lot of it has to with this age of CCTV. I wonder how many News services would carry a story if it didn’t have a little grainy footage to accompany it? Bloody fear-mongering.

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