After months of speculation Neil Dudgeon has been announced as the new star of ITV crime drama Midsomer Murder, replacing John Nettles who finishes filming on the series in July after 13 years as DCI Tom Barnaby.
But while the face of crime fighting in Midsomer is set to change, the name remains the same as Dudgeon’s character DCI John Barnaby is a cousin of the legendary murder-solver.
Dudgeon will debut in the series in tomorrow night’s ITV1 episode (10 February) The Sword of Guillaume, in which Tom Barnaby is despatched to the South Coast and enlists his cousin’s help in solving a crime.
Commenting on his departure Nettles, who has appeared in more than 80 episodes of the show, said: “I wanted to die in noble fashion in the service of my country and then be buried with full military honours in Westminster Abbey. In the event, Tom and his long-suffering wife Joyce will simply retire. It’s always better to leave when people want more.”
Nettles said it had “been a joy to be involved in such a long running series, with so many good actors and great shorelines”, adding: “If Neil has half the good times that I have had on Midsomer then he will be in seventh heaven. I am only worried that he is much younger than I am and a much better actor!”
Producer Brian True-May added: “Although we will miss the huge contribution that John has made to the series, the brand of Midsomer is so strong that I am confident of its continuing success. We look forward to our new Barnaby tackling more murder and mayhem in Midsomer.”
“Having worked with Neil Dudgeon twice on Midsomer Murders already, I feel he is the perfect choice. I admire him as an actor and know he will be a wonderful addition to the team and a great ambassador for the series.”
Dudgeon’s TV credits include: The Life of Riley; Sorted; Mrs Bradley Mysteries; Common As Muck and Messiah.