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Midsomer Murders is a British crime drama television series adapted by Anthony Horowitz and Douglas Watkinson from the novels in the Chief Inspector Barnaby book series (created by Caroline Graham). It has been broadcast on two channels since its premiere on 23 March 1997. The series focuses on various murder cases that take place within small country villages across the fictional English county of Midsomer, and the efforts of the senior police detective and his partner within the fictional Midsomer Constabulary to solve the crime by determining who the culprit is and the motive for their actions. It often identifies itself differently from other detective dramas by featuring a mixture of lighthearted whimsy and dark humor and a notable soundtrack that includes a theremin for the show’s theme.
The program has featured two lead stars—from its premiere in 1997, John Nettles as Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Tom Barnaby, until he retired from the drama in February 2011; then Neil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby, Tom’s younger cousin, since March 2011. Both main stars have featured a list of supporting actors who worked alongside them, including Jane Wymark, Barry Jackson, Daniel Casey, John Hopkins, Jason Hughes, and Gwilym Lee. Nick Hendrix is the current co-star working with Dudgeon. Midsomer Murders remains popular in British television schedules and broadcast internationally in over 200 countries and territories.
Filming of Midsomer Murders began in the fall of 1996, and the first episode, “The Killings at Badger’s Drift,” was broadcast in the United Kingdom on 23 March 1997. This inaugural episode was the highest-rated single drama program of 1997, watched by 13.5 million viewers. Throughout its run, the feature-length drama has attracted many well-known, accomplished actors from the stage and screen in guest-starring roles.
Anthony Horowitz and the original producers, Betty Willingale and Brian True-May, created the series. Horowitz adapted the majority of the early episodes from the original works by Caroline Graham. Current writers include Helen Jenkins, Jeff Povey, Nicholas Hicks-Beach, Julia Gilbert, and Chris Murray.
Actor John Nettles originated the role of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. Nettles’ character retired at the end of 2010, after the 13th series of eight episodes; his last episode was “Fit for Murder.” Neil Dudgeon replaced him in the 14th series, playing Tom Barnaby’s cousin, DCI John Barnaby, who was first seen in a series 13 episode, “The Sword of Guillaume”. Dudgeon appeared in Midsomer Murders in the series 4 episode “Garden of Death,” in which he played the role of a tongue-in-cheek gardener, Daniel Bolt, who is somewhat interested in sex.
Series 20 began in the UK on ITV on 10 March 2019, with episode 1, “The Ghosts of Causton Abbey”. In the US, the entire six-episode series was immediately released on Acorn TV and BritBox and became available on Netflix after the UK broadcast schedule had finished. The show was removed from Netflix in October 2019; only the first 19 series had been shown on the service. Series 20 onward has never been shown on Netflix in the US or Canada. As of January 2021, series 1–20 can be seen in the US on IMDb and Tubi TV.
The show’s official social media confirmed that production of series 21 began in March 2019. As with series 20, series 21 will be initially released in the USA. It will premiere on Acorn TV and BritBox on 1 December 2019 before airing in the UK in January 2020. As of October 2020, filming had begun on series 22 after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Midsomer is a fictional English county. The county town is Causton, a medium-sized town where Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby lives with his wife and where the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is located. Much of the series’ popularity arises from the paradox of sudden violence in a picturesque and peaceful rural setting. Various clues in several episodes hint that Midsomer might cover Berkshire and part of northern Hampshire. This may be supported by the attack “Dead in the Water,” where a body is found in the River Thames.
Many of the villages and small towns of the county have the word “Midsomer” in their name; this is inspired in part by the real county of Somerset, specifically, its actual town of Midsomer Norton, and became a naming convention within the show. Midsomer Wellow and Causton are derived from the names of authentic Somerset villages Wellow and Corston.
Each episode usually contains several murders, the high body count being a well-known feature of the show. Despite this, the culprit is seldom a serial killer—very frequently, the murderer is driven by circumstance to compound their crimes and keeps killing to cover up the original murder.
Humor is a central feature of the series. There is often dark comedy, such as a woman being murdered with a wheel of cheese, and many scenes are examples of “dramedy” (comic drama or dramatic comedy). According to Radio Times when describing the episode “Death and the Divas” (series 15, episode 4): “Midsomer Murders never takes itself too seriously, but here it’s got its tongue so far into its cheek, it hurts.”
Nostalgia has also been a feature of the show, especially in its Nettles era. Most episodes have been set in hermetic rural villages that were already changing rapidly by the time the series began, Nettles opined in a 2003 interview. The old-fashioned settings are true to the Graham novels: “Although the books are set in the present,” wrote one reviewer, Graham’s country villages “seem to come from another time.”
“The spirit is obviously of the ’50s”, Nettles remarked, and the less crowded, less complicated village/world was part of the book’s appeal.
In recent years, Midsomer County has become highly diverse, and it is not unusual to find a high percentage of multiple ethnic minorities living in one village. Series 22 featured villages that, along with Caucasians, might be home to South Asians, East Asians, Southeast Asians, Afro-Caribbeans, and others of mixed heritage.
Some towns, including Thame and Wallingford, in Oxfordshire, represent Causton.
The Six Bells, a pub in Warborough, Oxfordshire, repeatedly features as the Black Swan in the Midsomer village of Badger’s Drift. The Bull & Butcher, the village pub in Turville, Buckinghamshire, featured in both “Murder on St. Malley’s Day” (renamed The Chalk and Gown) and “Schooled in Murder” (renamed as The Spotted Cow).
The Buckinghamshire Tourism Authority announced 2021 the launching of three themed tours of locations in the county that have been used to film the series.
In “The Killings of Copenhagen”—number five in the sixteenth series and the 100th episode overall—several scenes are filmed on location in central Copenhagen, like Rådhuspladsen (“the City Hall Square”), Nyhavn (“New Port”) with its canal and old colorful houses, a Danish countryside church, and at the circular courtyard inside the Copenhagen Police Headquarters building. The murder in Copenhagen is one of three within the entire series (until episode 114, at least) that take place outside the fictional County of Midsomer, the others being in Wales where DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) and DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) travel in ‘Death and Dust’ and Brighton where Inspector John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) is introduced.
Main characters: The Barnabys and their families
DCI Tom Barnaby
Detective Chief Inspector Thomas “Tom” Geoffrey Barnaby (John Nettles) (series 1–13)—A senior member of Causton CID, Barnaby used to work for MI6. A patient, tolerant man, Barnaby’s style of investigation is systematic and fair. Barnaby is a sensible and wise individual, able to recognize seemingly obscure clues. Barnaby’s social life revolves around his wife Joyce and his daughter Cully, who often provide a personal connection with the crimes that he is investigating. Barnaby’s parents are both deceased in the episode “Blue Herrings.” In his last appearance, “Fit for Murder,” we learn that his father died on his birthday at Barnaby’s current age.
Joyce Barnaby (Jane Wymark) (series 1–13)—DCI Tom Barnaby’s long-suffering wife. She tolerates her husband despite his being a workaholic who spent their honeymoon solving the “Pimlico Poisoner” case, which suggests that they met in London. Joyce is an easy-going and friendly woman who likes to be involved in community activities. She has long possessed a desire to move out of their Causton home and into one of the picturesque Midsomer villages—only to be put off by the gruesome murders that occur there. She’s known to her family as an experimental but not consistently successful, cook. Thus, Tom often takes advantage of every opportunity to dine out. She married Tom in 1973, and their only child, Cully, was conceived on their honeymoon. Her parents are Muriel and Douglas.
DCI John Barnaby
Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) (guest: series 13; main: series 14–present)—Barnaby transferred from Brighton to Midsomer’s Causton CID to replace his older cousin, Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, when Barnaby retired. Son of Ned Barnaby, he has a degree in Psychology from Durham University, which earned him some ribbing from DS Jones when he first arrived; however, despite a rocky start, the two make a formidable team. Barnaby lives in a large country cottage with his wife Sarah, daughter Betty, and their dog Sykes (later Paddy). He first makes a guest appearance in the series 13 episode, “The Sword of Guillaume,” before taking over in the series 14 premiere, “Death in the Slow Lane.” Dudgeon made his first appearance on the show not as John Barnaby but as womanizing gardener Daniel Bolt in the series four opener “Garden of Death.”
Sarah Barnaby (Fiona Dolman) (series 14–present)—John Barnaby’s wife is the headmistress of a local secondary school. As she has a full-time career of her own (unlike Joyce), she does not figure as much in her husband’s cases, and they don’t have any children (until the end of the sixteenth series), although you may consider Sykes, their dog, as their child. They have a loving marriage and celebrated their fifteenth anniversary in “Schooled for Murder.” Throughout the sixteenth series, Sarah is pregnant, and in the last episode, she gives birth to their first child, a daughter called Betty.
The Assistants/Junior Partners
DS Gavin Troy
Detective Sergeant (later Inspector) Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey) (primary: series 1–7; guest: series 11)—DCI Barnaby’s first assistant. Troy is bright and ambitious. Early in the series, Troy is known for his careless driving, causing several near-accidents. In the first episode, he is less enlightened than his boss, who tells Troy that he is “as politically correct as a Nuremberg Rally.” For example, Troy is uncomfortable with gay people (he calls them “ass bandits”) and older people, whom he calls “wrinklies.”
In “Market For Murder” and “Destroying Angel,” Troy provides valuable insight into finding out how the killers committed the murders, so oddly, it was not Barnaby who solved those cases. In “Painted In Blood,” Barnaby is forbidden to participate in the investigation, but Troy supplies him with information. Later on, Barnaby is taken hostage in a bank robbery and might have died until Troy snuck in and attacked the robber, yet at the same Troy would himself have been killed had Barnaby not stepped in, but together they overpowered the robber.
Troy’s relationship with Barnaby is warm, making a formidable pair. Troy was promoted to Inspector and transferred to Northumbria in the first episode of the seventh series, called “The Green Man.” Troy makes one re-appearance in the first episode of Series 11, “Blood Wedding,” to attend the wedding of Tom’s daughter, Cully Barnaby (whom he once secretly kissed in the episode “Death And Dreams,” which temporarily strained his relationship with Barnaby), where he met his second successor, Sgt Jones.
DS Dan Scott
Detective Sergeant Daniel “Dan” Scott (John Hopkins) (series 7-8)—He is a lot cockier than his predecessor DS Troy; he is a Londoner who was not thrilled at being transferred from the Metropolitan Police Service to Midsomer, which he regards as the “sticks.” His relationship with Tom was prickly at first. However, it mellowed into a slightly awkward marriage of convenience, with Barnaby still disapproving of Scott’s methods and Scott grudgingly starting to respect Barnaby.
In “The Straw Woman,” Scott develops a love interest who is brutally murdered. Scott’s departure from the show was abrupt. In “The House in the Woods,” Barnaby describes Scott as calling him to say he was sick and thus unable to come to work. Barnaby invites Ben Jones to assist him on that case. After this incident, no more is heard from Scott, and Jones becomes the new deputy.
DS Ben Jones
Detective Sergeant (later Inspector) (previously Police and Detective Constable) Benjamin “Ben” Jones (Jason Hughes) (primary: series 9–15; guest: series 19)—Jones is Tom Barnaby’s third junior partner. as well as being the only one to serve opposite both of the Barnaby cousins. Unlike Troy and Scott, who first appeared in the series as plain-clothed detective sergeants, Jones was a uniformed police constable when first introduced. Jones was first appointed as a detective constable and Barnaby’s second-in-command (after assisting Barnaby during Sgt Scott’s absence), and he was promoted to detective sergeant by the end of his first series.
Jones is considerably less naive than Troy or Scott, possessing an insight into cases neither would have. Jones was born in Wales and remarked about his love for Wales when he and Tom traveled there in the episode “Death and Dust.” He is a Welsh Baptist, as Barnaby calls him in “A Sacred Trust” (Series 14, Episode 7), to which Jones replies, “What’s wrong with that? Except the teetotalism.”
He was a Freemason, as revealed in “King’s Crystal”. In the episode “Death in Chorus,” Jones exhibits a remarkable vocal talent and is recruited to sing tenor in the Midsomer Worthy choir. In “Death in the Slow Lane,” it is revealed that Jones was interested in replacing Tom Barnaby upon his retirement and was a little put out by his cousin, John Barnaby, being transferred to the position instead. In reality, he could not have been given the post because it would have required him to bypass the rank of inspector.
In “Murder Of Innocence,” it is revealed that Jones is in a relationship with firefighter Susie Bellingham. In the series 16 opener, “The Christmas Haunting,” it is revealed that Jones has been promoted to Inspector and transferred to Brighton. A photo of Jones (alongside Kate Wilding, who also moved to Brighton) is shown in the series 18 opener “Habeas Corpus.” DI Jones appeared in episode 3 of series 19, “Last Man Out,” in an undercover role – erroneously still listed in the credits as DS Ben Jones. Ultimately, he left Causton CID after a mini farewell party at John and Sarah Barnaby’s home at the end of episode 6 of series 15, “Schooled in Murder.”
DS Charlie Nelson
Detective Sergeant Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee) (series 16–18)—When Jones was promoted, he was replaced by DS Charlie Nelson. Nelson was the first Sergeant to not serve alongside Tom Barnaby. He was a lodger at Kate’s house. Nelson left the series after season 18.
DS Jamie Winter
Detective Sergeant Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix) (series 19–present)— DS Jamie Winter arrived at the beginning of series 19. It is revealed that Winter had previously crossed paths with Dr. Kam Karimore, and the two develop romantic feelings towards one another.
Dr. George Bullard
Doctor George Bullard (Barry Jackson) (series 1–14) is Causton’s resident pathologist. Bullard goes about his work with professional skill and a cheery personality. He is a good friend of Tom Barnaby’s and has been a regular throughout the series (save for a brief spell when his place was taken by Dr Dan Peterson, played by Toby Jones). In later episodes, Bullard often plays a more significant role in the plot, even making a sterling appearance in the Midsomer Worthy Choir in “Death in Chorus.” In one episode, he admits to the “accidental” death of his first wife while on tour at a slaughterhouse. At the end of “The Oblong Murders,” Bullard tells John Barnaby that he’s going to take some time off: “I’ve decided to do some fishing. Like Tom. He suggested a holiday in Ireland,” which is most likely his retirement (like Tom).
Dr. Kate Wilding
Doctor Kate Wilding (Tamzin Malleson) (series 14–17)—Dr. George Bullard’s replacement as resident pathologist. Her confident, competent, no-nonsense approach has earned the detectives’ respect. She is unmarried and is also a professor. Her parents, Giles and Laura, have appeared in one episode, “The Flying Club.” In the series 18 opener, “Habeas Corpus,” Wilding has left Midsomer to take up a professorship in Brighton. She is briefly seen on-screen in a photo with Ben Jones, who had relocated to Brighton.
Dr. Kam Karimore
Doctor Kam Karimore (Manjinder Virk) (series 18–19)—Dr. Kate Wilding’s replacement as resident pathologist. She said that she grew up with four red setters and a Labrador. She and DS Jamie Winter develop romantic feelings towards one another. At the end of series 19, she takes a job in Montreal.
Dr. Fleur Perkins
Doctor Fleur Perkins (Annette Badland) (series 20–present)—Dr. Kam Karimore’s replacement as a resident pathologist.
DC Gail Stephens
Detective Constable Gail Stephens (Kirsty Dillon) (series 10–13) is a colleague of Tom Barnaby and DS Jones, who often helps them in their cases, sometimes providing valuable insight. Gail was transferred to Midsomer from Binwell. Gail is cheery but emotional, breaking down in tears when, after initially serving as a uniformed woman police constable, she was appointed as a plain-clothed CID detective. Throughout Gail’s appearances, it is implied that she is on the point of having an affair with Sgt Jones, but when it comes to the crunch, he decides that he does not want to get too heavily involved with a colleague, after which Gail effectively snubbed him. Strangely, Gail has not been seen since “Fit For Murder”.
Cully Barnaby (later Dixon) (Laura Howard) (series 1–13)—Tom and Joyce’s only child takes her first name from a village on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where she was conceived during her parents’ honeymoon. A curious and bold young woman, she’s inherited her parents’ friendly attitudes and community spirit. Early in the series, she attended Cambridge University and dated a fellow drama student called Nico (Ed Waters). After that, she sometimes went out with and secretly flirted with DS Troy and DS Scott. She is an actress and frequently takes temporary jobs in the Midsomer area when “resting” between assignments. Like her mother, her tendency to do community work often leaves her personally involved with the murders that take place. She meets Simon Dixon (Sam Hazeldine) in “The Axeman Cometh,” becomes engaged to him in “Death In A Chocolate Box,” and marries him in “Blood Wedding”. Laura Howard had far fewer appearances than her on-screen parents.
Sykes (series 14–18) joined the cast in 2011 as John Barnaby’s family dog. A Jack Russell terrier rescue dog, Sykes appeared in every episode for five years, providing warm companionship to his humans and occasional comic relief. When his real-life owners put him into retirement, series 19 opened with a scene of the Barnabys paying respect at a grave in their back garden. By the end of the episode, the family has taken in a new rescue dog, Paddy.
Certain minor characters have appeared in more than one episode:
- Solicitor James Jocelyne (Timothy Bateson) appeared in “Written in Blood,” “Death’s Shadow,” and “Orchis Fatalis.”
- Estate agent Olive Beauvoisin (Eileen Davies) appeared in “Death’s Shadow,” “Dead Man’s Eleven,” and “Hidden Depths” (but was credited in that particular episode only as “Estate Agent”).
- Charles Jennings (Terence Corrigan) also appeared in “Death’s Shadow” and “Dead Man’s Eleven”.
- David Whitely (Christopher Villiers) appeared in “The Killings at Badger’s Drift” and “Death’s Shadow.”
- Dave Hicks (Brian Capron), Mayor of Causton, appeared in “Shot at Dawn” and “The Sword Of Guillaume”.
- Acting Chief Superintendent John Cotton (Nick Fletcher) appears in “Days of Misrule” and “The Dogleg Murders.”
- VKK Birgitte Poulsen (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen) appears in “The Killings of Copenhagen” and “Death of the Small Coppers.”
Many actors have made repeat appearances but in different roles:
- David Bamber played John Starkey in “Dead Letters” (2006), Anthony Prideaux in “The Black Book” (2009), and Daniel Fargo in “A Dying Art” (2016).
- Samantha Bond starred in three episodes: first in “Destroying Angel” (2001) and “Shot at Dawn” (2008), and again in Neil Dudgeon’s 2011 debut as the lead character, the episode “Death in the Slow Lane.”
- Selina Cadell played Phyllis Cadell in the pilot episode “The Killings at Badger’s Drift” (1997) and Eleanor Crouch in “Midsomer Life” (2008).
- Robert Daws played Mike Spicer in “Hidden Depths” (2005) and Hamish Rafferty in “Curse of the Ninth” (2017).
- Kevin Doyle appeared as Ferdy Villiers in “Ghosts of Christmas Past” (2004) and again as Paddy Powell in “The Oblong Murders” (2011).
- Peter Eyre played Leonard Pike in “Strangler’s Wood” (1999) and Headley Madrigal in “Picture of Innocence” (2007).
- Neil Dudgeon, Chief Inspector John Barnaby, appeared for the first time as Daniel Bolt, a character in the episode “Garden of Death” (2000).
- Serena Gordon appeared as Ginny Sharp in “Market for Murder” (2002) and later appeared as widowed Christina Finleyson in “Midsomer Life” (2008).
- Tony Haygarth appeared as Tyson in “Destroying Angel” (2001), Jack Tewson in “King’s Crystal” and George Napier in “A Rare Bird” (2012).
- Clare Holman played Sue Tutt in “Ring Out Your Dead” (2002), Rose Southerly in “Country Matters” (2006), and Fiona Beauvoisin in “The Miniature Murders” (2019).
- Richard Hope appeared in “Judgement Day” as Gordon Brierly, the local veterinarian, and seven years later reappeared in the episode “They Seek Him Here,” this time as local actor and historian Neville Hayward.
- Dominic Jephcott first appeared as Richard Bayly in “Death’s Shadow” (1999) and was later cast as Henry Marwood/Benjamin Hastings in “Four Funerals and a Wedding” (2006).
- Rosalind Knight played Eleanor Macpherson in “Birds of Prey” (2003) and Mother Jerome in “A Sacred Trust” (2011).
- John Lightbody is gardener Steve Hope in “Hidden Depths.” In “Death and Dust”, he plays the role of Jason Slater.
- Kevin McNally appeared as Orville Tudway in “Blood Will Out” (1999) and as Gerald Farquaharson in “The Noble Art” (2010).
- Judy Parfitt appeared as Angela Wentworth in “Death’s Shadow” (1999) and as Caroline Halsey in “Days of Misrule” (2008).
- Elizabeth Spriggs and Richard Cant appeared in the pilot episode (“The Killings at Badger’s Drift”) as mother and son Iris and Dennis Rainbird; they appeared again in “Dead Letters,” this time as Iris’ sister Ursula Gooding and her son Alistair.
- Maggie Steed played Rosemary Furman in “Judgement Day” (2000), Lynne Fox in “Left for Dead” (2008), and Sylvia Mountford in “Schooled in Murder” (2013).
- Rupert Vansittart appeared in three episodes: as Selwyn Proctor in “Market for Murder” (2002), as Desmond Harcourt in “The Axeman Cometh” (2007), and as Alistair Kingslake in “The Dogleg Murders” (2009).
- Tessa Peake-Jones played Sarah Lawton in “Faithful unto Death” (1998) and Mary Appleton in “Breaking the Chain” (2016).
In March 2011, the series producer, Brian True-May, was suspended by All3Media after telling the TV listings magazine Radio Times that the program did not have any non-white characters because the series was “the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.” When challenged about the term “Englishness” and whether that would exclude ethnic minorities, True-May responded: “Well, it should do, and maybe I’m not politically correct.” He later said he wanted to make a program “that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed.” True-May’s comments were investigated by the production company. He was reinstated, having apologized “if his remarks gave unintended offense to any viewers,” but subsequently stepped down as producer. ITV said it was “shocked and appalled” at True-May’s comments, which were “absolutely not shared by anyone at ITV.”
True-May’s replacement, Jo Wright, confirmed that she was committed to on-screen diversity when she took over the show’s helm, saying: “I feel strongly that a range of ethnic groups should be represented on screen. And that will be reflected in some of the episodes in the new series with key guest casting. I will cast the series the same way as I always do, starting with the best script. And a good script will include a variety of different characters.” In series 15, Asian actors played central characters in the show for the first time in the episode “Written in the Stars.” Black characters also began to appear starting in that series. Beginning with series 18, the show gained an Asian member for its main cast: pathologist Kam Karimore, played by Manjinder Virk. She left the show at the end of series 19.
In 2004, Midsomer Murders was among the three most-sold British TV shows worldwide, whether as TV programming or DVD. As of 2016, Midsomer Murders had been sold to more than 200 countries worldwide.
In Australia, first-run episodes and repeats are screened on the national free-to-air network ABC, with replays also shown on the Nine Network channel, 9Gem. The series was originally only aired on the Nine Network. Repeat screenings are also aired on the subscription channels UKTV and 13th Street. A measure of the series’ success in Australia is that repeats of the series still rate highly and often feature in the nation’s top twenty shows in national surveys.
The series is broadcast in Canada on TVOntario and Book Television in Ontario, on Knowledge in British Columbia, and via American PBS channels available throughout southern Canada. As of May 2019, the first thirteen series are available in Canada on Amazon Prime Video, while only series 21 is available on Britbox. The first nineteen series are also available on streaming service/app Tubi and Acorn.
The series is aired on Virgin Media Three every Monday at 8 p.m. in Ireland. It is one of the channel’s highest-rated shows.
In New Zealand, the series was broadcast on TVNZ 1 and for several years on the free-to-air channel Prime.
In the United States, the series was first aired by A&E, which broadcast “The Killings at Badger’s Drift” on 28 June 1998 and followed with the next four episodes of the 1998–99 series. The show remained on A&E for many years until American Public Television syndicated it for broadcast on public television stations. All 23 series are currently available on the streaming service Acorn TV. The show is also broadcast in the USA on the Ion Mystery Network, and it has a dedicated channel on the streaming service Pluto TV.
Composed by Jim Parker, the central theme is a moderate-tempo waltz performed (primarily, though not exclusively) on an unusual electronic musical instrument. This theremin sounds unlike a low whistle or a human voice. The theremin part was played by Celia Sheen (1940–2011). From the 14th series onwards, the soundtrack was altered so that a standardized version of the theme is played on a solo violin instead of the theremin during the closing titles. A version with a more extended introduction occasionally opens the show, using a flute rather than a theremin as the lead instrument.
The closing theme for ‘The Scarecrow Murders,’ shown on 29 May 2022 to celebrate 25 years, was a more upbeat clarinet version.
Multiple soundtrack CDs have been released, containing theme versions and musical cues from various series.
All 114 episodes that have aired so far have been released in the UK (Region 2), including three Christmas specials. The first 18 series and “Part 1” of series 19 of Midsomer Murders have been released in Australia and New Zealand (Region 4). Note that episodes 1 to 100 were initially released as 25 “sets,” now discontinued, and have been re-released as “series” 1 to 16 in redesigned packages.
In January 2006, Midsomer Murders started a DVD and Magazine Collection, available at newsagents in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK.