Neil Dudgeon Returns To The Calm Of Chiswick

After his debut as the new leading man in Midsomer Murders

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Neil Dudgeon as Det. Chief Insp John Barnaby in his first episode as the new leading man in Midsomer Murders


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TV star Neil Dudgeon is hoping to find some calm in west London away from the killing fields of Midsomer.

Chiswick actor Neil, 50, took over this week as the new leading man in ITV1's Midsomer Murders.

Over six million viewers watched his full debut as Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby in a story called Death In The Slow Lane.

The drama is now sold to 231 territories and has an army of fans around the globe.

Asked if he was worried about being stopped in the supermarket, he replied: “No, I don’t think so. You can’t not want to do well-known parts in order that you remain obscure.

“It’s a trade-off. You don’t want to be particularly pestered in Sainsbury’s - but I don’t really expect that Midsomer Murders is that sort of show and has that sort of following.”

Neil has already filmed the first four episodes in this 14th series and has just begun work on the remaining four.

He stepped in after John Nettles’ decision to retire from the role of cousin Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby.

Writers created the family link because the series is called Inspector Barnaby, or simply Barnaby, in many other countries.

The Yorkshire-born actor made a previous guest appearance in the drama as a gardener.

John Barnaby was introduced to viewers for the first time in a 2010 episode entitled The Sword of Guillaume.

Neil’s first episodes were shot before the race row involving Midsomer producer Brian True-May, who has subsequently announced he will be stepping down at the end of the current series.

He was criticised after telling the Radio Times the drama was “the last bastion of Englishness” and temporarily suspended from his role.

Former Heartbeat actress Fiona Dolman, 41, makes her debut as Neil’s screen wife Sarah in his second episode - Dark Secrets - screened Wednesday March 30th.

Viewers have already met their dog Sykes, a cross-breed terrier best known for playing animal shelter dog Harvey in the Thinkbox TV commercial.

Joked Neil: “Sykes is the one who is really replacing John Nettles. I’m just dragging him in and out of shot occasionally.”

Neil also stars in BBC1 comedy Life Of Riley, which returns later this year.

His previous TV credits include Common As Muck, Sorted, Out Of The Blue, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries and The Nativity.

Ian Wylie

March 25, 2011