What I See with Peter Fiorenza: If only life did imitate art in a Midsomer Murders way

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Rustic: Jason Hughes and John Nettles in Midsomer Murders.
Camera IconRustic: Jason Hughes and John Nettles in Midsomer Murders. Credit: Unknown/Supplied by Subject

I reckon we all like a good murder mystery.

And the British really do it best, don’t they?

Of course, I’m talking in terms of television drama, where for decades the Brits have been churring out these somewhat predictable stories that they have made uniquely their own.

Even though us Aussies, along with the Americans, have dabbled in the genre, I don’t really thing we pull it off quite as well as our English cousins.

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Now, who hasn’t watched Midsomer Murders at one time or another?

You know, the idyllic English villages, located in the picturesque countryside, with the quintessential old pub beside a river across from the village green, not far from the gothic church sitting in the middle of a lawn cemetery.

And all this, just happens to fall into the jurisdiction of the clever sleuth, Inspector Barnaby.

First going to air in March 1997, Midsomer Murders last year clocked up an incredible 22 series, comprising of more than 132 episodes, and screening in more than 200 countries.

Like many, I’ve been an avid fan of the series for years, with the program becoming a weekly ritual.

Why would so many people want to watch a TV show, where the star is a well-heeled, well-spoken copper, who never gets dirty, but always solves the crime in just under 90 minutes?

I recently watched the 20-year special, hosted by the original Barnaby, John Nettles.

In the special, Nettles talked about how producers combed the entire United Kingdom to find locations that fitted in well with each fictional Midsomer village.

“Often, they would film one scene in front of a pub in one county, and a church yard in another, cleverly making the viewer believe they were located across the road from each other in the storyline,” he said.

“Also, Barnaby would have to be the only police officer on television that gets away with not ever wearing gloves, while sifting through evidence.

“And we, the viewer, accept that anything and everything is plausible, despite there being no logical reason for a clue to continually appear from nowhere and solve the crime just in time,” Nettles quips.

A few years ago, Nettles retired from the popular series and was replaced by another Inspector Barnaby, a cousin, played by Neil Dudgeon and the winning formula has continued.

You know what?

Even though we can always predict what is going to happen, we actually feel secure in the fact that, despite the crime that upsets the village, everything in Midsomer will return to “normal” by the end of the show.

If only life really did imitate art.

Peter Fiorenza hosts Fiorenza on Sunday between 10am and noon on Radio MAMA

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