Why Does ‘Midsomer Murders’ Go Through So Many Sidekicks?

Throughout the nearly 20 seasons of ITV’s murder mystery series Midsomer Murders, the show has only had two lead detectives, both with the last name Barnaby, but the sidekicks, or DS, seem to be expendable. The generally younger and cuter sidekicks seem to disappear without warning, and though some have lasted several seasons, some almost seem to barely make it through two seasons of Midsomer Murders. So what keeps happening to the plus-ones that makes them leave this seemingly cushy gig in the English countryside?

According to the Inquisitr, Midsomer Murders has been very popular in the U.K., but it also has a following in the United States on PBS, and the entire series of Midsomer Murders can be seen in America on Acorn TV. Acorn TV has a variety of British series that are hard to find in the United States, but can be streamed on Acorn TV with a subscription.

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The Daily Mail believes that the biggest mystery of Midsomer Murders might just be what happens to the series’ sidekicks. Midsomer Murders follows lead detectives named Barnaby who live in a fictional area called Midsomer where people are killed in a variety of curious ways (think Murder She Wrote with a touch more humor). For the upcoming season, DCI Barnaby is getting yet another DS, and this one is DS Jamie Winter, played by Nick Hendrix. Oddly enough, each sidekick has what they are calling the “Poldark effect,” which means they are all tall, dark, and handsome. Not a blue-eyed blonde, or redhead in the bunch.

But why do the sidekicks leave? The reasons range from the expected to the odd. Long hours and low pay sound normal, but nude scenes, outerwear disputes plus fan requests for pictures of feet are a bit on the verge of strange.

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The first DS on Midsomer Murders was Daniel Casey, as DS Gavin Troy. Casey had a good run of six years on Midsomer Murders, and can now be seen on Coronation Street, also on ITV. Casey said he had reached 30 episodes, and it was time to move on. He says he had a great relationship with John Nettles, who played DCI Tom Barnaby. The oddest part of playing Gavin Troy on Midsomer Murders? The fan mail.

“I get lots of fan mail from teenage girls but some letters are a bit odd. One man asked for a picture of my feet!”

The next sidekick who had a decent run was Jason Hughes, a fan favorite, who played DS Ben Hughes on Midsomer Murders, but unlike Casey, Hughes says he left because the job was killing him, literally. Midsomer Murders shoots for 10 months of the year, and Hughes was simply burned out.

“I was completely burned out from getting up at 4:30 a.m. in Brighton to get the train to London, then on to wherever we were filming in Buckinghamshire, and then doing the journey back and getting home at 9 p.m. It was starting to affect my health and I was so tired I was no good to anybody, at home or at work. That would go on for 10 months, and when I had a break I’d get colds that lasted for weeks. My doctor told me I was suffering from exhaustion and the only answer was rest.”

Hughes claimed that he was so poorly paid that he couldn’t even afford to stay in a hotel for overnights when shoots went late, and production of Midsomer Murders would not pay for a room for Hughes. Hughes’ last case on Midsomer Murders involved a murder in a cheese cave where a woman was crushed to death by a wheel of cheese.

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The Belfast Telegraph says that Midsomer Murders is welcoming Nick Hendrix as the newest DS. Hendrix is replacing Welsh actor Gwilym Lee, who has played DS Charlie Nelson since 2013. Despite the other actors who have played sidekicks, Hendrix is optimistic about his new role on Midsomer Murders.

“I’m genuinely thrilled to join this bastion of British TV,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to be part of a hugely successful and much-loved show and I am looking forward to stepping into the wonderful world of Midsomer.”

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Do you watch Midsomer Murders? Who was your favorite sidekick?

[Photo by PBS]