Midsomer Murders: The Village That Rose From The Dead. Television Review.


Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10

Cast: Neil Dudgeon, Fiona Dolman, Nick Hendrix, Anthony Calf, Hugh Dennis, Raj Awasti, Caroline Blakiston, David Burke, Christopher Colquhoun, Michael Haydon, Pippa Haywood, Matt Houghton, Seeta Indrani, William Melling, Sally Philips, Catherine Steadman, Edwin Thomas, Manjinder Virk, Jo Wheatley, Angus Wright.

The past is so much harder to leave behind when the ghosts won’t stay dead.

The County of Midsomer has many well kept skeletons lurking in its country villages, the well manicured hedges the symbol of respectability, the gardens well preserved and hiding the odd body or two under its murky soil and the closets rammed with the bones of lies, misdirection and secrets; it always seems to bring a smile to the face and the deductive reasoning back into sharp focus when Midsomer Murders returns to the screens.

The first episode of the new series, The Village That Rose From The Dead, is a reminder that the programme is one that grasps the idea of country living and the spectres that live in the dark; it is in these leafy scenes that the idea of jealousy, of apparent greed, insecurity and one up-manship can manifest itself in more ways than the so called grimy streets of the city can ever produce, especially in the high offices of inner city politics.

For the main Detective in the county, the act of the murder is often more perplexing than the reason why the person was killed; always inventive, always fresh, The Village That Rose From The Dead provides yet another deathly fiendish way to be carted off to the next realm and by using a left over army vehicle in which to dispatch the victim, the writers not only score with their idea but they make the viewer think of just what is exactly the motivation behind the evil in the mind, what twisted and warped sense of drama would unfold and take root to take someone’s life with a metaphor at their disposal.

With a guest cast that included Anthony Calf, making his return to terrestrial television since New Tricks was cruelly taken off the air, Hugh Dennis making the most of not being involved in a comedy series and Sally Phillips giving a superb performance as the sex crazed and manipulating Lucy Keswick, the first episode of the new series of Midsomer Murders was an enjoyable pre-Christmas feast.

The start of any festive or holiday period should always start with the restoration of justice on the television, the return of D.I. Barnaby to the screens is cause for celebration.

Ian D. Hall