When John Nettles announced plans to retire early last year he'd been in Midsomer Murders for over a decade. For many fans his character, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, was Midsomer Murders: he'd been in the show since its debut in 1997 and led over 80 episodes across 13 years. ITV had their work cut out in finding a suitable replacement, and today -- seven months after Nettles' official resignation -- this actor was revealed to be The Street's Neil Dudgeon.
Dudgeon, who recently starred alongside Caroline Quentin in the family comedy Life of Riley, is to play Barnaby's cousin John, who also happens to be a police detective. His character will be introduced in tomorrow's Brighton-based episode, entitled The Sword of Guillaume, in which Tom is despatched to the South Coast where he enlists John's help. Dudgeon won't become the regular lead until the fourteenth series, however.
As previously reported Nettles' character will not be killed off when his run comes to an end. Speaking in a statement, the actor has admitted: "I wanted to die in noble fashion in the service of my country and then be buried with full military honours in Westminster Abbey. In the event, Tom and his long-suffering wife Joyce will simply retire. It's always better to leave when people want more."