Midsomer comes closer and closer to its boiling point when a priest is burned to death inside the effigy of a straw woman and more people burst into flames spontaneously as though by witchcraft.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Hopkins ...
Jane Wymark ...
Keith Barron ...
Alan Clifford
Agnes Waterhouse
Kate Malpas
Liz Francis
Margaret Hopkins
Dr. John Cole
Jo Clifford
Matthew Cole
Jonathan Hackett ...
Rev Jim Hale
Jed Fox


When the curate of the local church in Midsomer Parva is burned alive in the effigy of the straw woman, DCI Tom Barnaby and DS Dan Scott find themselves investigating what must be a murder. Many of the villagers lay the blame on Alan Clifford who has made his fortune in the sex industry and has moved into the local manor house. There were others in the village however that objected to what they saw as a pagan festival. When the vicar is also killed - he too is burned to death in what some believe is the result of spontaneous combustion - the police have difficulty keeping some of the villagers from taking justice into their own hands. As the death toll keep mounting, Barnaby realizes that the solution is to be found in old parish records. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

29 February 2004 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


The character of Alan Clifford's nurse, Agnes Waterhouse, is named after the first witch to be executed in England (hanged, not burned, in 1566). See more »


In the opening scenes as they get ready to light the straw woman, the announcer says "Welcome to Midsomer Parva's first straw woman festival", but then a few moments later when the man with the torch hesitates when lighting the straw woman, the same announcer yells at him "C'mon man, it's a tradition". How can it be tradition if it's the first time? See more »


[first lines]
Margaret Hopkins: Evening, Vicar. Encouraging turnout.
Rev Jim Hale: Indeed.
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User Reviews

28 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Normally I think people are too hard on some of the "Midsomer Murders" episodes, which over many years vary in quality. Now it's my turn -- I hated this one.

I'm not a fan of horror films, but I could even have lived with the horror aspects of this one because of the presence of Barnaby. In The Straw Woman, the curate of the church in Midsomer Parva is burned alive in the effigy of the straw woman, which brings Barnaby and Scott into the village to investigate. Later, the vicar, the curate's lover, is also killed by burning to death, possibly the result of spontaneous combustion.

The village is all atwitter because of the presence of Alan Clifford, sort of a Hugh Hefner type, a wealthy man due to the sex business. He has moved to Midsomer Parva. He has plans for a mansion there, and people are nervous about it.

Due to the death by burnings, which continue, people are beginning to see witchcraft everywhere, as witches once inhabited the village, and they somehow connect this with the local homeopath. Hopefully Barnaby and Scott can solve the murders before local citizens take the law into their own hands.

I thought the denouement of this episode was so stupid. Scott is his usual flirtatious self, and this time has a more serious involvement.

I forgot to mention that all kinds of things go on with pig heads. I guess I blocked it out.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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