When a local DJ is crushed to death at a traditional girls' boarding school, DCI John Barnaby discovers that murder and deception are never far away from the quaint villages.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Edna Doré ...
Granny Brightwell
Susan Engel ...
Harriet Wingate
Lucy Briers ...
Jessica Wingate
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Jamie Cameron
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Kate Cameron
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Charlotte Cameron
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Dave Doggy Day
Sid Mitchell ...
Thomas Brightwell
Gwyneth Keyworth ...
Bethan
Daisy Keeping ...
Nerys
Darren Clarke ...
Daniel
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Storyline

DCI John Barnaby arrives in Causton on his cousin Tom's retirement. Jones misses his old boss and the two men do not gel, especially as Barnaby seems dismissive of Jones' efforts to restore a vintage car once driven by local racer Duncan Palmer for a classic car competition hosted at her school by frosty headmistress Harriet Wingate. Palmer faked his death in the 1960s but was actually found dead in Midsomer some years later. His old team-mate Peter Fossett is judging the contest and the entrants include Peter's brisk, bossy daughter Kate Cameron and her ex-husband Jamie, now in love with Harriet's shy daughter Jessica. Kate will do anything to win, enlisting the help of the other judge, radio D.J. Dave 'Doggy' Day, who is found murdered. Soon after another young man is killed, who turns out to be involved with Kate's precocious schoolgirl daughter Charlotte in drug dealing. After Barnaby has discovered that Duncan Palmer was Jessica's father, he confronts the killer, but has cause to... Written by don @ minifie-1

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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23 March 2011 (UK)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Dave Doggy Day" looks at Charlotte, and says "thought you was a St Trinians.....". Clara Paget, who played Charlotte was in the movie "St Trinians 2; Legend of Frittons Gold" See more »

Goofs

Sgt Jones says that when Palmer's remains were found in his racing car under a sheet and under some bales of straw in a barn, it was assumed that the death was suicide since his gun was next to him, without at anytime wondering how after committing suicide the dead man managed to hide himself under a sheet and several bales. See more »

Quotes

DS Ben Jones: Are you interested in classic cars, sir?
DCI John Barnaby: Only if it's got a flashing light and gets me home quickly,
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Connections

References The French Connection (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The beginning of a new era
26 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When in its prime (a vast majority of Seasons 1-9), 'Midsomer Murders' was a great show and one that is watched and re-watched frequently. Seasons 10-13 became more uneven, with three of the show's worst episodes coming from Seasons 11 and 13, but there were a few solid episodes and "Blood Wedding" and especially "Master Class" were gems.

After John Nettles retired and Neil Dudgeon and the new character of John Barnaby took over, 'Midsomer Murders' just hasn't been the same, most of the reasons being detailed later in this review. Not all the John Barnaby-era episodes are awful, but too many were average at best and some were lame. "Death in the Slow Lane", which introduces John as the lead (though he appeared in support in "The Sword of Guillaume" and "Fit for Murder"), is not one of the worst of this period but it does contain enough of why several John Barnaby-era episodes don't do it for me.

"Death in the Slow Lane" is not all bad. The production values as usual are wonderful, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography. The music fits perfectly, with some lush jauntiness and sometimes an ominous quality, and the theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.

Jason Hughes and Samantha Bond do what they can with their roles, though Jones is uncharacteristically dumbed-down and Bond's role is somewhat dry. Stealing every scene he's in is adorable and amusing Sykes, if there was any improvement over the Tom Barnaby-era episodes it was that Sykes was a more likable third family member.

Neil Dudgeon does his best too as John, and does try to be as expressive as possible and bring enough inflections. The problem is the way the character is written, far too much of a pompous snob, dull in personality at the moment and very demeaning towards Jones. Just to say it is true that Tom had that trait at times with his partners, but he benefited from much better writing and much stronger chemistry and also Tom was much easier to warm to and his partners written with respect. If there is anything wrong with Dudgeon's individual performance, other than being too stoic at the end, the lightness of touch and cheeky demeanour is missing with the role being taken too seriously, as these were things that he had in "The Sword of Guillaume" the blame from personal opinion lies with the writing and not Dudgeon.

Really didn't like the way Jones was written, far too dumbed-down and too much of an idiot making idiotic assumptions and conclusions that are clearly the opposite. The chemistry between Barnaby and Jones is lacking and too cold (when the show was in its prime it was the chemistry between the two leading characters that was essential to its appeal), yes even for Jones having to adjust to a new boss. The rest of the characters are dry or on the wrong side of over-the-top, including a girl looking like a woman in the 18-30 range posing as a schoolgirl and the somewhat pantomimic character of Peter Fossett. The killer is put high on the suspects list immediately when introduced, even in an episode full of suspects there was something about the way the character was written and acted that just seemed too obvious too early.

Likewise with the rest of the actors not making much of a positive impression. As good an actor as David Warner is, he overeggs the pudding too often here especially in the latter parts of the episode. The script was initially intriguing, but is too muddled and half-baked at the end of the day. The story in "Death in the Slow Lane" had some good ideas, that don't amount to much in a padded out and dull episode lacking in light-heartedness and charm and takes itself too seriously. Complete with a final solution that is not just far too over-the-top, over-explanatory and convoluted but there was never any sense of danger with things being wrapped up too conveniently and John seeming to know judging from his stoic-ness that the dangerous situation he was in was going to be gotten out of.

Overall, an okay at best start for John Barnaby. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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