Midsomer Murders (1997– )
6.6/10
249
6 user 1 critic

The Night of the Stag 

Local bootleggers come under suspicion after the disappearance of a government inspector.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Tamzin Malleson ...
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Samuel Quested
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Smudgepot
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Wilberforce
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Byron Street
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Beatrice Comins ...
Evelyn Grigor
Niamh Quinn ...
Prudence
Denise Black ...
Chloe Baker
Natalie Klamar ...
Esme Baker
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Rev Conrad Walker
Richard Hawley ...
Will Green
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Storyline

Whilst temperance campaigners, led by fervent ex-alcoholic parson Norman Grigor, protest against the Midsomer Abbas May Festival, the body of Peter Slim, a revenue inspector investigating illicit stills, is found dumped in a cider vat. The murder weapon, an apple tree harvester which shook him to death, belongs to boozy cider mill owner Anthony Devereux, a man with something to hide though he denies murder. Then Barnaby discovers a secret connecting Slim to a village girl and a party to that secret is murdered. As pub landlord Samuel Quested leads the villagers in the revival of an old fertility custom Barnaby and Jones find themselves in peril during the night of the stag. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

12 October 2011 (UK)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Throughout the episode, Beltane is given as 4 May. It is actually 1 May (although fertility rites such as The Stag were often performed the night of 30 April, sometimes known as Walpurgisnacht). In addition, while some Beltane fertility rites were, indeed, incorporated into the modern Easter, that festival is more generally descended from Eostre, the festival of the Spring Equinox. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Samuel Quested: Okay. Who's next? Reuben, what do you want? Same again, mate?
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User Reviews

 
A disgrace
2 March 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. Most of Season 14 was disappointing, with two low-points, one was "Echoes of the Dead" and the other being this "The Night of the Stag". Also two of the worst ever 'Midsomer Murders' episodes along with "Blood on the Saddle", "The Made-to-Measure Murders", "Shot at Dawn", "Second Sight" and "The Electric Vendetta".

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 haunting theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.

First twenty minutes were also decent with a creepy opening sequence and it doesn't feel too much like set up.

Unfortunately, while the acting is usually a strength in 'Midsomer Murders' this is a rare case of the acting not being good enough to compensate. Nobody here stands out and are saddled by sloppy writing and characters far too obvious, bland and hammy. The one person who stands out in a bad way is Warren Clarke, who once again like he did in the Marple episode 'Why Didn't They Ask Evans?' show that when his material is bad (risible here in fact, especially in the final third) that he overacts to a jaw-droppingly embarrassing degree and it was far too obvious that he was up to no good.

Neil Dudgeon is stiff and dull and Jason Hughes' material is far too dumb for him to do anything with it. Chemistry between the two is little to none. Barnaby's family life doesn't interest.

Worst of all are the script and story. The script is one where it beggars belief that it was approved beyond first draft when it should never have been passed, so much cringe-worthy moments with lots of gratuitously nasty and over-the-top content completely out of place within this show. The story started off decently, but then comes run of the mill at best and at worst silly, simplistic and predictable complete with gratuitous violence, before descending into severely over-the-top distaste at the end.

The final solution was not a surprise at all with the responsible being far too obvious and the motive being so ridiculous that it makes the jaw drop, 'Midsomer Murders' logic of revealing those responsible these days is seemingly that the most pantomimic character is the murderer.

In summary, a disgrace and one of the show's all time worst. 3/10 Bethany Cox


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