Still, beg­gars can’t be choosers, right?

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

MY PRE­DIC­TION, and it’s not very clever, is Mid­somer Mur­ders on Sun­day night will be the ABC’s high­est-rat­ing show this year. De­press­ing, isn’t it. It’s not re­ally an or­di­nary episode of Mid­somer Mur­ders, though they’re all dead or­di­nary, if you ask me. It’s John Net­tles’ last go as Tom Barn­aby. Af­ter how­ever many episodes . . . two, 3000? No. Only 81. It felt like a lot more, though, didn’t it.

Dead or­di­nary was a bit of a give­away there. Yes, he has pain in his left arm all the way through it, and he’s all grumpy, car­ry­ing on about his po­lice med­i­cal, and then skit­ing about how he hasn’t been to the doc­tor in years. You can see which way the wind’s blow­ing. Mean­while he starts hav­ing hal­lu­ci­na­tions, and any­way, he dies. The end. Says Joyce’s name, I think— can’t quite re­mem­ber now, I’d lost in­ter­est. It’d be sad, ex­cept it isn’t. I’ve never liked the show, I think it’s quaint. And not good quaint ei­ther, like a tea cosy.

Nah, I’mjust wind­ing you up. No hard feel­ings. The bit about him be­ing grumpy is right, though. Joyce drags him along to a health farm, which gives you old geezers an op­por­tu­nity to see her in swim­mers and some other old biddy’s bare bo­soms. They’re cov­ered in mud, but still, beg­gars can’t be choosers, right? Turns out the health farm’s near a pub, so that cheers Barn­aby up a bit. And there’s a psy­cho killer wan­der­ing the grounds mur­der­ing peo­ple— one in a rea­son­ably in­no­va­tive fash­ion— so it works out all right in the end.

I’ll tell you what else is de­press­ing— Les­ley Manville is in this episode. I guess her think­ing was, I’man ac­tor, this show could have a lot of peo­ple tun­ing in to it, also I want to pay the bills, I’ll say yes. She used to be mar­ried to Gary Old­man. She’s good, but clearly when they split up she got to keep The Smiths records and he took the tal­ent. The next per­son he mar­ried was Uma Thur­man.

I don’t know why Mid­somer Mur­ders is so pop­u­lar. Times­lot? Partly. John Net­tles? Some­what. There’s a woman I work with, she’s pretty old— there’s no way she’ll ever read this — and she’s got a ma­jor thing for him. It’s fairly dis­gust­ing. It’s resid­ual Berg­erac at­trac­tion, she al­leges. That doesn’t hold any wa­ter with me. Ex­hibit A: John Tra­volta, Wel­come Back Kot­ter. Hot­ter than hot. And to­day? His hair is stitched on.

But I’mstart­ing to won­der now who the woman is John Net­tles was talk­ing about in the story I read in a UK news­pa­per just be­fore I wrote this: ‘‘ The self-dep­re­cat­ing star makes light of the thou­sands of fans all over the globe who asked him to stay on. Some have ex­pressed mild re­gret. ‘ There’s one Aus­tralian lady in the Out­back who’s in­vited me to her farm to do strange things to me. Six sides of A4. It makes my eyes wa­ter even to think of it.’ ’’

Health farm: John Net­tles.

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