Still, beggars can’t be choosers, right?
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.