John Nettles, who has starred as DCI Tom Barnaby in the British mystery series Midsomer Murders since 1997 has chosen his 10 favorite episodes in this 10-DVD set, Midsomer Murders - Barnaby's Top Ten. Set in fictional Midsomer County, a collection of quaint and scenic rural villages with an unusually high body count, the shows are all presented in widescreen format, with subtitles and scene selection.
Nettles, who plays Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, recently left the show (and was replaced by Neil Dudgeon, cast as Barnaby's cousin John). On each disc he appears in a brief introduction, telling why he thinks each episode is special. Viewers unfamiliar with a particular plot line might want to watch Nettles's introduction after viewing the episode, however, as he sometimes gives away some plot points.
Some great actors turn up in supporting roles — Honor Blackman, Celia Imrie, Emily Mortimer, and Phyllis Logan are just some of the notable guest stars. Daniel Casey as Detective Sergeant Troy, Jane Wymark as Barnaby's wife Joyce, and Laura Howard as his daughter Cully round out the regular cast.
The collection begins with the very first Midsomer Murders episode, "The Killings at Badger's Drift," which is based on the novel by Caroline Graham. When schoolteacher Emily Simpson is found dead, a rare orchid may be a clue to her murder. As DS Troy (Daniel Casey) observes, "This must be the first police search organized for a flower." Barnaby soon discovers that the first death proves to be only the tip of the iceberg, as the bodies start to pile up around them. Suspects include an extremely creepy young undertaker, who is too close for comfort with his even creepier busybody mom, and a brash young painter. Emily Mortimer and Jonathan Firth also appear.
In "Blue Herrings," Barnaby can't get a break — he has taken time off to do some home improvement when a series of mysterious occurrences, including a death, start occurring at Lawnside nursing home, where his Aunt Alice (Phyllis Calvert) happens to be staying. Aunt Alice is suspicious, and enlists Barnaby's help to get to the truth.