The first episode of Midsomer Murders, "The Killings At Badgers Drift," was planned as a one-off telemovie, but was turned into a series when it got very high ratings and won the Best Drama award for 1997. The unusual main title music, by Jim Parker, features a theremin, also heard on the soundtrack of the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still and Alfred Hitchock's Spellbound. The individual episodes are beautifully crafted, and the locations are presented with a rich and subtle depth. Even the incidental soundtrack evokes rural villages and landscapes. Over its lifetime, the series has featured many superb British actors as guest stars. Fans of Orlando Bloom might want to catch episode 12, "Judgement Day" (January 2000) in which Bloom appears as a ne'er-do-well who comes to a nasty end. This episode is part of Set Two of the DVD series.
Sadly, John Nettles announced in February 2009 that he would retire from Midsomer Murders after the 2009-2010 season. "It's the end of an era for me, and while I'm very sad to be handing in Barnaby's police badge, he has solved nearly 200 murders, which I think meets the targets of modern policing," Nettles said to The Sun. "I wish my successor the very best."
Midsomer Murders, Set Twelve includes episodes 48, 49, 50 and 51, approximately 100 minutes each. Color, 16:9 widescreen, Dolby Stereo, English subtitles. Extras include trailers for other Acorn media DVDs, text interviews with the cast, a short reflection on the 50th episode, cast filmographies, a biography of Caroline Graham, and production notes.