Monday, 7 July 2008

Guilty Pleasures, Part 5 - Midsomer Murders

Contains Spoilers for Sunday night's episiode of Midsomer Murders

Demographics – a fascinating subject (which probably means I should get out a bit more).

In all seriousness (well, as serious as I ever get), watching the adverts during the commercial breaks for Midsomer Murders last night, I got a good idea of the sort of people that ITV assumed would be watching: adverts for bladder weakness products, erectile dysfunction, www.southwestobesity.co.uk (now officially my favourite web site name of all time), and glue to hold your dentures in place whilst you go bobbing for apples. What with Songs of Praise and George Gently on BBC1 (not to mention Last of the Summer Wine when it returns for its eighty ninth series), Sunday night television is a veritable feast of coffin dodging that assumes every viewer is actively thinking about installing that long overdue chair lift. Gentle, non-threatening television that doesn’t shout ‘BOO!’ or stray too far from the demands of it supposed demographic.

Or does it?

Last night’s Midsomer Murders was solid enough without being particularly surprising or adventurous. That doesn’t mean to say that the three murders weren’t carried out with a Friday the 13th type of sick glee. One old dear got a wobbly hat pin forcefully inserted into her ear (I half expected to see an advert for hearing aids during the next break), a maid of honour got a huge knife jammed into her sternum, and an estate manager got an arrow in the heart. There was a lot of coming and going Upstairs Downstairs style, but not a whole lot of tension, as you know how the whole thing is going to turn out anyway: just as well, as the Sunday night TV audience is more susceptible to cardiac arrests brought on by sudden movement and/or too much excitement. In this case, John Nettles is ideal in the role of DI Barnaby, as he doesn’t exactly move very fast these days. I mean, last night’s episode saw him partially solving the murders with the help of a crossword puzzle. Next week there’s a breakneck Zimmer frame chase and a duel to the death with sharpened walking sticks.

That said, I’ve seen episodes of Midsomer that were positively demented, especially when Anthony Horowitz was at the helm. As soon as I saw his name on the opening credits, I would breathe a sigh of relief, as his name was a guarantee that what you were going to get was bound to be more than the usual police procedural and suspect quiz that Midsomer has become. It’s still weirdly enjoyable in a laid back, somnambulistic kinda way though, even if its two hour running time makes me feel like I’ve been drugged with cocoa and Werthers Originals.

And with that, it’s time for my slippers and milky drink. Pip pip.

8 comments:

Elinor said...

Rock and roll!

Chip Smith said...

Well, no, not really - unless dentures and bifocals are the new rock n' roll (that said, I'm sure Mick and Keef would agree with that)...

Jon Peacey said...

I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever about my love of Midsomer Murders! They even recognize (and poke fun at) the area being something of an 'controlled accident' blackspot. And some of the middle ones were simply demented as you said- although I'm not sure who was writing them... 'cos I wasn't paying attention... oops!

BTW: wasn't the nailing of the maid of honour (oo-er) to the wall very remiscent of a death in Halloween (I think it is)?

Chip Smith said...

I think I've been a little cruel to Midsomer, actually - it's the best thing on Sunday TV, and I'd much rather sit through that Heartbeat. That said, its two hour running time does seem a little excessive...

Jon Peacey said...

Heartbeat is definitely one of the worst programmes on these days... but surely the best thing on Sunday evenings is Top Gear?

Chip Smith said...

I forgot Top Gear - it's great! I've been watching a lot of the re-runs on Dave, and it's superb (and ever so slightly addictive).

Changing the subject somewhat, I'm looking forward to Bonekickers on BBC1 tonight - if only for the fact that Gareth McLean in The Guardian describes it as making 'Scooby Doo look like State of Play'!

Jon Peacey said...

I taped Top Gear so I could watch Midsomer and I've promptly lost the tape! D'oh!

As for Bonekickers... I'm looking foward to it with a combination of curiosity, amusement and abject terror... I love historical stories and I love religious stories... and I rather like accuracy... I think I may need to find some blood pressure pills before watching!

Chip Smith said...

Sky Plus, my friend - a cure for all known human suffering. I'm not entirely sure how I ever survived without it! I very much doubt I shall be taping Bonekickers tho' - Gareth Mclean is a miserable old sod at the best of times, but it can't be that bad - can it?