Midsomer Murders Dead Letters
Midsomer Murders Dead Letters – FORMER Coronation Street star Tracy Brabin returns behind the bar this weekend – nearly a decade after leaving the Rovers Return. The actress, who played Weatherfield barmaid Tricia Armstrong, guest-stars as flirty pub landlady Ruth Chalk in Midsomer Murders (ITV1, Sunday, 9pm).
FORMER Coronation Street star Tracy Brabin returns behind the bar this weekend – nearly a decade after leaving the Rovers Return.
Midsomer Murders Dead Letters
“It’s fantastic escapism — a world unto itself, caught in a time warp,” she says. “So many actors want to be in it because the characters are fun and the production values are great. The results are high quality.”
Watch Midsomer Murders S09:e02
A story called Dead Letters kicks off a series of three new movies on consecutive Sundays, starring John Nettles as Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby and Jason Hughes as Det Con Ben Jones.
Two guest stars from the very first Midsomer film return – the first time actors other than the regular cast have appeared twice.
Elizabeth Spriggs plays Ursula Gooding, the lookalike sister of the grotesque Iris Rainbird she played in the first story, while Richard Cant is Alistair Gooding, cousin of the villainous undertaker Dennis Rainbird, whom he played in The Killings at Badger’s Drift. Barnaby is convinced that he has seen them somewhere before, but knows that the Rainbirds have been brutally murdered.
Students from the beautiful Midsomer countryside – in reality locations along the M40 corridor in Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire – will also notice something new. Executive producer Brian True-May explains: “Also, for the first time, we’re seeing Midsomer having a shoreline nearby, which meant we were able to shoot some seaside in East Devon. Elements like these help keep the series fresh.”
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Tracy’s character runs the Heart of Oak. “She’s a fantastic pub landlady – really flirty, warm, deceitful, and she has a ding dong with the local doctor played by Simon Callow. She’s also had another affair with a character played by David Bamber. Her husband Ron, played by Tom Georgeson is a bit older and he is very protective and jealous of her.”
Off-screen, Tracy married long-term TV director partner Richard Platt at the actor’s church – St Paul’s in London’s Covent Garden last July. “We had been together for 16 years and our daughters are 12 and eight, so we decided to get married. I think he was so romantic from home because of our work.”
Midsomer Murders isn’t Tracy’s first screen brush with a killer, though viewers didn’t know it at the time. Pregnant with her second daughter, she was given a Coronation Street exit storyline in which single mother Tricia left for a new life with painter and decorator Ray Thorpe, her son Jamie and Vera, and Jack’s grandson Brad.
“I’ve been writing for Family Affairs for over a year, as well as Heartbeat and Tracy Beaker and I’m doing a romantic comedy for the Film Council. I can combine the two and it has paid off.
Watch Midsomer Murders S13:e08
“I’m still recognized from Coronation Street, but it helps to have a guy who’s a director because he knows how unappealing the company really is.”
These three new Midsomer Murders movies will be followed by a new season later this year, including a landmark 50th episode called Death In Chorus, which involves the local choir.
Since the series began, Midsomer has seen more than 125 suspicious deaths, including 107 murders, six suicides, five deaths from natural causes, and eight accidents. And some people, including Simon Callow, have missed them all.
“I don’t have a TV, so I’ve never seen it, but pretty much everyone I know told me to be there,” confesses the actor, who plays GP Dr Wellow. “John Nettles and I have known each other for years, but this was my first time working with him.”
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The doctor enjoys the good life and seems to be loved by most of the women in the village. But he did pose a challenge to Simon. “Dr Wellow is a heavy smoker and that was quite difficult for me as I used to smoke. It’s been 15 years since I gave up. Luckily there was no temptation to get addicted again as I’ve moved on from that. “
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Midsomer Murders (s09e03): Dead Letters Summary
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