Press Centre

Midsomer Murders

  • Episode: 

    4 of 5

  • Title: 

    The Flying Club
  • Transmission: 

    Wed 05 Feb 2014
  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 06 2014 : Sat 01 Feb - Fri 07 Feb
  • Channel: 

    ITV
  • Amended: 

    Mon 27 Jan 2014
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing - in the public domain - until Tuesday 28 January 2014.
 
Episode four: The Flying Club
 
When the owner of Finchmere Airfield is dropped from a plane to meet a gruesome death, Barnaby and Nelson find the exciting world of stunt pilots and military heroes hides many dark secrets.  Are anti-aircraft campaigners behind Bernard King’s murder or does it link back to a tragic World War Two mission? 
 
***
 
Bernard King, the owner of Finchmere Airfield, is hit on the head and dropped 400ft from a small plane into a reservoir, killing him on impact.  Barnaby and Nelson investigate as stunt pilots Alex Darnley and Gavin Hopkirk practice daring moves for the forthcoming air show.  
 
Alex, an RAF pilot, is the grandson of World War Two flying ace Molly Darnley and his father Perry was Bernard’s business partner. According to Bernard’s widow Stephanie, who has OCD, the men argued.  Barnaby is thrilled to meet Molly, but Perry’s wife Miranda is jealous.
 
The wrench used to hit Bernard is found in a toolbar belonging to veteran mechanic Duggie Wingate. Duggie recently lost his job but he denies killing his old boss, instead claiming Molly is a murderer. He accuses her of sending his sister Ellie on a wartime mission in a damaged plane, causing her death and enabling Molly to marry Henry Darnley.  Duggie warns Gavin, his nephew, that he could lose receptionist Jessie to Alex in the same way. 
 
Nelson discovers Finchmere was being taken to court over noise levels by a local residents’ action group led by Jessie’s father Eddie Rayner.  Eddie is bitter about Jessie’s plans to marry Alex, because he blames the Darnley family for his wife’s death from an aneurysm. 
 
Kate’s parents, newly-retired surgeon Giles and wife Laura, arrive to visit the air show, while Miranda puts pressure on Stephanie to continue the restructuring programme.  Nelson discovers the Darnleys were applying to get industrial use for the site in order to sell it at profit – the family have money problems because Perry was fired from his job with an airline.
 
Barnaby suspects Eddie was sending hate mail to Bernard and they go to question him. But they’re too late – as Eddie waits to meet someone a small propeller plane is driven straight at his head. Gavin and Perry both admit being airborne at the time, then Barnaby triggers a family outburst by mentioning the plans to sell the airfield in front of an incredulous Molly. 
 
Duggie visits Molly and orders her to use her speech at the air show to tell how she betrayed Ellie.  Meanwhile, Eddie’s logs reveal regular night flights at Finchmere using planes with no lights – is someone involved in smuggling and were Bernard and Eddie killed because they found out?  Meanwhile, the hate emails are traced back to Miranda.
 
It’s the day of the air show and, as the vintage planes swoop overhead, Miranda accuses Stephanie of going back on her word to sell up. As Alex and Gavin prepare for their stunt show, they decide to swap planes and have a side bet. If Alex wins, he also wins Jessie.  But the midst of the aerobatics, Gavin’s engine cuts out and Alex drops out of the sky. He somehow manages to land but the fuel line has been cut – was someone trying to kill Gavin?
 
Molly reveals the truth about Ellie’s fateful wartime flight then the detectives go to the airfield to await the next illicit night plane. But instead of an aircraft arriving, they discover someone is smuggling goods out of Finchmere.  As Alex faces a court martial and ruined career, Barnaby realises why Gavin and the murder victims were targeted. They scramble to Finchmere where the killer is waiting.
 
Characters
 
Molly Darnley - June Whitfield
Molly is in her late 80s and was part of the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War, delivering Spitfires and Lancasters to the front line. She is steely, inspirational and conscientious, but hiding a dark secret. 
 
Perry Darnley - Robert Bathurst
Molly’s son Perry runs Finchmere Airfield and was a commercial pilot until losing his job recently. Tortured, ineffectual and weak, Perry is henpecked by his wife, Miranda. 
 
Miranda Darnley - Sara Stewart
Miranda is ambitious and likes to cause trouble. She feels no great pride in the Darnley family heritage. Miranda enjoys a drink but won’t let friendship get in the way of business. 
 
Alex Darnley - Oliver Rix
A charming, dashing RAF officer and stunt pilot, Alex is in a relationship with Jessie, who works at Finchmere. But their romance is under threat from their mutual friend, Gavin.  
 
Jessie Rayner - Scarlett Alice Johnson
A lovely girl with ambition and drive, Jessie is receptionist at the airfield and is determined to better herself. This causes friction with her father, Eddie, who fears she is losing her identity. 
 
Eddie Rayner - Phil Cornwell
Jessie’s dad Eddie is an embittered man with a chip on his shoulder. He can’t move on from his wife’s death and has become obsessed with goings-on at Finchmere. 
 
Gavin Hopkirk - Lex Shrapnel
The Junior Flying instructor at Finchmere, Gavin is good friends with Alex, though the competition between the two pilots has the potential to boil over. 
 
Duggie Wingate - Bernard Cribbins
Veteran mechanic and great uncle to Gavin, Duggie’s part of the furniture at Finchmere.  He sees Molly as his nemesis for an incident many years ago. Is there any truth in his slur? 
 
Stephanie King - Laila Rouass
The enigmatic wife of Bernard, Stephanie is attractive, meek, and ordered. She runs a spa at a country hotel and has little interest in Finchmere and the world of flying. 
 
Bernard King - Chris Nightingale
The meticulous, determined, co-owner of Finchmere. He has the abilities to rub people up the wrong way.    
 
Sally Jackson - Lucy Phelps
Stephanie’s chirpy receptionist, Sally is sweet, funny and loves a gossip. 
 
Giles and Laura Wilding - Geoffrey Whitehead and Jacqueline King
Giles is Kate's father and a successful ex-surgeon who can be overbearing and insensitive at times. Kate’s protective mother Laura has become exasperated by Giles since he retired and sees Kate’s home as a mini-sanctuary.   
 
Cast
 
DCI John Barnaby - Neil Dudgeon
DS Charlie Nelson - Gwilym Lee
Kate Wilding - Tamzin Malleson
Bernard King - Chris Nightingale
Alex Darnley - Oliver Rix
Gavin Hopkirk - Lex Shrapnel
Eddie Rayner - Phil Cornwell
Jessie Rayner - Scarlett Alice Johnson
Duggie Wingate - Bernard Cribbins
Perry Darnley - Robert Bathurst
Sally Jackson - Lucy Phelps
Stephanie King - Laila Rouass
Miranda Darnley - Sara Stewart
Molly Darnley - June Whitfield
Giles Wilding - Geoffrey Whitehead
Laura Wilding - Jacqueline King
Young Molly - Francesca Zoutewelle