Press Centre

Midsomer Murders

  • Episode: 

    2 of 4

  • Title: 

    Murder by Magic
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Wed 04 Feb 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 06 2015 : Sat 31 Jan - Fri 06 Feb
  • Channel: 

The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press, online and social media use, non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 27 January 2015.
Episode 2 – Murder by Magic
When a pub landlady is crushed to death during a magic show in Midsomer Oaks, Barnaby and Nelson uncover conflict between the village church and ancient pagan traditions. Is famous magician Gideon Latimer to blame or is he the target?
Landlady Hannah Altman is crushed to death by a giant Perspex box during a magic show by famous illusionist Gideon Latimer aimed at raising funds for St Cyprian’s Church. Kate finds that cables to the box were deliberately sabotaged – it’s murder. But Gideon, his wife Annabel and manager Theo Bainbridge didn’t even know Hannah.
Evangelising curate Andrew Maplin tells vicar Magnus Soane that the tragedy is God’s vengeance for the pagan traditions still held deep in Midsomer Oaks.  Barnaby and Nelson fear Gideon was the real target, especially when Annabel reveals hate mail has been sent to Melmoth Hall, his newly-acquired country seat.  That night a group of masked pagans hold a fire-lit ceremony.
Hannah’s husband Luke tells police his wife had an affair with florist Rhodri Probert.  At the pub, Nelson finds an envelope containing £2,000, casting doubt on Luke’s claims that the business was struggling. Curate Andrew Maplin admits sending hate mail to Gideon but says he only wanted to put an end to the magic.
Andrew tries to perform an exorcism at Melmoth.  The family together with Gideon’s devoted mother Carole are angry. The next day Annabel finds Andrew stabbed to death by the pagan temple in Melmoth’s grounds. His face is covered with oak leaves – the pagan Green Man symbol. Nearby is the grave of Sir Hugo Melmoth, who according to legend threw himself on a fire in an act of self-sacrifice.
Annabel seeks comfort from Theo, but Gabriel sees them kiss.  Andrew’s camcorder reveals footage of a pagan ceremony which ends abruptly when one of the pagans spots him and runs towards his camera – it’s Luke. He’s defiant, claiming the group were just celebrating the end of winter by burning a straw effigy. Gideon is rattled but vicar’s wife Lorna Soane urges him to fulfil plans for another fundraising show. Theo asks Annabel to leave with him but Carole overhears. 
Rhodri admits he is a pagan. He wanted to be high priest but Hannah threatened to tell his wife Ailsa about their affair unless he withdrew and voted for her. With Hannah dead, the priesthood will pass to Lorna, a descendent of Melmoth and secret pagan.
At the fundraiser, Gideon has his audience spellbound when he catches a speeding bullet in his teeth. But then Annabel is found dead. Carole confronts Theo about their relationship.
Sarah discovers Sir Hugo was no hero – he was killed by villagers seeking justice for years of tyranny. And Nelson finds Luke is really Seth Farringdale, whose boyhood games with fireworks ended up killing a homeless man. Seth was convicted but was he acting alone or has someone escaped justice? 
Barnaby and Nelson race to the pagan temple where Lorna is re-enacting the death of Sir Hugo. Gideon is put into a crate over a burning pyre. As firefighters douse the flames, another person is found in the crate – it’s Luke and he’s still alive.  Barnaby realises the murders are all linked to Gideon’s illusions. But who is staging the deathly tricks and why?
Characters – Murder by Magic
Gideon Latimer – Andrew-Lee Potts
A charismatic young magician on the cusp of worldwide acclaim. He's driven and mostly without empathy and is keen to use the pagan traditions of Midsomer Oaks to his own advantage.
Carole Latimer – Amanda Burton
Gideon's over-bearing mother who has raised him as on her own since his father's tragic early death. Carol is determined Gideon will succeed at any cost and lives vicariously through his glittering career, having formerly been his manager.
Annabel Latimer – Stephanie Leonidas
Gideon's young, beautiful wife. Privileged but warm-hearted, she enjoys the trappings of marriage to Gideon but is unhappy in the relationship.
Theo Bainbridge – Fraser Ayres 
Gideon's manager and tech whizz, Theo is ambitious – and in love with Gideon's wife, Annabel.
Magnus Soane – Jack Shepherd  
The liberal, cerebral, heavy drinking Vicar of St Cyprian's. Desperate to raise sufficient funds to save his church, he's also locked in combat with his evangelical curate who strongly disapproves of the village pagan traditions.
Lorna Soane – Deborah Findlay 
Magnus's formidable wife and unbeknownst to him, a fervent pagan. Lorna is jostling to rule the village pagans and is keen for Gideon to embrace paganism in the hope that his skill will enhance their magic.
Andrew Maplin – Justin Salinger
Magnus's curate is a fastidious, proselytising evangelical, keen on dishing out advice to all and sundry. He disapproves of paganism, magic and everything else that looks like fun.
Luke Altman – Joe Absolom
Luke is barman at the Green Man, a pub which his wife Hannah inherited. He is not all he seems.
Rhodri Probert – Alan McKenna
Co-owner of the local florists with his wife, Ailsa, but their marriage is strained because of his infidelity. 
Ailsa Probert – Noma Dumezweni
Rhodri's wife is a recent evangelical convert of Curate Andrew Maplin’s, which has strained her marriage and her friendship with Hannah.
Dr Dorothea Grenville – Merelina Kendall
A local historian in her 70s.
Series overview
A stolen crime novel, celebrity magic, a folk festival and the launch of a new English sparkling wine become the backdrops for murder and mayhem when Neil Dudgeon and Gwilym Lee return to the beautiful but deadly countryside of Midsomer in a new series of the top-rating Midsomer Murders.
Neil and Gwilym star as DCI John Barnaby and DS Charlie Nelson in four new two-hour episodes made by Bentley Productions for ITV. They are assisted by pathologist Dr Kate Wilding, played by Tamzin Malleson.
Barnaby must also juggle life as a new dad to baby Betty, with the support of his wife Sarah (series regular Fiona Dolman).
As ever, the episodes feature a stellar array of guest stars including Joe Absolom, Dean Andrews, Claire Bloom, Mark Bonnar, Daniel Brocklebank, Amanda Burton, Rosie Cavaliero, Ruth Gemmell, Lucie Jones, Adam Kotz, Naoko Mori, Lloyd Owen, Clarke Peters, Andrew-Lee Potts, Jack Shepherd, Una Stubbs, Georgia Taylor and Lia Williams.