Press Centre

Midsomer Murders

  • Episode: 

    3 of 4

  • Title: 

    The Ballad of Midsomer County
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Wed 11 Feb 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 07 2015 : Sat 07 Feb - Fri 13 Feb
  • Channel: 

    ITV
The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press, online and social media use, non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 3 February 2015.
 
Episode 3 - The Ballad of Midsomer County
 
Could a ballad made famous by late, lamented folk singer Johnny Carver be an inspiration for murder? Did someone want to kill Toby Winning for threatening to take the Little Crosby Folk Festival away from Midsomer – or is the true motive something hidden for 20 years? 
 
It’s the day of the Little Crosby Folk Festival and organiser Toby Winning is found dead, drowned in a bowl of eggs and live eels. Toby spent his last evening at the George Hotel, run by Tom and Claire Asher, where he announced plans to move the festival away.
 
The murder seems to have been inspired by a folk classic, The Ballad of Midsomer County, made famous by the late, lamented Johnny Carver. The song just happens to feature on the debut album of Toby’s estranged wife Alice. Toby’s laptop is missing and phone records show he’d received a call from a phone box located near an abandoned cottage.
 
Local entrepreneur Frank Wainwright has most to lose if the festival moves away. At his pub The Captain Farrell, Melody Carver is about to perform when she spies her controlling father Danny and flees the stage. Frank tells Barnaby that Danny blames the music industry for the suicide of his brother. Later Toby’s assistant Brian Grey finds the missing laptop and Frank goes to the rundown cottage.
 
Alice’s fingerprints are found on the bowl of eels and she admits she went to see Toby – but found him already dead. Toby’s business was in trouble, thanks largely to his partner Brian Grey who was courting potential business partners. Police discover Danny owns the mystery cottage but hasn’t been there for 25 years as it was the site of his brother’s suicide. 
 
Armed with Toby’s laptop Brian arranges to meet someone but he is crushed by a huge speaker and roses are stuffed in his mouth, echoing another lyric from the ballad. His last call was to Frank at the Captain Farrell. 
 
Danny goes to search the cottage but what he’s looking for has gone. Angry, he attacks Frank as he performs at Toby’s memorial. Danny admits there was an old audio tape at the cottage – music recorded by Johnny before he died. Frank knew about it too, but swears he didn’t take it. He has another admission to make – staying at the cottage is Danny’s wife Heather, who left Midsomer when Melody was a young child. She wants to make amends.
 
Festival headliner Jay Templeton takes an uneasy Melody to the cottage and quizzes her about the tape. Meanwhile Nelson discovers Toby was funding studio sessions for Melody, and in return managed to persuade her to give him the reel to reel tape. He made a copy on his laptop and Barnaby suspects there was more than music on the missing recording.
 
That night, Frank is speared through the stomach with a parasol. A juniper bush – another motif from the song – has been left nearby. Barnaby discovers Frank was buying the George Hotel and Claire was planning to use the money to leave Tom. Gunshot residue is found at the cottage, revealing Johnny’s death was murder. Was the killing recorded on tape?
 
Danny reveals that Johnny was a ladies’ man who had an affair with Heather. She was gutted to find out he had other lovers and ran away. Detectives go to find Heather, but she’s already told a shocked Melody that she’s her mother – and Danny is not her real father.
At the George, Claire has vanished and so has a shotgun. Barnaby heads for the abandoned cottage to discover the killer.
 
Characters – The Ballad of Midsomer County
 
Toby Winning – Stuart St Paul
Big, brash, full of life, Winning runs the Little Crosby Folk Festival. Passionate about the folk scene, he lives for the music. However, his decision to move the festival away from the village has caused uproar amongst the locals.
 
Alice Winning – Rakie Ayola
Recently separated from her husband Toby, Alice is a charming, flighty musician of mixed ability. She's not used to working for a living and is struggling to make ends meet.
 
Danny Carver – Sean Gilder
Proud, stubborn and belligerent, Danny renounced music as a career in the wake of the suicide of his brother - the cult folk legend, Johnny Carver. He never emulated his brother's musical achievements but his daughter, Melody, has potential.
 
Melody Carver – Lucie Jones
Thoughtful, curious and blessed with a rare talent, Melody could be as big a name as her famous uncle, Johnny Carver. However, her dad is determined to limit her ambition and keep her in Little Crosby.
 
Heather Carver – Therese Bradley
Heather is the enigmatic mother of Melody who abandoned her child and her husband, Danny. A former alcoholic, she has now returned to Midsomer in a bid to reconnect with her daughter.
 
Frank Wainwright – Clarke Peters
Wise, worldly and avuncular, Frank is a folk veteran and a former band-mate of Johnny Carver. Still passionate about music, he runs The Captain Farrell and supports the festival.
 
Claire Asher – Claudie Blakley
Claire's hard and bitter attitude is all a front. In truth, she is a vulnerable and unhappy woman married to a man she doesn't love. The true love of her life is long dead.
 
Tom Asher – Dean Andrews
Strong, dependable and relentlessly cheery, Tom is well liked in the village. He runs a hotel with the unhappy Claire. Tom adores Claire and only wants to see her happy.
 
Brian Grey – Daniel Brocklebank
Slick, charming and delusional, Brian believes he's destined for greatness. He's currently the assistant director of the festival and is determined to move it out of Little Crosby.
 
Liz Grey – Rosalind March
A formidable and caustic Presbyterian, Liz is not a woman to mince her words. She is scathing about all the residents in the village and has little sympathy for them. She has one weak spot - her son Brian. Liz dotes on him.
 
Jay Templeton – Stephen Hagan
Mysterious, charismatic and handsome. Jay has found fame as a folk singer. He’s in Little Crosby to headline the festival but he's also on the look-out for something else. Something very valuable.
 
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.