Midsomer Murders: Rik Mayall

What's the rush? John Nettles (Barnaby) and Jason Hughes (Jones)

STILL no news on who will replace John Nettles in Midsomer Murders.

Though we shouldn’t have too long to wait – presuming ITV gives the go ahead to a 14th series.

A new leading actor is ready and waiting.

But there can be no announcement until ITV confirms it wants to commission a new series.

Midsomer Murders remains a big ratings hit with massive global sales.

Even so, nothing is certain in the world of television.

Especially when a much loved actor like John decides to move on.

There’s some way to go yet before we say farewell to Det Chief Insp Tom Barnaby.

We’re up to episode six of series 12 – The Creeper.

Which is screened on ITV1 at 8pm this Wednesday.

With John now half way through filming his final series – the eight-part series 13.

Which will keep him on screen in new episodes of Midsomer well into 2011 and possibly beyond, depending on ITV scheduling.

Even though his last day in front of the cameras will be in August this year.

The Creeper is a classic Midsomer tale, laced with trademark black humour.

With a guest cast including Rik Mayall, Jenny Agutter, George Costigan, Angela Down and former Shameless actress Amanda Ryan.

Amanda Ryan (Martha) and Rik Mayall (David)

The title refers to a burglar who is one step ahead of the police.

Making their way into several bedrooms, including the one shared by Barnaby and his wife Joyce (Jane Wymark), in the dead of night.

Rik plays writer David Roper, who claims to have given up the demon drink.

John says: “Rik Mayall was a complete surprise. You think of all the anarchy but he was surprisingly disciplined and controlled.

“He was also very funny, of course, and great to work with.”

Rik suffered serious head injuries in a 1998 quad bike accident after which doctors said he might either die or suffer brain damage.

Thankfully, he survived and eventually returned to acting.

And for many reasons is well worth watching on Wednesday in the middle of the usual Midsomer madness.

“I was very impressed by how fantastically efficient an organisation it was,” says Rik.

“I thought I was a wild danger man, but they seemed to take me on quite effortlessly.”

Another new episode of Midsomer Murders – Brighton-filmed The Sword Of Guillaume – is due to be broadcast next month (Feb).

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Jason Hughes and John Nettles in The Creeper