A civil war enactment featured heavily in last week’s brand new episode of Midsomer Murders. The suited and booted Inspector Barnaby and DS Jones looked a little out of place as they watched gloriously-costumed cavaliers and roundheads re-enact 17th century skirmishes.
These colourful scenes helped the opening episode of the 15th series (yes, 15th!) pull in 6.13 million viewers as another battle – one for midweek ratings – raged.
The Dark Rider episode can claim victory – its 25 per cent share of the audience meant it out-performed BBC One’s DIY SOS (4.4 million viewers) and BBC Two’s Master Chef (4.5 million).
Such a result bodes well for the series – the first series to be filmed without the involvement of co-creator Brian May. Brian may be gone but Midsomer Murders is unlikely to stray from his formula of featuring ugly murders in beautiful locations.
Many of the episodes have been filmed in the beautiful South Oxfordshire countryside – Wallingford, for instance, features as ‘Causton’. Wallingford has a strong connection with the English Civil War; Royalist soldiers in Wallingford Castle put up stout resistance to Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army.
A short distance away from Wallingford is the tranquil village of Mapledurham – home to gorgeous Mapledurham House; another place which has Civil War History. In 1643 the Roundheads besieged and sacked the house but they found little there; the owner, Sir Charles Blount, had just sold off all the house’s possessions to cover his debts!
The Mapledurham House of 2012 is, however, full of possessions – wonderful paintings and antique furniture for guests to look at. And perhaps you’d like to visit the house’s sumptuous grounds from 30th June 2012 to 1st July 2012. These are the dates when the Fairfax Battalia will be staging a colourful and highly-authentic civil war re-enactment.
Book early to get a ‘ringside’ seat in this picturesque theatre of war!