This week it’s all about contrast. It’s only January and we’re already being blessed with our third new episode of Midsomer Murders of the year. Good news. But anyone who tuned in on Wednesday 16 expecting to watch it would have seen nothing but football (FA Cup replay apparently – honestly). Bad news. However, that means that the new episode, titled ‘Schooled In Murder’ will be shown on January 30 instead. More good news.

That might be two weeks away but that’s two weeks to get excited about a new story and some new ghoulish and ghastly murders to solve. Keen eyed viewers might also have noticed an old episode being screened on one of the many ITV channels while the football was on. It just gets better.

A scene from Midsomer Murders. Still © Bentley Productions.

Jason Hughes with Neil Dudgeon © Bentley Productions Ltd

More new episodes is definitely a good thing, we can all agree on that. But the new episode also sees the end of an era, as it marks the final episode to star Jason Hughes as DC Ben Jones.

Jason has been with the show for over fifty episodes, making him one of the longest serving cast members. Jason said: “ It was a tough decision for me to go, as I have had a great time working on the show, both with John Nettles and now Neil Dudgeon, and the crew are like a second family.” He went on to add: “ I feel it is the right time to leave, and after spending seven happy years on Midsomer I am now looking at other projects, and my first one will be the pilot season in the US.”

Sad news but we all wish Jason all the best. Even if there’s nothing that can compare to working in the beautiful rural countryside of Southern Oxfordshire.

Jason made his first appearance in ‘The House in the Woods’ in 2005. His first day of filming involved him finding a dead body in a car – just a taster of all the grizzly things he was to encounter in subsequent years. Producer of the show Jo Wright is currently looking for a replacement (get your CVs ready folks – you never know) saying: “ We are sad that Jason has decided to leave the series and, of course, will miss him tremendously.”

A bit of a mixture this week then. Things to be excited about and other events that are cause for sadness. It sounds like an episode of Midsomer actually. But with a little less blood and murder.