Watching the fantastic on-screen chemistry between Inspector Barnaby and Detective Sergeant Ben Jones it is easy to forget that Jones is not the first sidekick to play second foil to the series’ main character. Jones – superbly played by Jason Hughes – is in fact the third deputy to assist Inspector Barnaby in the series; whatever happened to his two predecessors?
Detective Inspector Gavin Troy (played by Daniel Casey) was Barnaby’s first deputy back in the days when the series began and John Nettles was making the part of DCI Tom Barnaby his own.
Troy drew on his local knowledge to investigate the horrendously high rate of murders in his Midsomer patch. In keeping with the spirit of most TV detective duos, his theory about a case is often flawed but a chance remark of his frequently, inadvertently, help his boss solve the case.
Despite his youth, Troy has a habit of making politically-incorrect comments but it his ambition, rather than his habit of putting his foot in it, which sees him transferred to Middlesbrough in the first episode of series seven. Troy got on well with Barnaby and was obviously highly regarded by the producers, as he was invited back to star in ‘Blood Wedding’ – attending the wedding of young Cully Barnaby.
Since Daniel Casey gave up the role of Troy in 2003, he has gone on to star in Steel River Blues, The Royal, Doctors and a stage version of Kes.
DS Daniel Scott (played by John Hopkins) joined the cast of Midsomer in 2003 and proved that he was nothing like Troy; a cocky Londoner he is aghast at being posted to an area he regards as “the sticks”.
His prickly relationship with Barnaby is best illustrated in ‘The Straw Woman’ episode where a lady he has developed a romantic interest with meets a grisly end. I have re-watched this episode several times and am always surprised by the lack of sympathy Barnaby extends to his distraught colleague.
DS Scott was never formally written out of the show; he is merely described as being “ill” in one episode and then never mentioned again.
Luckily, more is known of John Hopkins’ career – after he gave up the role of DS Scott he went on to star in TV series such as Robin Hood, films such as Alice in Wonderland and stage plays such as the 39 steps (he played the role of Richard Hannay for the best part of a year during the production’s West End run).
While the cast of Midsomer Murders slowly changes over the years, the glorious settings don’t. New and old faces will continue to come and go but long may the lovely town of Wallingford continue to feature as the fictional village of ‘Causton’!