Midsomer Murders may be a little OTT (over the top) at times, especially in some of the ways that victims are bumped off (mechanical diggers and wine catapults anyone?) But the heart of the show is set against very normal British community life. This is perhaps one of the reasons that so many people watch and love the show, because it resonates.
So, when murders happen at the local am-dram society, such as in Death of a Hollow Man, or local artists are dispatched, as in Painted in Blood, it doesn’t feel too far away from our own experiences (well, you know what we mean).
This is especially true in Southern Oxfordshire, where there is a lively and buzzing arts and theatre scene. Nowhere is this more evident than at Didcot’s Cornerstone Arts Centre, a performing arts and gallery space that hosts hundreds of exciting events throughout the year.
Coming up on the bill in the next few months you can find comedy with TV’s Alex Horne and his Monsieur Butterfly show. There’s music from Rura, with their unique blend of Highland pipes, fiddle, bodhran, guitar, whistle, flute and more. And even some performance art in the form of Dancing Lines, a collection of work inspired by a live dancer.
You’ll also find an all male version of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice; the heart warming tale of aspiration, friendship and adventure that is Rosie’s Magic Horse and a new show by biting political satirist Mark Thomas.
Also coming up later in the year is more comedy from Jeremy Hardy, as well as new double act Frisky and Mannish. Plus there’s even a special book group night, where you can have the chance to hold your book group meet somewhere special.
Cornerstone offers plenty of classes and workshops where you can improve your own theatrical skills, learn tap dancing or ballet, printmaking, and choose from a selection designed for youngsters. There’s even a chance to take part in some parent and toddler ballet.
The Cornerstone is delivering a thriving arts offer in Southern Oxfordshire and helping to keep community ties strong. It’s little wonder that our favourite drama reflects this way of life. Although we do have to admit that the odd murder or several must surely strain community relations a little. But that’s TV for you – we wouldn’t watch if it was dull.