Here in Southern Oxfordshire, we’re used to our fair share of famous people living here or passing through. In the last few months alone we’ve had Hollywood stars such as Russell Crowe and great Olympians like Steve Redgrave. Over the summer, the festival season is bringing plenty more famous musicians, actors and comedians to the region.
But last week we were honoured enough to receive our most famous and prestigious visitor of the lot. Her Majesty the Queen came to Henley as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The main festivities might have been a few weeks ago but the crowds still turned out in force to see her.
What – you might be asking – has all this got to do with Midsomer Murders? It’s a fair question but one with a really straightforward answer. It turns out that Her Majesty is something of a fan of the show. When she is enjoying some much needed private time after all the public events she still attends (in her eighties it really is an extraordinary calendar of events) she relaxes by watching…you’ve guessed it…Midsomer Murders.
Don’t ask us how we know this but it’s true. The Queen likes nothing more than to sit back, forget about everything and get involved in a gripping murder mystery, Midsomer style. Rumour even has it that she is something of an amateur sleuth herself, and a dab hand at solving some of the mysteries.
It’s not just actual royalty that loves the show. It’s been reported that acting royalty such as Johnny Depp, Michael Caine and Sharon Stone are fans of the show too. To such an extent that they have even allegedly enquired about making a guest appearance. It would be quite something to see a Depp, Caine or Stone bumped off in the first few minutes.
Of course, as well as all the famous fans, there are plenty of avid viewers among us ordinary folks too. It still pulls in viewing figures of over ten million, even after all these years. It has even been sold to countries all around the world.
In Norway it has been re-titled Mord og Mysterier (Murder and Mysteries) and in the Ukraine it is better known as A Very English Murder. It is almost certainly the Britishness of the whole programme that makes it such a hit. And probably why her majesty watches it too.
So, next time you are sitting down to watch an episode of Midsomer, imagine who else around the world might be doing exactly the same thing. Johnny Depp might be watching an episode in the bath in his Beverley Hills mansion and the Queen might be snuggling in under a blanket to watch one in Balmoral. Either way, you’re in good company.