Midsomer Murders fans will see Christmas come just a little early this year, with the new series starting on Christmas Eve at 8pm on ITV 1. The new episode entitled ‘The Christmas Haunting’ marks the first time that a new episode has been screened on Christmas Eve.

The producers are being a little cagey about the details but have released a couple of teasers to get us excited. The episode will reveal two new additions to the Midsomer family, and surprise in store for Sykes the dog.

The other bit of information that we know so far is that ‘The Christmas Haunting’ will feature none other than Les Dennis, the first guest star of the series.

More good news comes in the shape of a Christmas competition. A Twitter competition starting on the Friday 13 December will give fans of the show a chance to win exclusive Midsomer goodies every day in the twelve days running up to Christmas. So, if you know your Troy’s from your Jones’ and have a photographic memory of all the Southern Oxfordshire locations that have been used throughout the show’s history, then it might be worth seeing if you can win.

So, it looks like this year it’s going to be a Midsomer Christmas, and with the new series continuing on into the new year, there is plenty of Midsomer Murders action to look forward to over the coming months.

However, it is not all good news this week. We also heard the very sad news that Barry Jackson, who played Dr George Bullard on the show for fourteen years from the pilot in 1997, died peacefully at home this week. Pathologist Dr George was known for his dry wit and style and will be sadly missed by everyone at Midsomer Murders.