Launching the latest series (17) of Midsomer Murders early in 2015, Neil Dudgeon, who plays DCI Barnaby, confided “There have been a lot of very inventive ways of killing people off.”

In the TV interview, Neil went on to confess “I loved the one where a guy walks out of his castle and a gargoyle falls off and crushes his head. That was a favourite. Someone else was beaten to death with a photocopier I think.

“They’re the sort of things that, if you heard about them and you didn’t know the name of the show, you’d think, ‘That must be Midsomer.”

All of which keeps the scriptwriters on their toes coming up with plot lines to entertain us. Equally hard working are the location managers, who scour the rural towns and villages around South Oxfordshire and the Chilterns for those gorgeous village greens, thatched cottages and flint stone walls that provide the gentle backdrop for all the drama.

The good news is that six new episodes are currently in production for series 18, due for release in 2016. And what can we expect? According to the programme makers, DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson will be joined by a stellar cast, which includes new pathologist, Dr Kam Karimore, played by Manjinder Virk (Ordinary Lies, Call the Midwife, The Arbor), who will assist Barnaby and Nelson as they tackle intricate murder mysteries in the beautiful but deadly countryside setting.

As for those outlandish storylines, we’re told series 18 won’t disappoint loyal fans, with plots including body-snatching, competitive cycling and the sighting of UFO’s over Midsomer County. You have been warned!