Midsomer Murders fans are understandably upset that John Nettles has solved his last case on the show. But they should take some consolation from the fact that Nettles is very confident that the new Inspector Barnaby will prove every bit as effective (and popular) as the old Inspector Barnaby.

The dramatic ‘Fit For Murder’ episode ended with Tom Barnaby (as played by Nettles) announcing his retirement at his birthday party.

One of the guests at the party was Tom’s cousin John Barnaby (played by Neil Dudgeon), who has just transferred to the Midsomer police force.

Nettles has only kind words to say about his successor, commenting that Dudgeon is “not full of little tics and tricks, which would be hopeless for a long-running series.”

The 50-year-old actor has appeared in sitcoms such as Life of Riley and Roman’s Empire, so should have the comic quality which gives Midsomer Murders a lightness of touch during even the most gruesome of investigations.

He also has experience of appearing in detective series on his CV: in 1994 he appeared as Inspector Frost’s sidekick in a one-off episode.

Having landed the role of John Barnaby, his days of playing the sidekick are well and truly over.

Midsomer Murders is known as ‘Inspector Barnaby’ in many of the foreign countries where it is screened.

But the show isn’t just about Barnaby. Supporting cast, such as newcomer Fiona Dolman, (who plays the new Detective Inspector’s feisty wife Sarah) are also responsible for the series’ enduring appeal.