Can you believe, it’s 2016, which unfortunately means that it’s January again. But fear not because this bleakest of months just got a whole lot better for Midsomer Murders fans. That’s because a new series is upon us - like a welcome New Year present.

DCI Barnaby and DS Charlie Nelson are back for the 18th series of the show and it’s set to be bigger and better than ever. Neil Dudgeon and Gwilym Lee (who play Barnaby and Nelson respectively) are back for an extended run of six episodes on ITV.

They will be joined by some familiar faces, including Fiona Dolman as Barnaby’s wife Sarah, as well as their new baby Betty and, of course, Sykes the dog. There’s a new face in the form of Manjinder Virk who will be playing Dr Kam Karimore. Joining them will be the usual parade of stellar guest actors including, among many others, Helen Baxendale, Alison Steadman, Michelle Collins and Ralf Little.

As you might have read in our previous posts, some of the episodes for the new series sound very interesting indeed. Body snatching, UFO spotting and an international cycle race are just three of the strange and unusual settings for upcoming episodes.

Of course, as always, it also means that our very own South Oxfordshire will be playing a starring role. Keep your eyes peeled during episode 2 ‘The Incident at Cooper Hill’ and episode 3 ‘Breaking the Chain’ and you might just spot some of your favourite South Oxfordshire destinations.

Scenes for episode 2 were filmed in around the town of Benson at the Crown Inn, Crown Garage and RAF Benson. External filming for the cycle race in episode 3 took place in and around Wallingford during an actual race there. So, if you were there as a competitor or spectator, there’s even a chance you might spot yourself in the show. And while Wallingford was the original Causton, this time the market town will be known as Burwood Mantle.

Describing filming for the latest series, Producer Phil Hunter said: ‘We get to shoot in very picturesque villages and the privilege of having access to some truly stunning and precious homes, both stately and historic. When you add to this the fun we have telling stories with spectacular death scenes and Barnaby and Nelson’s intelligent pursuit of the truth, you have the perfect mix that makes Midsomer Murders a joy to make and hopefully a joy to watch.’

Rest assured Phil, it certainly is a joy to watch. So put those New Year blues away and settle in for a new series of the best show on the box.