TV murder of common sense

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 28, 2011

I am about to reveal a secret so shocking that I advise readers of a nervous disposition to cease reading this column and - better still - to screw up this entire copy of the JC and pop it without further ado into the nearest environmentally friendly, newspaper recycling container.

For the shocking secret I am about to reveal is that the extremely popular ITV drama series, Midsomer Murders, has never featured Jewish characters (and hopefully never will).

For the handful of you who haven't a clue as to what Midsomer Murders is, let me explain that it is one of the most successful, and successfully exported, British-made TV detective dramas. I am addicted to it.

Each episode is set in one or more of the fictional villages in the fictional and quintessentially "English" county of "Midsomer", which locates itself somewhere between Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire. The central character is (or was) Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, brilliantly played from the inception of the series in 1997 until last year by actor John Nettles. He needs to have all his wits about him because, believe me, Midsomer is a very dangerous place.

Since 1997, the Midsomer constabulary has had to deal with no less than 222 gruesome murders. But not one of them has been of a Jew, and not one of the murderers has turned out to be Jewish. Or Afro-Caribbean. Or Indian. Or Arab. Or Chinese.

Midsomer is a fictional place, just as Hardy's Wessex is

This is because, irrespective of whether members of any ethnic minority might actually live in the fictional villages in the fictional and quintessentially "English" county of Midsomer, this super-successful TV series has only once ever featured an "ethnic" character (a Chinese orchid smuggler - as if you didn't know). In an interview in the Radio Times last week, Midsomer's cocreator and producer, Brian True-May, explained matters thus: "We just don't have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn't be the English village with them… We're the last bastion of Englishness, and I want to keep it that way."

And now, because he has told the truth, and kept faith with his evidently exceptionally appealing dramatic vision, Mr True-May has incurred the wrath of the politically correct brigade, aided and abetted by a miscellany of ethnic lobbies and their white cheerleaders and dogsbodies. Worse still, an ITV spokesperson has confessed to being "shocked and appalled at these personal comments by Brian True-May which are absolutely not shared by anyone at ITV. We are in urgent discussions with All3Media, the producers of Midsomer Murders, who have informed us that they have launched an immediate investigation… and have suspended Mr True-May pending the outcome."

At this point, all of you who have stayed with me thus far need to join me in asking what the… (sorry, swearing, along with sex scenes and "graphic" violence, is banned from Midsomer) is going on here.

The villagers of Midsomer are all white because the series is a piece of fiction - just like Hardy's "Wessex," which, though incorporating a great deal of raw realism, never actually existed. Hardy painted a picture of what late Victorians might have imagined and even wanted rural Dorset to have been 50 years earlier.

By the same token, True-May presents us with a south-of-England county that might have existed had England's green and pleasant land not been intruded upon by Indian curry houses, Chinese take-aways and Asian open-all-hours corner shops. And before any of you demand that I too be suspended and "immediately" investigated, let me say that I love curry, am an avid fan of (kosher) Chinese food and have a particular admiration for the Anglo-Asian capacity for hard work.

But that's beside the point. The hue-and-cry that has been unleashed against True-May is a typical display of unashamed intolerance on the part of multicultural morons. In that phrase, I include the executives of All3Media and ITV who have cravenly hitched themselves to this wagon of small-mindedness.

That Jews have been absent from Midsomer is perhaps a little surprising given that one of the early writers of Midsomer episodes was our own Anthony Horowitz.

I suspect that Mr Horowitz knows what you and I know - that, though we Jews like to visit rural England, we are not naturally drawn to dwell in it.

And that, besides, Jews would have more seichel than to live in any village where three murders a week is the ghastly norm.

Last updated: 10:36am, March 28 2011