Midsomer's missing minorities mystery

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The Independent Culture

It is the great unsolved mystery in the long-running ITV1 drama series, Midsomer Murders: where are the characters from ethnic minorities?

Programme producer Brian True-May said the reason for the lack of diversity is that the fictional county of Midsomer is the "last bastion of Englishness", a rural setting into which ethnic minorities do not fit.

He told the Radio Times: "We just don't have ethnic minorities... Because it wouldn't be the English village with them. It just wouldn't work. We're the last bastion of Englishness... I want to keep it that way."

Asked why "Englishness" could not include other races, he said: "I'm trying to make something that appeals to a certain audience... I don't want to change it." He has also banned swearing, violence and sex scenes from the show, which is based on books by Caroline Graham. However the producer does acknowledge elements of diversity, which do not involve ethnicity. "If it's incest, blackmail, lesbianism, homosexuality... terrific, put it in, because people can believe that people can murder for any of those reasons," he said.

A 2006 survey found that Midsomer Murders was "strikingly unpopular" with ethnic minority viewers.

Jason Hughes, who played DS Jones in the programme, said he often wondered why Midsomer Murders continued to have no ethnic minorities.

"I've wondered that myself and I don't know," he said. "I don't think that we would all suddenly go, 'a black gardener in Midsomer? You can't have that'. I think we'd all go, 'great, fantastic'."