Last Sunday I attended the Midsomer Murders farewell garden party for John Nettles near Great Missenden. It was like a bumper edition of the show - lots of smart and pretty straw hats, though no suspicious looks. John gave a short speech in which he acknowledged his OBE, but said it stood for 'Other Buggers' Efforts'. He told me that the first thing he is going to do is play the Ghost and Claudius in a production of Hamlet at the Sheffield Crucible. Marcia Warren was at the party; she played my housekeeper in the Midsomer episode I appeared in three years back. She told me I was excellent. Seeing her in the repeat on ITV just the other night, I was right to say she was perfect.
Here is a compilation of some of my scenes as Lord Holm in 'Death in a Chocolate Box':
I regretted that the drug-befuddled, misused lord had no last scene in which to show his reaction to his new-found innocence (no, what Aristotle would have called, anagnorisis - a moment of recognition or critical discovery). What were the programme-makers thinking of? The forty-second coda I offer here by way of webcam is an age to hard-pressed producers with all those shots of cars pulling up and away to consider, but it makes me feel better.
My brother rang me up and asked wryly if I had discovered any blue blood in the family tree, since I seem to get away with playing lords. He doesn't do computing so I can't at the moment point him in the direction of Bill Naughton's Joe Brady, my last week's working-class hero. Noble is a word that begs a lot of questions and takes some defining, but one might apply it to Joe, who felt something like the ennobling effect of a day's work as a coalbagger.
This week I have read two pieces of writing by my daughter Dora and her friend Ruth in Edinburgh, posted on Ruth's blog Cocktails and Feminism. They both experimented in two consecutive posts, composing 'snapshots' of Edinburgh. If ever you wanted to define the essence of what a blog should be and what it should do, you might look at these delightful and successful experiments in 'Free-Writing'.