Midsomer Lee

Identity crisis!

Right from the very first programme, The Lee has featured regularly in the popular televison series Midsomer Murders and has now had starring roles as several different identities.

In the first series The Lee appeared as Badgers Drift, the main centre of the action in the pilot episode ‘The Killings at Badgers Drift’. Action returned to Badgers Drift twice more in the second series, filmed in 1997 and 1998.
In 2002 The Lee was featured as Midsomer Florey in the episode ‘Painted in Blood’, which included only one murder!
In 2007 we had another name change, becoming Midsomer Holm, in an episode called ‘Death in a Chocolate Box’ before becoming Midsomer Cicely in ‘Saints and Sinners’ in 2016 – with the Cock and Rabbit renamed as the Rose and Chalice.

Our intrepid reporters have sometimes been on hand during filming to get an off-the-record perspective and a few informal photos. These reports are from Death in a Chocolate Box and Maps of Midsomer Murders

We also have our very own Midsomer walk but do take care!

For a much more detailed account of the television series – including the identities of the very many local locations used in the programmes – take a look at the unofficial complete website.

Happy sleuthing!

Death in a Chocolate Box

Triple murder in our village (Phil Ogley)

Residents cannot fail to have noticed all the police activity around the village green in recent weeks. Events were centred around the pavilion on the green, which your Newsletter can exclusively reveal housed a ‘camera obscura’ used to secretly observe goings on. Luckily Detective Inspector Barnaby and the rest of the Midsomer constabulary were quickly on hand and arrests have been made. The Midsomer Holm Newsletter will keep you up to date with developments as they happen.

We should be thankful that the real residents of The Lee do not suffer from the high murder rate depicted in the TV series. So far The Lee has been the scene of nine murders, three suicides and one accidental death investigated by D.I. Barnaby. If they were all real, we’d never sleep at night.

John Nettles by the cottages

The Lee has starred as three different identities in Midsomer Murders so far. In the first series The Lee appeared as Badgers Drift, the main centre of the action in the pilot episode ‘The Killings at Badger Drift’. Action returned to Badgers Drift twice more in the second series, which was filmed in 1997 and 1998.

In 2002 The Lee was featured as Midsomer Florey in the episode ‘Painted in Blood’,which featured only one paltry murder. In 2007 we have had another name change, becoming Midsomer Holm, in an episode entitled ‘Death in a Chocolate Box’.

The Green at night

Death in a Deluge’ might have been a more appropriate title given the weather enjoyed during filming. Fortunately the script called for several scenes to take place on rainy days, though in an ironic twist the type of rain falling from the sky was not correct for filming purposes, so the crew could be seen spraying artificial rain from sprinklers onto cast and extras being soaked to the skin by the real stuff!

Sign for "The Safe Haven", the alter ego of the Cock and Rabbit

Filming took place in and around The Green, The-Lee Manor being renamed Holm Manor and the Cock and Rabbit becoming ‘The Safe Haven’. Elizabeth Stewart-Liberty, who gave permission for The Green to be used in filming, is kindly donating a portion of the proceeds paid by the film company to the Church of St John the Baptist, The Lee Old Church and to The Lee Cricket Club.

"Pathologist" investigating

Midsomer Murders is made by Bentley Productions, the company run by local resident Brian True-May. The series remains popular in the UK, where it typically attracts over eight million viewers, and is currently shown to 204 countries around the world. There are no plans at present to end the series, so perhaps more murders are possible in The Lee.

The police are still finalising their investigations, and have imposed reporting restrictions until some point during the summer. All will be revealed in a nationally televised broadcast that I, for one, will be watching with a drink in ‘The Safe Haven’.

Maps of Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders: the inside story (Colin Sully)
John Nettles on the green

John Nettles (otherwise known as TV’s D.I. Barnaby) was spotted in The Lee recently in ‘strange’ circumstances and without his latest side-kick ‘Jones’. For once there were also no dead bodies and the only ‘suspects’ to be found were your intrepid reporting team tracking down a good story… and a photograph!

The reason for this is that a television programme is being made about the various locations used for Midsomer Murders, called Maps of Midsomer Murders, and that John Nettles is being interviewed with these locations as back-drops.

The Lee has appeared in episodes such as Death of a Hollow Man, Death of a Stranger and Painted in Blood, and featured as Badgers Drift in The Killings at Badgers Drift and Death’s Shadow. The Lee Gate pub was reborn as the ‘Hammer and Pennant’ in Bantling Boy and in Death in a Chocolate Box, the Cock and Rabbit was re-cast as ‘The Safe Haven’. Surely there is no such place in Midsomer!

Walk from Badgers Drift to The Safe Haven at Midsomer Holm (73.4 miles)

Map of Midsomer

This walk takes in some of the most beautiful yet dangerous countryside in England. It is muddy in parts so good stout bloodproof boots are essential. Make sure that your family and loved ones know where you are at all times.

  1. Walk north from Badgers Drift following signs to Goodman’s Land. Admire the handsome police cars lining the road and watch the forensic pathologist dissecting yet another body from this picturesque village, parts of which date back to the late 20th century (the village, not the body, which is probably much older).
  2. At Goodman’s Land pause to watch the colourful local adulterer attempting to net yet another victim in the local pub, The Old Goose. He is much hated in the village (by the husbands in particular) and is not expected to live long.
  3. Head out towards Midsomer Parva. If you look carefully in the undergrowth around the war memorial you may find human remains. Under no circumstances should you remove them as they are there for a reason.
  4. The path northwest towards Newton Magna is of particular interest, containing many kinds of Nettles and Red Herrings. Death has frequently cast its shadow in this area.
  5. At Newton Magna it is best to enter the river and wade or swim upstream for about 17.75 miles towards the bustling county town of Causton. Do not be too concerned at the bodies floating past you; this is normal. A great deal happens in Causton but few people care to discuss it. There is much crime as the police tend to be occupied elsewhere.
  6. From Causton you can lengthen the walk by heading north but people rarely do so as the villages in that area are known to be lawless and not everyone who ventures there returns. Better to walk south in the direction of Midsomer Florey and Midsomer Holm. These pretty villages (often described as being like chocolate boxes) are not quite what they seem and may repay closer examination, but do not linger over-long. Although there are many quaint and attractive cottages and manor houses to be seen the chances of your returning to The Safe Haven in one piece are probably not great. Nevertheless you will have enjoyed a walk round one of the most idyllic regions in the country, although The Safe Haven may not necessarily live up to its name.