Midsomer Murders returned to ITV tonight with an entertaining little yarn in which real life imitated fiction. The aptly named Death and the Divas began with DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) enjoying a quiet night at a screening of a 1960s Hammer horror style movie. One of the film’s stars just happened to be local resident Stella Harris (Sinead Cusack). However, the Barnaby’s date-night turned sour when DS Hughes uncovered a murder that seemed to have been inspired by the vampiric activities in the film Barnaby had been watching. Things really started to get interesting when Harris’ rather more famous sister Diana (Harriet Walter) arrived in town as the star attraction at the Midsomer Langley film festival. As Barnaby and Hughes began to unravel the murder mystery, the sibling divas soon became central figures in the investigation.
Death and the Divas was a little less gruesome than some of the recent Midsomer episodes although some of the scenes towards the end were a little harrowing. Caroline John and John Carson turned back the years with stellar performances as actors in the classic horror flicks that were screened at the film festival. Beyond that, Neil Dudgeon is slowly but surely proving that there is life after John Nettles.