Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Midsomer Murders’

Nothing Like a Murder before Bedtime

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 6th May, 2017

Nordic NoirThe German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, once confessed that her favourite television programme is Midsomer Murders. This raised a few eyebrows, but I completely understand. Those of us who have busy and sometimes stressful lives, especially if this involves lots of face-to-face contact with strangers, need to wind down from time to time. And there is nothing like a good murder mystery to lift one out of one’s daily concerns and send one to bed somehow relaxed. Psychologists would doubtless have an explanation for this, not necessarily sublimation. I used to like Midsomer Murders too, though these days I find it a bit too formulaic and occasionally archly twee. Much more my style are the sometimes extremely gruesome Nordic Noir series that BBC Channel 4 broadcasts on Saturday nights, especially the ones from Denmark. The acting is often superb, the stories imaginative and the settings spectacularly atmospheric. The fact that they are sub-titled, not dubbed into English, is a definite plus as far as I am concerned, as one really enters into the spirit of the programme. Actually, I don’t own a television (though I do have a TV licence), so I watch them on my desktop computer, whose screen is as big as many TVs. That means I can complete my evening’s work at my desk and just switch over to iPlayer, journalism and politics pushed to one side, as I settle down to the latest grisly murder drama. So, guys, what’s on tonight?

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Murder Most Foul

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 6th September, 2008

Why are the British so addicted to murder mysteries? I confess that I am as hooked as the rest. At school, I devoured the entire oeuvre of Agatha Christie, alongside the more acceptable blood and guts of William Shakespeare. Having an appalling memory for plot, I can still watch a Hercule Poirot as if the story were totally fresh. And Midsomer Murders is the one TV programme I watch regularly, besides Newsnight and Have I Got News for You.

This evening, for the first time, I attended a Murder Mystery Evening, courtesy of Beckenham Liberal Democrats. The murder story’s title was ‘The Victim in the Vestry’, and the location for the event was most appropriately the Parish Rooms in Bromley. The Master of Ceremonies was Michael Chuter, who is a dab hand at these evenings. I admit I failed to work out the villain of the piece, despite several clever clues (and not a few red herrings). I know I would go back for more. And I’m still no nearer understanding why what in reality is a horrible crime is in imaginative terms so utterly entrancing.

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