Neil Dudgeon is celebrating 10 years as DCI John Barnaby, but who is the actor behind the much-loved detective? Dudgeon joined the cast in 2011, taking over the reins from his ‘cousin’ DCI Tom Barnaby – played by John Nettles. Dudgeon had a handful of roles before his rise to fame on Midsomer Murders, and even featured in the blockbuster hit Bridget Jones’ Diary.
In one of the final scenes, where Renee Zellweger takes a taxi to find Mark Darcy, and declare her undying love for him, Dudgeon is the taxi driver. He’s also made an appearance in almost all of the most iconic British TV shows – from Casualty to Inspector Morse. Most of his roles have been limited to a single episode, but Dudgeon spent two years playing Jim Riley in the BBC’s Life of Riley.
The actor, now 60-years-old, hails from Doncaster. He honed his craft whilst studying drama at the University of Bristol, before taking on his first roles in Prick Up Your Ears and London’s Burning. His time at the Midsomer helm has led him to leafy Buckinghamshire on multiple locations. The latest episode – which aired on Sunday, October 3 – sees the Barnabys reflect on their formative years on the show, prompting the actors to do the same.
In an interview with ITV, Neil Dudgeon said: “Usually as an actor if a job goes on for three months it is a long job, if you go to the National you might stay there for a year but the idea that you might be in the same job for 10 years, playing the same character, seems to me to be tremendously unlikely…” “You don’t really think about how long you’ve been doing it whilst you’re doing it because there is always so much to do that you don’t have a lot of time to reflect.
“When I do look back on it I see myself starting and thinking ‘oh no the other fella has been here for 13 years, if they cancel it after one episode that’s going to look pretty bad for me.’ “So, when they commissioned a second series I thought ‘phew’. If you are going to work in television as an actor what else would you want to be doing? It’s a fantastic job – wonderful crew, beautiful locations, great scripts, marvellous guests, great fun and nice catering…What more could one ask for?”