There have been 350 deaths in Midsomer Murders since the show started in 1997, but are they getting ever more ridiculous? (*cough* yes *cough*) Are they running out of ideas? And are any of the residents concerned that where they live has the highest murder rate in Europe?
Like the Barnabys before me, I decided it was time to investigate, in this case by counting and analysing every death in every episode. I’ve even made graphs! This is premium
content detective work!
Midsomer Murders’ Weirdest Deaths
First, let’s take a look at some of the most WTF deaths in Midsomer Murders history.
Being crushed to death by tins of relish after a forklift truck chase:
My nightmare. It’s like an episode of Inside the Factory where the factory itself takes revenge. Even the man who dies here looks a bit like Gregg Wallace.
Being electrocuted whilst holding on to a microphone during a rock concert:
The ironic thing is that nobody realised she had been electrocuted. They assumed she was just hitting a high note.
Having a heart attack after being crushed by a mountain of newspapers:
We should not be debating the death of print media. We should instead be debating death by print media.
Being tied to a bullseye in the garden and catapulted with bottles of wine:
This has to be, without a doubt, the most middle class murder ever seen on television. It’s like the Waitrose of death. Also, who wastes red wine like this? C’mon.
Being bitten by snakes in a room full of snakes:
Apparently after you get killed by a snake they like to wrap around you as if you are wearing a fancy new necklace.
And yes, that is Hugh Dennis. Fun Fact: the original pilot for Outnumbered featured snakes instead of children.
Strangled whilst attempting to fix some sabotaged automatic doors:
If I lived in a Grand Designs house, I would be afraid to use my doors.
Suffocated after being wrapped to look like an Egyptian mummy:
This is such a waste of toilet paper. If this had happened at University whilst I was staying in accommodation with shared toilets I would have been furious.
Killed by a “meteorite” during a total eclipse:
As we all know, the last total eclipse to take place in the United Kingdom was in 1999. I remember it being cloudy and the BBC coverage was presented by a rather disappointed Michael Buerk. The next total eclipse we will have in the UK? September 23rd 2090.
So, it would have been impossible for Midsomer to encounter a total eclipse whilst the rest of the country didn’t.
It’s the most ridiculous thing to happen in Midsomer since literally any of the 350 murders.
Hit by a tyre from a flying aircraft whilst running through a cornfield:
To be honest, what a faff.
Burnt alive in a giant wicker-man:
Surely this is copyright infringement?
Martine McCutcheon getting crushed by a giant wheel of cheese:
Yep. This happened. What a day for Martine McCutcheon. She wasn’t even in the episode for more than a couple of minutes. Her day must have been: turn up, make-up, check script, work out how to react to being crushed by cheese, film it, laugh about it, receive pay cheque.
Her character wasn’t called Martine, but I wish she was. I couldn’t even be bothered to rewind to find out what they called her. “That’s a lot of cheese,” said DCI Barnaby when he turns up at the crime scene not long afterwards.
Stabbed while dressed as Jane Austen whilst being filmed by a drone:
This is either (a) the worst Black Mirror episode ever or (b) the writers chose deaths by picking them out of a bin.
Electrocuted by a spinning wheel that had been tampered with:
She didn’t even bet before she touched the wheel FFS.
Drowned in a bowl of hard boiled eggs and jellied eels:
Everyone is so used to death by now that the dead person’s housekeeper (above left) didn’t even react to it. She decides to finish drinking and drying her cup of tea before ringing the police.
So now we know the weirdest ways that people have died, let’s work out whether these deaths have become more ridiculous. To do this, we need to record exactly how every single person has died. To do this I kept a tally and created, without a doubt, the second most depressing spreadsheet to ever exist in my Google Sheets, the first being a list of my invoices and expenses.
I eventually came up with this.
Here are the top five ways to die on Midsomer Murders:
5. Poisoned or drugged = 33 deaths (Includes poisoned frog, being injected, mixing alcohol with ketamine, being bitten in a room full of snakes, eating biscuits laced with strychnine or touching violin strings laced with strychnine. This also means being withheld necessary drugs or getting chucked off a horse that is on drugs.)
4. Suffocation or frozen to death = 42 deaths (Includes death by being smothered by a pillow, getting wrapped up to be an Egyptian mummy, strangled by violin string, death by drowning and drowning in a bowl of hard-boiled eggs.)
3. Natural causes = 44 deaths (This includes heart attack, stroke or being surprised into death. This also includes dying in battle, suicide or a death that was accidental and had nothing to do with the murder story.)
2. Assaulted = 62 deaths (This includes being hit by a candlestick, fire pan, golf club, wrench, hammer, bramble beater, log, gargoyle, meteor, bicycle chain or meat tenderiser. This also includes being clubbed, bludgeoned or hit by balls fired from a cricket machine. Oh and this also includes masonic ritual gone wrong.)
1. Stabbed or beheaded = 85 deaths (This includes being killed by fence, fork, fireplace stoker, pole, moon disk, poisoned quill, 18th century pike, antique sword, chandelier, umbrella poke, cricket stump, scissors and two prongs from the 16th century. This also includes being beheaded by piano wire whilst driving, having your throat slit or being killed by a guillotine.)
And if you are a character on Midsomer Murders and you know you are hella gonna die, what’s the most likely way you’ll croak?
So, have the deaths become more ridiculous? Well in short, YES. There was a turning point in approximately series six when someone drowned in ketchup. By the time in series fifteen that a character had a cardiac arrest, after falling from a roof, after thinking they had seen a headless horseman, I barely flinched.
For me though, the biggest concern is not the number of deaths in Midsomer Murders, but how everyone is always so totally chill about the constant death rate. Nobody bats an eyelid, the community is never in shock and no links between any of these murders over multiple episodes are ever explored.
Heck, the Barnaby detectives have even been witnesses at the exact moment when someone gets murdered. This has happened tens of times. Surely someone should at least suspect that there’s something a little bit odd going on?
The Barnabys’ first reaction when somebody pops their clogs right in front of them should not be “Oh lol, there goes another one!”.