There are big changes ahead for the Barnaby household when Midsomer Murders returns for a new series next year.
DCI Barnaby and his wife Sarah will welcome a new rescue puppy called Paddy into their home when series 19 of the ITV drama kicks off.
Paddy replaces Barnaby’s former canine companion Sykes, who hung up his lead and retired at the end of the last series after five years on the show.
Neil Dudgeon, who plays DCI Barnaby, said: “I will miss working with Sykes for many reasons. He is the consummate professional and like most actors will do anything for a sausage.
“I am happy he likes the retirement bed we bought him and that he will spend more time sleeping than working. Paddy our new boy has fitted in perfectly and filled the very large doggy shoes of Sykes.”
The 13-year-old Jack Russell cross appeared in 29 episodes during his time on the long-running ITV drama but is now taking a well-earned rest with a new foster family, according to a statement from ITV.
Executive producer Jo Wright said: “When we were filming last year’s series our dog trainer, Gill Raddings called me and said it was time to retire Sykes from Midsomer at the end of the year.
“We were all very sad and made sure he had a lovely last day with a present of a retirement dog bed given to him by Neil (Dudgeon) and Gwilym (Lee).
“We have a new very young dog, Paddy, this year found for us by Gill but you will have to watch in the New Year to see how the story line plays out.”
A veteran of both the big and small screen, Sykes got his start in show business after he was rescued by stunt dog specialist Gill Raddings while roaming as a stray.
He went on to appear in such Hollywood blockbusters as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Sykes also starred alongside Peter Kay for John Smith’s Dog Show advert in 2010.
Raddings said: “Sykes has had a marvellous time filming Midsomer Murders for the past five years but he is enjoying taking life easy now.”
Filming is already underway for series 19 of Midsomer Murders, but you’ll have to wait until 2017 to find out how Paddy gets on with his new family.