Neil Dudgeon, 60, has become a well known face of the classic murder mystery drama Midsomer Murders, after he took over the lead role from John Nettles’ DCI Tom Barnaby in 2011. But despite his sensational 10 years in the role as DCI John Barnaby, he still can’t watch himself on-screen.
In a recent interview, the actor admitted he wouldn’t want to tune into the popular ITV show, and can’t understand why anyone else would either.
“I don’t really imagine people switching on Midsomer to watch me,” he shrugged.
“I wouldn’t switch on and watch me.”
He then added: “I get enough of me at home!”
And yet people switch on in their millions making it a worldwide phenomenon, with fans all the way over in Australia.
The pandemic also allowed viewers to sit down and binge watch the show and its many seasons, which has – if he wasn’t already – made Dudgeon a very recognised face around the world.
“I’ve heard it quite a lot – people have binged,” he smiled.
“Foreign channels bought two years of Midsomer Murders and, because of lockdown, they’ve shown all of them, binged the whole two years in two months!
“It’s fantastic and lovely to think people do enjoy the show. I find it comforting and a solace.”
But he noted he still finds it strange when people refer to him as his alter-ego in real life.
“I’ll tell you what is an odd thing,” he said, “When I went out shopping before lockdown, in my shorts, T-shirt and hat, just walking up the high street, there was a lady, I think she was French, who would sit outside a pavement café and used to shout at me.
“‘Oh, it’s you, Barnaby!’” he recalled she had said.
“It was really weird. You’re walking along thinking, ‘What time will I go to football?’ and someone says, ‘You’re Barnaby!’ And you go, ‘Oh, no, I’m not.’”
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“You forget who you are in the eyes of other people. And when you encounter that, it jolts you. It’s quite a dislocated sensation.”
Now, while we’re on the verge of regaining some form of normality here in the UK, the telly star looked back on what he got up to throughout the past year of disjointed freedom.
Dudgeon told Radio Times he took up running as a way to keep himself entertained and to keep fit with his daughter, but was left confused and mildly concerned to find large bruises on his legs after going for a jog.
“My daughter wanted to do a bit of running, so I started doing Couch to 5K [the NHS podcast],” he recalled setting himself a challenge back in April last year.
“But I stopped after a week as I started getting huge bruises around my knee.
“The running had been great, fine, but when I saw this large bruising, I thought, ‘This isn’t right. This isn’t meant to happen.’”
According to the NHS, bruising and swelling typically indicates inflammation of the knees.
There can be many causes, which include running on hard or uneven surfaces or other underlying issues.
But his knees are back in shape as the latest series of the ever popular murder-mystery drama returned this year for its 21st season.
Neil’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.