A MIDSOMER Murders star has revealed how he threatened to quit the hit drama.
Barry Jackson, who stars as George Bullard in Midsomer Murders
But it was NOT over the race row which has engulfed the ITV1 show.
Instead, Barry Jackson considered leaving the series because he wasn’t given enough to do.
Now the Birmingham-born actor, who plays pathologist Dr George Bullard, gets third billing and a higher profile on Midsomer Murders.
The latest series began last week and continues on Wednesday.
The arrival of a new lead, with Neil Dudgeon playing DCI John Barnaby, cousin of John Nettles’ Tom, was overshadowed by a furore over the absence of ethnic minorities in the cast.
Producer Brian True-May said he wanted to keep the drama as a “last bastion of Englishness” and that it wouldn’t work with more racial diversity.
After ITV said it was “shocked and appalled” by his comments, he apologised and agreed to step down at the end of the current production run.
Barry, who grew up in Ward End and is named after the founder of the Birmingham Rep, says he considered quitting too, when John Nettles left.
“I didn’t think I wanted to go on, but I was persuaded to stay,” he reveals.
“My complaint is that I’d like a little bit more to do. I hate it when Bullard just says ‘he died between 12 and 2.30’. It’s a poor show if they can’t write anything more.
“There is a man under that babygro he has to wear! I need a bit more humour and reality.
“I do miss John, but with Neil coming in, there’s a chance to develop that relationship and for some really good writing.
“I hope it will be more interesting for me, rather than a cursory remark here and there,” he added.
With all the creative deaths in Midsomer, surely the most dangerous part of Britain, Bullard is kept busy.
And so is Barry, researching the required pathology. “I usually Google the cause of death to find out the facts and what the effects should be,” says the man who turns 73 on Tuesday.
“The more I find out about things, the easier it is for me to do my job in the show. Even though it’s pantomime crime, we have to make it look real.”
Barry – who is particularly proud of being able to pronounce pentaerythritol tetranitrate, a tongue-twisting heart drug – has considered how to commit the perfect murder. In fact, it’s a little worrying just how much thought he’s put into it.
“A foolproof method? Go for the carotid artery in the neck, which will lead to death in six seconds,’’ he said.
‘‘I used to do martial arts so I know how to do it.
“I wouldn’t use poison as it leaves too many signs, they’d find out in the mortuary. Arsenic leads to purple lips, for example.
“To make sure of avoiding detection I’d put the body in a septic tank so it would dissolve.”
Barry lives with his third wife and has six children. Looking back over 14 series of Midsomer Murders, he declares: “George has changed radically. In the first episode, he was like a village doctor carrying a Gladstone bag. I remember advising Barnaby on his diet. But because of series like CSI and the audience’s knowledge of forensics, we had to appear to know what we’re doing so we have to wear blue overalls at the crime scene.
“Mind you, we only got a real pathologist on board three years ago to make sure we follow proper police procedure.
“He invited me to a post mortem. I haven’t taken him up on the offer yet, but I’d like to – I’m not squeamish.”http://www.sundaymercury.net/news/midlands-news/2011/03/27/midsomer-murders-star-barry-jackson-on-why-he-threatened-to-quit-66331-28409315/