© Bentley Productions/Mark Bourdillon



Tessa Peake­Jones had the rare treat of being able to walk to work for her stint in Midsomer.


"As luck would have it they were filming around the green in my own village so I could just open the gate and have a leisurely walk in instead of getting up at 5.30am and driving all the way into west London as is so often the case. That was an absolute joy."


Tessa reveals a little about her character, Mary Appleton.


"She runs the pub and is a local councillor who takes life quite seriously. She's been very involved in setting up this cycle race five years ago so she is quite a figurehead in the community and if there's ever a problem people go to Mary. However, she has a secret and if it gets out it could ruin her reputation, her job, and her relationship."


Tessa really enjoyed playing this multi­-faceted character.

"She was great fun to play, because there's two sides to her - on the one hand she is very presentable and dependable and then the side of her who goes slightly behind people's backs and has to keep herself in check trying not to reveal why she is getting so worried."


However, this is not the first time Tessa has appeared in Midsomer Murders.


"I was in an episode about 17 years ago when I played a lesbian murderer! I lasted right to the end as I was the overall murderer, so that was really good fun to do."


Coming onto the show, both then and now, was a great experience for Tessa.

"It was joyous working in the countryside and the whole team, as always, are great. You have that real family feel on this show. That's the nature of our job, you are thrown in and have to make relationships quick and this specific job is great to do that.


Tessa explains what she thinks the show's charm is and what makes it so popular. "I think the appeal is the lovely locations, and people wanting to solve it like a physical Cluedo, to try and beat the programme and discover the murderer before the end. Neil Dudgeon is fantastic at leading the company. It's a very friendly company when you walk into it and that shows on television."


So did Tessa join in the cycling for this episode?


"No, thank God! They said something about getting on a bicycle in Lycra and my response to my agent was 'absolutely not!' It wouldn't be a pretty sight."