© ITV/Mark Bourdillon

Georgia Taylor plays Bella Summersbee

Georgia Taylor was thrilled to get the role of book shop owner Bella Summersbee.


"I am a real book lover and I really like the feel and look of a good book so Bella was great for me. But I have to admit that I have gone to the dark side now and read a Kindle. It wasbought as a present and as I travel a lot and read quickly, it's so light and easier to carryaround."


Bella is owner of the Book Emporium, which plays host to the Luxton Deeping crime-writingfestival. She's also the sole beneficiary of the estate of her late father, famous writer George Summersbee, who penned the Jed Dagger detective series.


Says Georgia: "Bella has a wise old head on young shoulders. She lost her father who she was devoted to, and she has a slightly strange relationship with her mum. She is a good businesswoman who enjoys being at the heart of the village community. But her world is turned upside down when people start dying.


"I enjoyed playing her. She is a normal girl next door but what makes her more interesting is her circumstances and the shocking things life throws at her, and seeing how a person reacts to those quite extreme situations.


"I loved filming in such beautiful English countryside. In a way, the quintessential villages are almost another character in Midsomer. The designer had also done such a good job of creating the Book Emporium which really helped me get into character.


"Bella is up and down ladders working in the shop and so we made her look quite smart and practical. But we also wanted to keep her still feminine," adds Georgia.


Bella works with her partner Rob, played by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.


Says Georgia: "They have a strong relationship but quite early on it becomes fractured when she discovers a secret about him. This leads to a few problems for them both and their relationship is tested."


Georgia is well known for her role as Toyah Battersby in Coronation Street, before moving on to Casualty and more recently Law & Order UK.


"I left Corrie and Toyah about 12 years ago but I have great memories of working on the Street
and still keep in touch with my screen family. Starting a job like that at 17 means you are so fearless and excited you just get on and do it.


"The medical jargon in Casualty was very hard to learn but I found the legal speak on Law & Order much easier. So I've done a bit of medical and legal, and now a crime series with Midsomer Murders"!


Georgia's other credits include Blackpool, Where The Heart Is, Life on Mars, New Street Law, Lilies, Lewis and Love in the Afternoon.


Lia Williams plays Maggie Markham

Lia Williams loved playing crime fiction addict Maggie Markham.


"Maggie used to run a publishing house in London so she is country house smart and can be a bit
of a snob. She has come to live in Midsomer and she likes being the star of the village and at the centre of things. But she's also a bit of a gossip."


Maggie organises the Luxton Deeping Crime Festival, held at the Book Emporium, which attracts crime fiction writers and fans.


Says Lia: "She is naturally obsessive and addictive by nature and loves the crime novels by the
late George Summersbee. She is married to his brother and she's so absorbed with crime fiction that I think she has forgotten about her husband a bit. I think she genuinely loves him, but she doesn't quite realise it until things come to the crunch. She is shocked and stunned by events."


The episode was Lia's first appearance in Midsomer Murders.


"It was enormous fun. I enjoyed everything about it. Neil Dudgeon was terrific, the other people were delightful and there was a great atmosphere on set."


Lia combines acting with work as a director.


"I enjoy being behind the camera and I also love acting. One feeds the other interestingly and stretches your mind a bit. Directing takes you to another piece of the picture and I like running
the two things in parallel. It's not easy to be a female director when you come from an acting background, but I am enjoying it and determined to continue.


"When I act I am very much an actor and focused on the character. I'm very good at separating them but it's instinctive and unforced. When I am directing, I'm not an actor at all. But it is fascinating to watch the crew work when you are acting, so a stint on Midsomer or any set is a
great learning curve. I do have a natural curiosity for the technical side of things and it's extraordinary how much knowledge you accumulate over the years on set."


Lia runs production company Tilting Ground with her husband, writer/producer Guy Hibbert. "We are currently developing a documentary about a tribe out in Ontario on Lake Superior, which is a feature documentary we will pitch at festivals. I am researching it and will direct it but it will take another year to finish.


"I've also developed a screenplay with my husband which we hope will be an independent film set in Belfast. It's a love story, between an Afghanistan refugee and an Irish girl working in a café. I will be the director on that too."


Lia's acting credits include Mr Wroe's Virgins, Seaforth, Shot Through the Heart, Imogen's Face,
The Russian Bride, Doc Martin, Secret State and Lewis.


Una Stubbs plays Audrey Braylesford

Una Stubbs was delighted to be invited back to the cast of Midsomer Murders.


"A few years ago I played an alcoholic so this time I'm a slightly better character. I wanted to come back as it's such a special job and I feel very lucky to be asked."


Audrey is a quirky resident of Luxton Deeping and devoted aunt to crime fiction addict Curtis, played by Ed Birch.


Explains Una: "Audrey is an over-protective aunt who spoils her nephew and thinks everyone else
is in the wrong, but not him. She is eccentric, rather than someone who has a dark side. She may be a red herring - or maybe not!


"She does a bit of gardening so she wears a boiler suit, which is seriously attractive. I think she
has a bit of flair, but only she would like it! I often get the eccentric characters and I like playing them, along with baddies."


Una is a big fan of the series. "I watch it and my friends watch it avidly, as there is always someone you know in it. My previous visit was with John Nettles so it was great to work with Neil and Gwilym this time around. They both create a lovely atmosphere.


"Midsomer Murders is a bit like the Ealing Comedies, you see big faces in tiny parts. Every now and again British viewers want something a little bit gentle without all the aggression. It's good at not taking itself too seriously and we accept that so many villagers can be killed in a small place."


Una has appeared in many popular series during her long career including Tell Death Us Do Part, In Sickness and In Health, Worzel Gummidge, The Wind in the Willows, The Worst Witch, EastEnders and Starlings. She is now known around the world as Mrs Hudson, the housekeeper to Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock.


"Sherlock has changed everybody's life who was in it and the interest from the public has been phenomenal. It is fantastic, working with a lovely group of young men who are such brilliant actors. We had a lovely time and we are hoping there will be another series.


"It was lovely that Ed Birch, who plays Curtis in Midsomer Murders, was also in Sherlock so we were reunited."


Adds Una: "I'm lucky that I haven't been pigeonholed in acting. I have done such a variety of work and you always need to surprise people. I still get a real kick out of acting. It's so lovely to be asked but I don't want to do too much in case I bore people rigid and they are sick of seeing me on screen."


Una is also an accomplished artist. "I had two paintings accepted for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, two portraits in watercolours of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman of course! I was giddy with excitement when I was accepted.


"Art is my biggest passion, apart from my grandchildren, acting and my friends. I started painting about 10 years ago when embroidery got too complicated for my eyes. A lot of people think watercolours are all whimsical and dainty but I work quite loosely with a big brush."