Naive, homophobic and sexist is how Daniel Casey describes his character in Midsomer Murders - but he was nevertheless delighted to be back playing the keen-as-mustard Sergeant Troy in a second series.


Explains Daniel: "Troy doesn't like things that aren't ordinary. He's not keen on people with money, he's pretty sexist and he can't deal with gays. But I don't think he's an appalling person, he's just naive and an uncomplicated character in many ways. Certain things mystify him because they are outside the world he inhabits.


"He loves being a policeman and he's as enthusiastic as a little boy. A lot of the time he jumps in feet first because he wants to impress. I had to find the balance between playing his prejudices and making him appealing, so his frailties were amusing not malicious."


Daniel particularly enjoys working with John Nettles as Troy's boss Inspector Barnaby.


"In Midsomer Murders there isn't the antagonism between most police leads and sidekicks. The nice thing about Troy is that he does look up to Barnaby although he would never admit it. Their relationship is more comfortable now compared to the first series, but Barnaby still keeps him at arms length.


"Their relationship is quite similar to our own. There's a significant gap between John and me in age and career. He's so experienced and has done everything, while I'm still at the beginning. So, like me, Troy doesn't pose a threat.


"They do needle each other from time to time, however, and Barnaby enjoys watching him fumble around in the dark. John and I, on the other hand, get on very well. I went to see him in panto last year and he even put in a few quips for me in the script."


Midsomer Murders is not the first time Daniel has played a policeman.


"My first role in TV was Anthony, a very upright policeman in Our Friends in the North. Beforehand, I spent some time with a friend of the family who was an inspector and another friend who was just a rookie. I experienced the difficulties of having to bite your lip with your superiors. That research also helped me prepare for Midsomer Murders."


His 'form' in the four years since then has included Catherine Cookson's Wingless Bird and playing opposite Coronation Street's Jane Danson in The Grand, along with parts in Peak Practice, A Touch of Frost and The Bill.


But he was never tempted to join the boys in blue in real life.


"I decided to be an actor at the age of 14 after playing Bugsy Malone on stage with the Stockton Youth Theatre. That was it for me and I've had a pretty charmed life so far. To have something which is your hobby and then becomes a job is fantastic.


"The good thing about acting is that it doesn't matter what age you are, it is just as legitimate a career because there are always new things to learn. Next I want to do something very different from Troy, just to show people what else I can do and as a challenge for myself."


In the meantime, being watched by millions of viewers in his role as Sergeant Troy has won Daniel a number of fans.


He says: "I get recognised in my home town of Stockton-on-Tees, and a lot of people recognise me in terms of appearing with John. But I also had a couple of bits of fan mail from 14-year-old girls. I've got quite a familiar face now but I'm still pretty anonymous which is a nice position to be in."