Jane Wymark drew on inspiration from her family to create the character of Inspector Barnaby's wife Joyce in Midsomer Murders.

"Ironically, I have an auntie Joyce who is the most wonderful woman in the world and had six children. I found her terribly helpful as a role model for Joyce Barnaby who is incredibly caring and kind. She's supportive and loving of both her husband and her daughter, although she is a bit long-suffering about his devotion to work.

"There are very few similarities between myself and Joyce. I just wish I was as nice a person."

Adds Jane: "In the film I spent almost all my time with John Nettles and Laura Howard. John and I worked together on a ghastly film in Budapest about four years ago and had a laugh so I was delighted to work with him again.

"And it's a great thrill for me to have a daughter in Laura because I have two sons of my own. We have become very close and I went to see her in a play recently and found myself having some 'maternal pride'."

Joyce ventures beyond her usual scenes in the Barnaby family home in Death's Shadow, when she and Tom decide to renew their marriage vows.

"They end up at a summer fete and it was great to be there because there are some amazing stunts including a clever trick shooting an arrow through a tunnel."



Laura Howard found it easy to relate to her character in Midsomer Murders because she plays an up-and-coming actress.

But while Inspector Barnaby's daughter Cully gets work on the occasional advertisement, Laura's career has hardly stopped since she made her TV debut at the age of 13 as Tessa Peake-Jones daughter in So Haunt Me.

The series ran for three years and she has since starred in Soldier Soldier and Jack Rosenthal's Screen One films Eskimo Day and Cold Enough for Snow.

Laura explains: "Cully is not that removed from me, she's a young jobbing actress and we're the same basic type of person. I have been incredibly lucky so far and I really enjoyed coming back to Midsomer Murders. It's a great job.

"A lot of what Cully does is show Barnaby's home life and what makes him human. But in this film she becomes linked to his work through her involvement in an acting workshop run by a charismatic director who may be the murderer.

"It was good that she was in some danger and I got to do some screaming which was fun."

Adds Laura: "In a lot of detective series, the policeman has a dysfunctional family but the Barnaby's are the opposite, we sit down and have a breakfast together."

Laura enjoys working with her screen dad John Nettles, although she was only a youngster when Bergerac was at its height.

"I don't really remember it although I must have seen it a couple of times as a child. But I've seen episodes recently on cable and John looks completely different.