Richard Briers had to perform the biggest stunt of his career in Death's Shadow - at the age of 64!


"I had to run up a 60ft church tower and jump over a parapet at the top. It was very energetic climbing to the top, it seemed more like 100ft. There was a frame and mattress the other side of the parapet but I was still worried that I might bounce off and fall to the ground so a really brave guy from the crew caught me as I jumped.


"I've rarely done stunts in my career and I hardly play macho parts so I think this is the most extraordinary stunt I have ever done. I'm not mad about heights but I did what I was told."


Playing the Reverend Stephen Wentworth was not the first time Richard had donned clerical robes.


"I did a series called All In Good Faith a few years ago for ITV where I also played a vicar, so the outfit felt very comfortable. I always look very convincing and reckon I could have been a vicar. It's partly my face and having a rather big nose I think.


"Stephen is under his wife's thumb and a little sad because his marriage is not good, but he puts a brave front on it, he's quite a fighter and survivor."


"I played him virtually as myself in order to make him likeable and a bit vague, because my image even up to middle-age was playing vulnerable characters one hopes people will care about. However, I wouldn't say I was henpecked like he is, although having a wife and two daughters does leave me in a bit of a minority."


For Richard, part of the appeal of working on Midsomer Murders was its old-fashioned style.


"It's a kind of escapism and fantasy. All entertainment should be an escape, that's what we are here for. I always enjoy it, it's nice to have some bizarre, eccentric characters and get a bit nostalgic about old villages before they were eroded by roads and houses."