© ITV/Mark Bourdillon


Joanna David plays Mother Julian

Joanna David was delighted to return to Midsomer Murders after a gap of 13 years.

“I am a recycled guest star, I did an episode with the late Anna Massey and it was so thrilling to be asked to go back, I just couldn’t believe it. It was like being welcomed back into such a wonderful family.”

The role of Mother Julian is the first time that Joanna has played a nun.

She explains: “Mother Julian is the prioress and head of the Order of St Mathilde, even though there are only four nuns left. She was a missionary before she became a nun and they are a virtual silent order.

“We wore the proper habit with headgear, although we didn’t have to shave our heads luckily! There are two pieces that you put your head in with a bandeau all under the veil, which is quite restricting on the ears. Wearing the habit enforces your deportment and movement and you would always have your hands inside your habit.”

Joanna and her fellow ‘nuns’ researched their role before filming started.

“We had a lovely nun called Sister Mary Christie who advised us on all the religious side. She taught us how to pronounce the Latin creeds and was really helpful. I also have a great friend called Sister Agatha who lives in a convent in York and she helped me too. And Renny the director gave us a fascinating documentary on nuns to watch.”

Adds Joanna: “It was the happiest of jobs and a wonderful team of people so I really enjoyed it. It was lovely to work with Rosalind Knight who I have known for many years as Mother Jerome, and Susan Sheridan, who played Mother Thomas, worked with me on my first theatre jobs at the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, so it was lovely to be reunited with her. Plus Neil and Jason are heaven on earth and put you at ease immediately.”

Joanna enjoyed comparing notes with her husband Edward Fox who appeared in an episode earlier this series.

“Edward loved me getting messages at night from Paul the 2nd AD or Suzan in make-up because he knew them all so well from only recently filming a Midsomer himself!”

Joanna’s many credits include Rebecca, War and Peace, The Last of The Mohicans, Ballet Shoes, The Duchess of Duke Street, Brass, First Among Equals, Pride and Prejudice, The Glass, The Mill on the Floss and Bleak House.

She is mother to actors Emilia and Freddie Fox. “I am busy being a grandmother now as my daughter Millie just had a little girl, and we all love Rose.”


Cliff Parisi plays Barry

Cliff Parisi enjoyed getting a new image for his role as a pub landlord.

“Barry is a typical city boy who has now settled in the countryside of Midsomer. He’s very nosy and as soon as he sees the police he wants to know what they’re up to. He thinks he might find a body in the cellar and he is just waiting for his pub to be at the centre of a big murder inquiry.

“He has a moustache, a sort of Clark Gable look, which was a new one for me. I also managed to get out of overalls, as a lot of people do tend to cast me in those roles as I must have that blue collar look about me. So it was a great relief in Midsomer to get out of the overalls for once.”

Cliff jokes that he had no problem finding his way to the countryside locations.

“I discovered that you can find the set by following the birds of prey. There were a lot of kites around. I don’t know if they were hanging around for the food from the caterers or just waiting for the dead bodies!”

Cliff is no stranger to filming in pubs – he was a familiar face in the Queen Vic during his long-standing role as Minty in EastEnders.

“I think for about a week Minty owned the Queen Vic and I’ve certainly been in front of the bar there on many occasions. As I’m playing a publican in Midsomer, I had to sample the beers to help get me into character!”

Cliff is relishing his time acting in different series after more than 500 episodes of EastEnders.

“I was there for eight and a half years and I enjoyed my time, as Minty was a lovable character and people warmed to him. But it is so lovely to come out and do some different work.

“As well as Midsomer Murders, I’m playing a mischievous good guy in Hustle and have a leading role back in overalls as a caretaker and janitor of a convent in Call The Midwife, a new series for BBC1. I’m really loving life at the moment and although I love being with my family, I never stop working.”

Cliff began his career as a stand-up comedian and previously appeared with Neil Dudgeon in the TV drama Our Boy.