And good riddance to the Spice Girls...

Jake and Elle are confident but fun, but who'll miss the Spice Girls?
Jake and Elle are confident but fun, but who'll miss the Spice Girls? Contributed

BLOG: I suffered through poor digital reception on the ABC last night, the picture breaking up and the sound cutting in and out and thought: Only for a new Midsomer Murders.

For a new series of Midsomer Murders is to be anticipated and then thoroughly enjoyed by crime fans.

I know some former devotees who've abandoned the series following scandal over the lack of characters of ethnic minority origin, but it's still hard to put aside, even with a new Detective Barnaby - Heaven forbid, did I hear you mutter?

John Nettles certainly had his following as Tom Barnaby and we miss him sorely but Neil Dudgeon has delivered a Barnaby (John, that is) who's intelligent in a different manner to his cousin, with different quirks and style, a different sort of wife and a different relationship with offsider Sergeant Jones (and I still miss Sergeant Gavin Troy when it comes to characters being replaced).

Now into its 15th series, what is it that draws us back to this detective series?

Well, we know what we're going to get: A murder, or perhaps two or three, based on some secret, perhaps long hidden, or passion in Midsomer village life (love, jealousy, greed, ambition), a red herring or two, clues, twists, interesting characters and in the end the satisfaction of Detective Barnaby seeing through all the lies and revealing the real killer or killers.

Last night's episode had all the ingredients we've come to enjoy: bizarre deaths among an aristocratic family (after the deaths were heralded by a headless horseman), a number of suspects and then John Barnaby uncovering the truth.

While some of the later plots aren't quite as wickedly deceptive as early ones based on Caroline Graham's books (I'm thinking The Killings at Badger's Drift as an example), the series always has a style and formula that crime fans love.

And because we know and enjoy the formula as well as the familiar characters, Midsomer Murders is always entertaining without necessarily being challenging. And TV doesn't always have to be challenging, confronting or educational. It can be fun and diverting in an almost comforting sort of way.

So bring on the rest of the series, though may the ABC digital reception in our region choose to behave for Sunday nights, although I'm already counting down to the release of this series on DVD to catch up with what was missed.


Is anyone despairing at the disappearance of the Spice Girls after the first elimination of My Kitchen Rules?

The only reason I can think of for anyone being sorry to see the back of them is that Jessie and Biswa's absence leaves us minus a couple to root against.

I found myself watching the reruns of My Kitchen Rules at the weekend partly to relive their failure to produce anything worthy of a high score when it came to their time to host an instant kitchen.

They were irritating to the extreme, declaring before they started cooking that they represented no more boring food (which drew unhappy looks from their opponents).

It was even hard to feel sorry for them afterwards, given they sneered at the following couples' efforts. Their constant, negative whining was met with mutters like "here we go again" from other contestants. As for, "I don't like cinnamon". Well, okay. But: "I don't like chocolate"? Really? What's that?

I'm guessing some My Kitchen Rules fans might have been keen to see Jake being taken down a peg (what was he thinking with that T-bone steak) but I find he and his sister Elle are fun. And is confidence that unappealing?

On the other hand, the Spice Girls with their constant sniping won't be missed - except as the couple we wanted to loudly boo.

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