There must be something about Sunday nights that switches off my critical faculties and turns my brain to mush. I can find no other rational explanation for the fact that on Sunday I enjoy watching Midsomer Murders. For those unfamiliar with the British TV landscape, this show is classic Sunday night fare, featuring; lovely rural thatched cottage locations, mild tongue-in-cheekiness, great British Institutions (WI, bell ringers, Regattas etc.), and — of course — gruesome murder.
There are many reasons to find Midsomer Murders laughable1, but the thing that gets me every week is the sound effects. At some point, the people responsible for sound effects must have reasoned thusly:
- Midsomer is a rural area.
- Rural areas have lots of foxes and owls.
- Foxes and owls come out at night, and their calls are a bit spooky.
- Therefore, every night scene should have a minimum of one fox scream or owl hoot per two seconds.
If there were as many foxes in Midsomer as there appear to be from the soundtrack, the dead bodies would never actually hit the ground — instead, they would recline gently on a carpet of screaming foxes. If there was a BAFTA for “Most Gratuitous Use of Nocturnal Animal Cries and Calls” (and there should be) then Midsomer Murders would be a dead cert for the award.
1Not least of which is the stunning body count of an average of 3 murders per week in a tiny rural area. It’s true that Inspector Morse had much the same problem, but Oxford is a little more urbanised, and anyway he carried it off with a bit of gravitas.