First 'non-white' lead character for Midsomer Murders – Daily TV round-up

ITV detective drama 'Midsomer Murders' is to introduce its first non-white lead character.

33-year-old actress Natalie Mendoza will join the cast alongside Neil Dudgeon, who replaced John Nettles as detective John Barnaby last year.

Hong Kong-born Mendoza will play a stables owner called Sasha Fleetwood in an episode called ‘The Dark Rider’ due to air next month.

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The move comes after the show's former producer Brian True-May caused controversy last year over comments he made about Midsomer's ethnic mix.

In the Radio Times, he described the show as the 'last bastion of Englishness', and suggested that it would not work with more racial diversity.

He was suspended as the producer of the show, while ITV expressed shock at the comments. The show is now produced by Jo Wright. [The Mirror/Radio Times]

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The next series of 'Downton Abbey' will feature two weddings and a flood of American characters, according to reports. US-born actress Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Lady Grantham, let slip about the plans for the period drama as it enters its third series. [Metro]

Simon Cowell's company Syco is to launch a TV talent show to find a new superstar DJ, in conjunction with Will and Jada-Pinkett Smith's production company. “DJs are the new rock stars, it feels like the right time to make this show,” said Cowell. [Daily Mail]