Midsomer Murders cast members who left the show and their reasons for doing so

John Nettles And Daniel Casey
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Getty))

Midsomer Murders, a mainstay of British prime time television for the past 27 years, has become one of ITV's most successful shows since its inception in 1997, boasting nearly 150 episodes.

The programme centres on an array of murder cases occurring within the quaint country villages of the fictional English county of Midsomer. It chronicles the endeavours of the senior police detective and his partner from the fictitious Midsomer Constabulary as they strive to crack the case by identifying the perpetrator and their motives.

Throughout its run, the series has been led by two detectives Tom Barnaby, succeeded by his cousin John Barnaby who have been capably backed by a range of supporting cast members.

The Barnabys have collaborated with several sergeants over the course of the show: Detective Sergeant (DS) Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), DS Dan Scott (John Hopkins), DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes), DS Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee), and DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix).

The crime drama has introduced numerous memorable characters to our screens, including those portrayed by John Nettles and Neil Dudgeon. However, the ITV series has also witnessed a revolving door of stars, reports the Express.

Here are some of the key cast members who chose to depart and their reasons for doing so.

John Nettles – DCI Tom Barnaby

John Nettles played the role of DCI Tom Barnaby from its debut in 1997, before stepping down 14 years later in 2011. Explaining his decision to bow out of the show, John told The Telegraph: "I never thought when we were filming the pilot The Killings at Badger's Drift in 1996 that I would go on to film so many episodes.

"It has been a joy to be involved in such a long-running series with so many good actors and great storylines. It's the end of an era for me.

He continued: "I suddenly realised that I'm going to be the oldest detective in the business now that David Jason has thrown off the mantle. But it was a very difficult decision to make.

"I'll have been doing Midsomer Murders for 14 years by the time Barnaby leaves. I've formed familial ties with the people involved in the show and they will be hard to break. It's always wise to leave people wanting more, rather than be booed off the stage because you bored them."

Jane Wymark - Joyce Barnaby

Like her on-screen husband, John, Jane made her debut on the show in the first episode back in 1997 and also departed in 2011. Speaking about her reason to leave, the actress said she was excited to "do different things".

At the time, she told Birmingham Mail: "I'm relieved that I don't have to be the nicest person in the world anymore! That's a heavy burden to carry. I want to be completely evil now, a really bad person with no redeeming features and a terribly good cook!"

She continued: "Tom's retirement will be tough on Joyce – when he mentioned it before, she was horrified. I certainly would be if my husband said he was retiring. But John and I have been talking about him leaving for a long time, it hasn't come out of nowhere. And I agree, enough is enough. I am fond of Joyce but she is very limiting. Now I get to do different things."

Laura Howard – Cully Barnaby

Laura Howard played Tom Barnaby's inquisitive daughter Cully from the premiere episode up until 2011. Laura left the programme in season 13 when her character tied the knot with Simon Dixon and her father retired.

Speaking about bowing out of the drama, Laura told the Evening Standard: "I was 19 when we filmed the first episode and 30 when we shot the wedding last summer. Midsomer Murders has been quite prohibitive in terms of being able to do other work and it just seemed like the right time to say goodbye."

Daniel Casey – DS Gavin Troy

Daniel Casey played Tom's loyal companion, Gavin Troy, from the very first episode up until season seven in 2003. He later returned briefly in season 11. On his decision to leave, he told Saga magazine: "I was just aware I didn't want to stay with the same thing for too long and I wanted to branch out."

Barry Jackson – Dr George Bullard

Barry Jackson played Causton's resident pathologist, Dr George Bullard, up until season 14. The actor left the show when his character decided to take some time off and left the fictional south Oxfordshire town for Ireland.

However, when leaving the role behind, Barry shared some frustrations with the scripts. "My complaint is that I'd like a little bit more to do," he told Birmingham Live. "I hate it when Bullard just says 'he died between 12 and 2.30'. It's a poor show if they can't write anything more."

Jason Hughes – DS Benjamin Jones

Jason Hughes joined the show in season nine, portraying DS Benjamin Jones. He left the show after five seasons, leaving in season 15 before making a short return in series 19.

His exit came as doctors told him he was suffering from exhaustion. He told the Daily Mail: "I was completely burned out from getting up at 4.30 am in Brighton to get the train to London and then on to wherever we were filming in Buckinghamshire, and then doing the journey back and getting home at 9pm.

"It was starting to affect my health and I was so tired I was no good to anybody, either at home or at work." He went on to add: "My doctor told me I was suffering from exhaustion and the only answer was rest."