Midsomer Murders’ DCI Tom Barnaby, portrayed by John Nettles, left the series after he decided to retire and travel the world with his wife, Joyce.
Midsomer Murders is one ITV’s longest-running, flagship crime detective dramas premised on a veteran detective chief inspector and his youngest sergeant investigating the murders that take place in Midsomer.
However, the detective chief inspector was not always DCI John Barnaby. The first and original Barnaby was DCI Tom Barnaby who left the series in 2011.
In the story, Tom left after making the decision to retire from the police force and travel the world with his wife, Joyce – a storyline which seems to have matched the ambitions of the actor.
What season did Tom Barnaby leave Midsomer?
Midsomer Murders first premiered on ITV in 1997 and it is still airing new episodes. In 2022, the series marked its twenty-second season and 25 years since it premiered on the channel.
To date, John Nettles still holds the title of the actor to have appeared in the most episodes and seasons of the show.
Before his exit following the season 13 finale in 2011, he had been part of every episode of the series with a total of 81 episodes from the current 132 episodes that are available to watch from the crime murder mystery and detective series.
How did Tom Barnaby leave Midsomer Murders?
Midsomer Murders ensured that Tom Barnaby’s send-off was one that gave the John Nettles his flowers. His last episode on the series was season 13, episode eight titled “Fit for Murder.”
This episode solely focused on Tom Barnaby and the mid-life crisis that he was going through. Hence, in the episode, Barnaby was looking back at a pivotal moment in his life which was the death of his father.
While his strained relationship with his father had been briefly mentioned in the past, this episode let fans in a little more to show them why Barnaby was so devoted to his work.
It turns out Barnaby’s father died on his birthday after a tiff between the two where Barnaby said harsh retorts which he could not take back, as his father died of a stroke shortly thereafter.
As Barnaby was reaching the age that his father was when he had died, he started to question more and more about the fate of his own future.
Therefore, after solving the murder that started when Joyce discovered a dead body during their spa date trip during his birthday celebration, Barnaby announced that he was retiring from the force and that his cousin, DCI John Barnaby, would be taking over from him as seen in subsequent seasons of Midsomer Murders.
Why did John Nettles leave Midsomer Murders?
Considering that Midsomer Murders is still airing new seasons, John Nettles could have gone on indefinitely.
But Nettles, who celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday on Tuesday, 11 October 2022, seemed to have noticed his age as he was 68 years old when he decided to leave the show.
Hello quoted the actor stating, “I'm going to be the oldest detective in the business now that David Jason [as Detective Jack Frost on A Touch of Frost] has thrown off the mantle.”
Why did John Nettles return to Midsomer Murders after leaving?
In over 11 years since John Nettles made the decision to leave his role as DCI Tom Barnaby, he had not appeared on any episodes of Midsomer Murders. But in 2022, John Nettles returned to the Midsomer Murders universe.
While he was not in the actual series, he was part of the cast who is set to feature in the upcoming Midsomer Murders: 25 Years of Mayhem.
This is a documentary that is meant to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary milestone of the series, speaking to the impact it had for the actors and behind-the-scenes titbits that we have never heard about before.
What is John Nettles doing now?
Whether it is a case of art imitating life or the other way around, it seems that John Nettles leaving his role as the character of DCI Tom Barnaby would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Following his departure from Midsomer Murders, Nettles got the role in a period drama titled Poldark five years later, portraying the character of Ray Penvenen between 2016 and 2017.
After that, the acclaimed actor has not been credited for any new upcoming projects, which does suggest that he may have retired, at least from series and film acting, since 2017.