Wednesday 11 February 2009

Newsy Stuff

John Nettles to leave Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders is looking for a new police chief after John Nettles announced his plans to retire from the long-running ITV show. ITV has commissioned the series until at least 2012 and has vowed to continue without Nettles in the lead role of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. Nettles has already clocked up 65 episodes featuring 200 murders since the show began in 1996.
He is set to appear in two more series, each likely to run to eight episodes, before leaving the show at the end of next year. His swansong will air in 2011. ITV1 also has one episode in the can from last year's eleventh series.
He said: "It's the end of an era for me, and while I'm very sad to be handing in Barnaby's police badge, he has solved nearly 200 murders, which I think meets the targets of modern policing. I wish my successor, whoever he or she is, the very best."
ITV drama commissioning director Laura Mackie said: "John has been instrumental in creating a much loved character and a hugely successful long running series for ITV.
"He will missed by us all and Barnaby will be fondly remembered as we move forward with the show, but we hope to work with John on other projects for the channel."
Producer Brian True-May added: "The brand of Midsomer is so strong that I am confident of its continuing success with a new actor."

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Deryn Lake, known to lovers of history-mystery as the creator of the John Rawlings series, had a broad grin on her face when we ran into her the other day. She had just signed a contract with Severn House who are not only going to continue the Rawlings books but are also baking Deryn’s new series which is modern and set in a small Sussex village where murder lurks behind every door. Well, not quite but almost. The hero is to be a trendy young vicar who will work with the police and sometimes get in their way, of course. Apparently these kind of books do very well in America so Severn House have very high hopes. Also perhaps a new vehicle for John Nettles?

Deryn was on her way to meet someone who could be of great interest to her in another field entirely. She wouldn’t say more than that except his name was Zebedee. But she did just mention that we must watch this space!

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Hot on the heels of Tom Clancy's foray into the digital world it was announced that best-selling novelist John Grisham, one of the few major authors whose books aren't sold in electronic form, is close to wrapping up an agreement with Bertelsmann AG's Random House publishing arm that will make all 22 Grisham titles available in all e-book formats, including for Inc.'s Kindle reader.
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WH Smith is poised to corner the airport market as it enters into a contract with BAA that will see all the airport operator's book stores operated by the retailer. There will be a phased programme of store hand-overs to WH Smith, beginning on March 1 in Terminals 2 and 4 at Heathrow. I wonder what the impact this will have on book sales by having one giant retailer in charge, especially in today's publishing climate?
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On the Crime & Investigation Digital Channel: Killer Couples, internationally best-selling crime novelist Mark Billingham explores this horrific but fascinating phenomenon, looking at the crimes and motivations of four very different killer couples.
THE BUTLER AND HIS APPRENTICE:The case of Hall and Kitto is perhaps the most incredible crime story. It includes elaborate cons, daring jewel thefts and five brutal murders, all committed by flambouyant fake butler Roy Hall and his accomplice Michael Kitto. Mark goes in seach of some sense amongst the madness. This will be transmitted on Sunday 15th Feb 2009 9.00 pm
THE WANNABE BONNIE & CLYDE: Lee Whiteley and Debbie Taylor, real-life natural born killers. Alone they were just two young petty criminals but together in December 2001 they began a three-week orgy of crime and sadomasochistic sex, ending with the fatal stabbing of a stranger on New Years Eve. Mark explores whether the temporary insanity criminologists know as folie a deux (the madness of two) can explain their behaviour. Sunday 22 Feb 9.00PM
THE RAILWAY KILLERS: In the 1980s John Duffy and David Mulcahy became two of the most prolific rapists in British criminal history before ultimately turning to murder. Mark learns how this terrible bond was forged in the school playground a decade before and how John Duffy’s loyalty kept his friend out of prison for more than ten years.
THE MOORS MURDERS: Myra Hindley and Ian Brady are possibly the most infamous murderers of twentieth century Britain. Yet the question remains: how did this young couple go from first date to the abduction, rape and murder of children in just two years?
You can find the programmes on Sky 553 / Sky HD 555 / Virgin 237

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