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Midsomer Murders star John Nettles looks unrecognisable in throwback to early career

The actor played DCI Tom Barnaby in the drama

Francesca Shillcock

Midsomer Murders may have seen a number of its detectives come and go throughout the years – but John Nettles' turn as DCI Tom Barnaby remains a classic part of the murder mystery series.

MORE: Where is Midsomer Murders star John Nettles now?

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The actor appeared in the show for over ten years – cementing his name as a TV favourite. But prior to Midsomer Murders, the actor had a successful career in a number of other shows and films. Take a look back at his career, below – and you might be surprised at how different he looks!

MORE: Midsomer Murders star Neil Dudgeon opens up about his future on show

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John appeared in the drama for 14 years

John Nettles early career

After performing in amateur shows during university, John then joined the Royal Court Theatre and began his career on the stage. John went on to secure his first ever screen role in the American film One More Time. Just one year later, he landed a regular role in TV drama A Family At War – which aired for two years. But it was when John landed his role in Bergerac that he became a household name. John took on the titular character, Jim Bergerac, and played the role for ten years between 1981 and 1991. After Bergerac, John returned to the stage and completed many shows with the Royal Shakespeare Company, before securing his job on Midsomer Murders.

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John as Jim Bergerac

John Nettles later career

Alongside his stint in Midsomer Murders, John appeared in a number of other well-known shows such as Heartbeat and French & Saunders. His most recent role after Midsomer Murders was in 2016 and 2017, when he played Ray Penvenen in the second and third series of BBC drama Poldark.

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John appeared in seasons two and three of Poldark

John Nettles in Midsomer Murders

John played the role of DCI Barnaby until 2011 and was subsequently replaced by Neil Dudgeon. At the time, the actor opened up about his decision to leave to the Telegraph. He explained: "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 added: "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."

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