The real reason why John Nettles left Midsomer Murders

John is now returning for a one-off special

Following the very exciting news that John Nettles is returning to Midsomer Murders for a one-off special, we have looked back on why the beloved actor left the show in the first place. It has been over a decade since John Nettles bowed out of the series after a 14-year stint as Causton's resident detective DCI Tom Barnaby, with Neil Dudgeon taking over as the new lead on the much-loved ITV drama. 

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

But why did the star leave the series in the first place? Now that the show is being repeated, we take a look into why John announced that he would only be making two more seasons of the show in 2009, before leaving for good in 2011...

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Chatting about his decision to leave to The Telegraph, John 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."

MORE: Midsomer Murders: where is the ITV drama filmed?

MORE: See how the cast of Midsomer Murders have changed throughout the years

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."

John left the series in 2011 after playing DCI Tom Barnaby for 14 years

Meanwhile, Neil who stars as Tom's cousin DCI John Barnaby has also discussed his future on the series and it sounds like fans don't have to worry about John moving out of the village - for now!

Chatting to Radio Times in 2020, he said: "I've been doing Midsomer Murders for… it’ll be ten years this year. I started in 2010. I started wanting to do it because I’ve always loved Midsomer Murdersand I've gone on doing it because – I suppose I still love Midsomer Murders, really."

Neil plays John Barnaby

He continued: "I've got no intention of stopping doing it. I don’t know what else I'd do. I’m in a very fortunate position. I think it's such a great show that, one always assumes – when you're an actor you always think, whatever job I'm doing, it's going to end next week and that'll be it, I won't work again. 

"But no, I think that as long as ITV wants to make it and people want to keep commissioning it, as long as people want to keep watching it, it's a great show to do." 

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