VIDEO
Midsomer Murders
Bantling Boy

Starring: John Nettles and Daniel Casey
Acorn Video
RRP: 12.99
AV0381
Certificate: 12
Available 11 April 2005


It is the big race of the season in Midsomer, The Causton Gold Cup. The local favourite is Bantling Boy, a horse owned by a syndicate led by Bruce Hartley. After a last minute jockey change Bantling Boy wins and Sam Tate offers to buy him. The syndicate cannot agree on whether or not to sell. Shortly after this heated debate Bruce Hartley is brutally clubbed to death. Barnaby and Scott investigate...

In Bantling Boy, what appears to be a complicated and long drawn-out plot transpires to be extremely clever with some excellent effects. I particularly liked the blood and horses hooves effect in murder one.

The first murder appears to be easily explained but for the second and third murders the perpetrator of the crimes introduces a slightly different modus operandi. The introduction of a gag reveals that the victims are not just being murdered, but ritualistically silenced.

It is always a refreshing change when Midsomer Murders uses a child as a lead character, especially so in this episode. It's also a bit of a gamble. The production relies a lot on whether or not the child actor is believable. In this episode Thomas Grant is extremely convincing in the role of Peter.

Due to the inclusion of video games in this episode, and their effects upon children's behaviour, I thought that Barnaby's end quote is poignant: "When killing becomes entertainment we all loose touch of reality."

Barnaby's daughter, Cully is still not having much luck in her on-screen acting career and features a lot more heavily in this episode (usually his on-screen family take more of a back seat).

Overall this is a very good episode, which will keep you guessing as to who did it. The ending may be surprising, but it is the process of elimination and reason that makes this episode so enjoyable.

Heather Simpson

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£12.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
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