Fit For Murder Interviews: Jane Wymark

Title: Midsomer Murders
Episode: 1308 Fit For Murder
Interview: Jane Wymark
Network AU: ABC1
Network UK: ITV
Airdate AU: unknown
Original airdate UK: Wednesday 2 February 2011
Comments: can be made here >>

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Interview: Jane Wymark as Joyce Barnaby: As Joyce on Midsomer Murders, Jane has spent most of her time burning toast in the kitchen or helping out at village fetes. But her role as Barnaby’s wife forms the anchor of the series.

So when John Nettles decided to leave the series after 14 years, Jane was one of the first people he told.

She explains:  “John and I have been talking about him leaving for a long time, it hasn’t come out of nowhere. When he said he felt it was the right time, I agreed. Enough is enough.”

Jane’s pivotal role in the series is to show the sharp contrast between the strange characters and events in Midsomer and Barnaby’s stable home life.

“Domestic life is harder than it looks to do while saying your lines,” she says. “Bustling is an underrated skill and I always notice when it’s done badly. It drives me mad when I’m watching TV and I spot something like there’s no coffee in the cup.

“Joyce and Tom’s marriage has evolved and they’ve become a bit sparkier. Joyce is not afraid to put her foot down or speak her mind, and in the final episode even gets Tom to spend a weekend in a spa. Of course, there’s a murder, so he escapes!

Adds Jane: “Joyce is a supporting character but I’ve also had a few chances to get out of the kitchen and into the action. There was one episode where Joyce was a judge in the best kept village competition and all the other judges got murdered, and another when Joyce is singing in a choir and she receives a death threat.”

Filming the final episode was emotional as Jane said a tearful goodbye to the cast and crew.

“I’ll miss the wonderful atmosphere on set and all the team, especially John and Laura Howard, who played my daughter Cully.  She’s become like a real daughter to me and takes me shopping.

“But I’m relieved that I don’t have to be the nicest person in the world any more. Joyce is very kind and caring, there’s no malice in her at all and she doesn’t indulge in gossip. That’s a heavy burden to carry sometimes. Now I want to be an evil character with no redeeming features or play someone who’s a great cook, as Joyce is so awful.”

The daughter of 1960s actor Patrick Wymark, Jane’s TV credits include Poldark, Rob Roy, Between the Lines, Lovejoy, A Touch of Frost, Chalkface, Pie in the Sky and  Doctors.  Jane will be seen from this February in Racing Demon, one of three plays in the David Hare Season at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.

She lives in London with her husband Paul, who works for the British Council, and has two grown-up sons.  In her spare time she teaches drama workshops and enjoys singing and yoga.

Source: ITV

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