Midsomer Murders: an interview with Daniel Casey

By Neil Davey

Can you believe how long its been since Daniel Casey left Midsomer Murders? As Sergeant Gavin Troy, Daniel helped John Nettles solve 29 mysteries before departing for further success on stage and screen. With Gavin’s cases now the subject of a special DVD release, Neil Davey caught up with the actor
Daniel CaseyDaniel Casey

Cast your mind back to 1997. Tony Blair became Prime Minister. Chelsea won their first major competition for 26 years. Dolly the sheep was ‘born’. And, over on ITV, a fresh faced young copper called Gavin Troy was helping solve the first grisly death in Midsomer Murders.

It could, however, have all been very different, as Daniel Casey explains.

“In the books, Gavin is mid-30s, married, with a couple of children. He’s got ginger hair and wears a long leather coat and leather boots. He’s a bit of a Nazi, really!”

Happily for the then 24-year-old Casey, the decision had already been made to soften the character somewhat. “They cast me as younger and more naive, and I think that works much better. Although Gavin did have hang ups – homosexuals, old people, and he's every “ist” you could imagine – I think they were borne out of youthful ignorance.” Daniel laughs.

It was the start of a remarkable seven years, and 29 episodes, as John Nettles' sidekick, a time that Daniel clearly enjoyed immensely.

“I had a fantastic time,” he admits. “John and I got on really well, from the first day really. The first scene we shot, we had to drive up in a car outside a murder scene, stop, get out, have a bit of a chat and walk in the house. I drove up, I stopped, I got out, said my line... and all I could hear was shouting from inside the car. I’d parked about an inch from a wall and John couldn’t open the door. He was saying ‘ambitious little swine, isn’t he?!’”

The series had a number of benefits, from the regular work to the quality of the co-stars.

“The casts were phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. I got to work with Richard Briers, Richard Johnson, Alan Howard, Honor Blackman, Samantha Bond, all sorts of people.

“As a young actor you learn an enormous amount by watching people. Alan Howard’s delivery was phenomenal, I just sat and watched him. And Bernard Hepton was lovely. We stayed away doing that episode and I bought him a nice malt whisky and sat down and he told me stories about Alec Guinness and Smiley’s People and Olivier and all the greats. That was fantastic, just listening to his stories. I think that’s part of tradition, we do sit around in-between takes and tell stories and you become a part of this ‘acting family’. It’s lovely.”

After seven years though, Daniel decided the time was right to try new things. Having secured a promotion for Troy – “he made inspector against all the odds,” laughs Daniel, “he couldn’t even identify a piece of fruit in one episode!” – he decided to leave Midsomer behind and try new things.

“I was just aware I didn’t want to stay with the same thing for too long and I wanted to branch out,” he explains.

Since then, he’s been a regular on stage and appeared in series such as Steel River Blues, Doctors, The Bill and Silent Witness. It’s clear though that, even with all the jokes about how there can’t be anyone left to kill in Midsomer – “I’ve heard them all” – Daniel has very fond memories of his time on the show. Particularly, he admits, one particular death.

“My favourite one was ‘death by drinks cabinet’! That was hilarious. He opened the cupboard and the drinks cabinet collapsed on him! That’s genius...”

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  • Denise Wilson

    Posted: Sunday 07 September 2014

    I adore this series and can't get enough. Even re-runs which we have here in NZ as well as the new series with Neil Dudgeon. My granddaughter and I both love Ben too.. I have always been a fan of John Nettles work so he is sorely missed. However, we must move on and accept changes and I do enjoy Neil in his role. I saw him recently in an old episode of "Frost" - this lovely man has aged well I must say. The series still rocks - long may it continue.

  • betsy

    Posted: Wednesday 11 September 2013

    love all episodes and the character interactions. miss Troy, but love how Jones works in and becomes well seasoned with Tom. was disappointed when Troy comes to Cully's wedding, but there is no further conversation or visiting I always thought he had something for Cully Oh well keeping and peaking my interest!!!Would love to make a trip to explore...

  • Angela Raspberry

    Posted: Sunday 02 June 2013

    I started watching this series on Netflix a few weeks ago. Just finished season 8. I had read the books by Caroline Graham which is what caught my interest in the first place. John Nettles is lovely, the scenery is beautiful...you mean England isn't really like that?....the stories are well-done. Another quality show from across the pond!

  • Susan Pohl

    Posted: Tuesday 14 May 2013

    I have thoroughly enjoyed Midsommer Murders (via Netflix) and absolutely adore John Nettles (and his crusty exterior/brilliance) and Daniel Casey (with his sweet demeanor, hopelessly passing up clues.) It's been comforting for me to watch something set in such a beautiful country landscape with lovely, endearing characters. I will dearly miss Sgt. Troy when he departs the show, but for now am savoring every morsel.

  • Chris Snuggs

    Posted: Friday 05 April 2013

    Wonderful casting - Troy was the best sidekick - poor old Scott doesn't get much of a press - Jones under John B is soppier than with Tom - is that deliberate ... Neil D does his best, but it doesn't quite work ... I'd bring back Troy as DCI - he could pop in now and then for advice from the retired Tom ... GREAT STUFF!!!

  • Cranefly

    Posted: Friday 01 February 2013

    Love, love, love watching old Midsomer Murders. My favourite is the Killings at Badgers Drift with the doting, self serving mother and son who serve up those exquisitely modelled and lavish cakes...yum yum.
    Sadly I am struggling with the new Barnaby series as, for me, there is something quite empty about it...and, unfortunately, I think I am giving up... although the characters and acting (and the dog) are still great...it has no connective warmth.

  • tammie combs

    Posted: Saturday 19 January 2013

    i loved the movie mid somer murders really like when troy was in the scens it was so enjoyable to watch during our winter here not much to do but watch tv but this movie kept you on your toes you got to watch every moment of this movie very good entertainment this movie is wll said & well done & enjoyable

  • VTKAT

    Posted: Saturday 03 November 2012

    Working my way through the series from the very first installment. We don't get all of them here and I have loved those PBS or BBC have carried. Gavin Troy is my fav sidekick but they all have special qualities that John Nettles always seemed to appreciate. Up to Blood Will Out and off I go to watch

  • Dayna

    Posted: Friday 14 September 2012

    This is my third around of watch Midsomers from the beginning. I'm so addicted to this show too! I liked Daniel Casey, John Hopkins but my all time favorite is Jason Hughes! He is so loveable. I can't wait for the rest of the 'new' shows with Neil Dudgeon. I hope it ROCKS!

    Cheers!

  • Pearl Playdinn

    Posted: Monday 09 July 2012

    tsk awe~
    well, i guess now i DO expect his absence after 29 episodes.
    The show is really interesting.

  • Carolyn dreverman

    Posted: Friday 25 May 2012

    I am absolutely addicted to midsummer murders as is my husband we are up to series 4ep3 I love John nettles and Daniel Casey I might stop watching when they are replaced I'm up to 2001 I can't imagine anyone else playing their parts but we'll see my family comes from Scotland-England-and ireland I feel a closeness to the land and the wonderful scenery I'm also looking forward to series 3of downtown abbey

  • Rosie Becerra

    Posted: Sunday 12 February 2012

    I started watching MidSomer Murders a couple of weeks ago starting with the first season, first episode. I truely enjoyed Daniel Casey as Troy. They made such a good pair of "coppers" as they are called in your neck of the world.

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