Midsomer Murders and the ITV3 Generation

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eeb0e564c51ba8370576f5761e2081efI confess: I have a soft spot for ITV3, the ‘resting’ place of the elderly viewer. I love Endeavour, Foyle’s War, Inspector Morse and Lewis. Big fan of PD James’ and Ruth Rendell’s work in print and on screen. Not a fan of Midsomer Murders.

Living (temporarily) with an octogenarian makes me think a lot about the elderly. Not all old people fit into a stereotype, of course. Many are offbeat, fiery, questioning, and open-minded. But the Brexit vote has also made me think about other older people, especially the Daily Express reading contingent.  I am brought into contact daily with this filthy rag

Why is it that older people love detective dramas of the type I have listed? My thoughts:

  1. They are very British. English countryside, British actors. English towns and villages. English cars, mostly. Suits. Hats even!
  2. Easily identified characters. Idiosyncratic but not too weird, e.g., Morse.
  3. Old people seem to love characters who come in pairs (Lewis and Hathaway). The ‘buddy’ element.
  4. Often set in the past – or a present that doesn’t really exist (Midsomer Murders) caters to nostalgia factor plus sense that ‘things were better back then’.
  5. Crime dramas – very black and white in that there are good people and bad ones.
  6. Resolution. The bad guys are always caught, I think. Order is restored. All’s right with the world.

When age, infirmity and looming death/meeting one’s maker are on the cards, ironically, these murderous dramas offer a sense of safety and familiarity plus a chance to be indignant at the ‘goings-on’ (moral judgements) and behaviour of the ‘bad’ characters. It’s my belief that old people (some, not all, I must stress) do not like ambiguity and these reruns on ITV3 serve as a comforter.