Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

image for Midsomer Murders Race Row: Characters Recast By Computer Tech
New extra in Midsomer Murders.

Midsomer Murders producers have turned to digital technology to alter two of the main characters in a bid to quell the growing row over the lack of ethnic minorities in the programme.

Central character DI John Barnaby's sidekick, DS Ben Jones, is to become an oriental while Barnaby's wife, Sarah, will be Afro-Caribbean.

The sudden changes were brought about after producer Brian True-May told a magazine there were no ethnic minorities in the show because it portrayed typical English village life. His comments immediately attracted criticism from race relations groups and political correctness watchdogs.

Said a show insider: "Computer technology was an easy and quick fix for us since it was too late to recast the characters and shoot the series again.

"It was a simple job to alter the characters' colour and features and to revoice them with voiceover actors.

"As the oriental sidekick, DS Jones is now quite inscrutable, uttering occasional, apparently obscure epigrams which, however, provide Barnaby with sudden insights into the case.

"Sarah Barnaby, from the West Indies, is fat, cheerful and very skilful in the kitchen. Her excellent saltfish and ackee with peas and rice will often be a great comfort to her husband during difficult times.

"It was important that we avoided cheap racial stereotyping and given the short time available I think fans will agree that we have created believable new characters."

Additional reporting by Juanita Juan of Col Juan News.

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