The producer of long running Midsomer Murders has defended the long running ITV series after criticism of its plot lines.
The programme, which first aired in 1997, has been panned by critics for presenting too negative an image of English village life.
Countryside Together, which was originally formed to protest at the Labour Government's Hunting Bill, has lodged a formal complaint to OFCOM.
The complaint states :
"Its is the unequivocal opinion of Countryside Together that the plot lines of this pitiful programme is directly responsible for a mass evacuation from Middle England that compares with the worst excesses of the Highland Clearances and the Irish Potato Famine.
"Midsomer Murders portrays a typical English village as the murder capital of the world and overall paints a very bleak picture of what we like to think of as a valuable national treasure".
Co creator and producer of the series, Brian True-May, laughed at the CT's claims and suggested that the less than idyllic image presented by the programme has actually benefited country life.
"Far from having a detrimental effect on the countryside, I would propose that Midsomer Murders has encouraged an influx of newcomers into green areas as our plot lines have shown a different side of village life. Our viewers are often pleasantly surprised by the seamier side of life in Midsomer which is in direct opposition to the traditional perception of tea dances, whist drives and Women's Institutes.
"I doubt very much if the series would have been half as popular if it had been called 'Midsomer Sheep Rustling' or 'Midsomer Breaking and Entering'."