The Ballad if Midsomer County is the third episode of the seventeenth series of the popular ITV crime drama Midsomer Murders and first aired 11th February 2015.


Could a ballad made famous by late, lamented folk singer Johnny Carver be an inspiration for murder? Did someone want to kill Toby Winning for threatening to take the Lower Crosby Folk Festival away from Midsomer – or is the true motive something hidden for 20 years?


Folk festival organizer Toby Winning is found dead, his head held down in a bowl of water also containing eels and boiled eggs. His estranged wife Alice seems unconcerned, unlike co-organizer Brian Grey, who, with Toby, had been planning to move the festival from Lower Crosby to London - to the annoyance of local businessmen including pub landlord Frank Wainwright and sound engineer Danny Carver. Danny is also angry when his daughter Melody takes to the stage playing the guitar once owned by his brother Johnny, a famous folk singer who shot himself. Visiting musician Jay Templeton seems keen to help Melody's career but was expecting something from Toby. Two more deaths follow, both in the manner of murders in a local folk song and to solve them Barnaby must discover the importance of Johnny's lost recording of the Ballad of Midsomer County.



Body Count

Prior to the Episode

In the Episode

Body Count Notes

  • The eggs, the live eels, the roses and the juniper tree are part of the lyrics of "The Ballad of Midsomer County", song written in the episode by Johnny Carver. The murderer not only inspired from the lyrics of the song to commit the killings, but also echoed the death of the first victim, Johnny.

Supporting Cast

Episode Images





Sarah hears a song and comes in the living room where John is with Betty
Sarah Barnaby: That's not the breakfast song. (Sykes barks disapproving) (to Sykes): Don't you start.
Stereo: Take a shot at love. Take another, take a lover.
Sarah Barnaby: What on earth are you doing?
John Barnaby: Broadening her musical horizons.
Sarah Barnaby (stops the music): This is awful.
John Barnaby: What do you mean awful? That's our song in case you've forgotten.
Sarah Barnaby: That is not our song.
John Barnaby: You said it was your favourite.
Sarah Barnaby: When?
John Barnaby: At the Fresh's Ball.
(Sarah gets serious, Sykes whines and John realises what he said)
John Barnaby: Which I didn't go to with you...
Sarah Barnaby (coldly): Well, whoever you did go with, she certainly left an impression.



Sarah Barnaby (opens the front door to Charlie): John's forgotten our song.
Charlie Nelson: OK.
Sarah Barnaby: He does remember the favourite song of his old girlfriend, though. But when it comes to me - his wife, the mother of his child - he draws a blank.
Charlie Nelson (to John): Would this be a good time to tell you we got a print off the bowl? Alice Winning.
John Barnaby: Let's go and see what she has to say. (to Sarah): I'll be home later.
Sarah Barnaby: Try not to forget.



Sarah hears the stereo playing and comes in the living room where she finds John
Stereo: It wasn't easy when we started out
John Barnaby: And you thought I'd forgotten our song.
Sarah Barnaby: Well, you had forgotten our song.
John Barnaby (a bit shyly): But then I remembered. And not only did I remember, I got the original vinyl. Signed as well.
Sarah Barnaby: You went to so much trouble. Thank you. (kisses him)
Charlie Nelson (to both): You're going to be late.
John Barnaby: Car keys! (he exits)
Charlie Nelson (about John): He's quite the romantic, isn't he?
Sarah Barnaby: He certainly is.
Charlie Nelson: It couldn't have been easy tracking down an original copy like that.
Sarah Barnaby: Well, he can be very resourceful.
Charlie Nelson: That wasn't your song, was it?
Sarah Barnaby (whispers): It's not even close.



The following actors and actresses who appeared in this episode have also appeared in the following episodes

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