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A VAT inspector goes missing as he hunts for an illicit cider still responsible for brewing The Beast, a potent local hooch. At the Midsomer Abbas spring fayre which celebrates its friendship with Midsomer Herne, Barnaby and Jones sample the local cider, while temperance preacher Norman Grigor calls on residents to repent of their drunken ways. Suddenly, Barnaby is violently ill as the body of missing man Peter Slim is found floating in the cider vat. Meanwhile Samuel Quested (Warren Clarke), the traditionalist mayor of Midsomer Abbas, seeks to revive the ancient rite known as 'The Stag.'
A VAT inspector goes missing as he hunts for an illicit cider still responsible for brewing The Beast, a potent local hooch. At the Midsomer Abbas spring fayre which celebrates its friendship with Midsomer Herne, DCI Barnaby and DS Jones sample the local cider, while temperance preacher Norman Grigor calls on residents to repent of their drunken ways. Suddenly, Barnaby is violently ill as the body of missing man Peter Slim is found floating in the cider vat. Whilst temperance campaigners, led by fervent, recovered-alcoholic parson Norman Grigor, protest against the Midsomer Abbas May Festival, the body of Peter Slim, a revenue inspector investigating illicit stills, is found dumped in a cider vat. The murder weapon, an apple tree harvester which shook him to death, belongs to boozy cider mill owner Anthony Devereux, a man with something to hide though he denies murder. Then Barnaby discovers a secret connecting Slim to a village girl and a party to that secret, the Reverend Conrad Walker,is murdered. As pub landlord Samuel Quested leads the villagers in the revival of an old fertility and after discovering Rev. Walker’s badly beaten body in his church, Barnaby and Jones find themselves in peril during the night of the stag.
- Neil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby
- Jason Hughes as DS Ben Jones
- Fiona Dolman as Sarah Barnaby
- Tamzin Malleson as Kate Wilding
- Warren Clarke as Samuel Quested
- Francis Magee as Smudgepot
- Ian Peck as Wilberforce
- Bernard Lloyd as Byron Street
- Greg Hicks as Rev Norman Grigor
- Beatrice Comins as Evelyn Grigor
- Niamh Quinn as Prudence
- Denise Black as Chloe Baker
- Natalie Klamar as Esme Baker
- Andrew Havill as Rev Conrad Walker
- Richard Hawley as Will Green
- Stephen Marcus as Silas Trout
- Patrick Ryecart as Anthony Devereux
- Eleanor Yates as Alice Quested
- Jonathan Jaynes as Jonathan Oak
- Richard Bradshaw as Peter Slim
- Ian Mann as Cider Worker (uncredited)
- Jimmy Ryan-Shedden as Abbas Man (uncredited)
- Atul Sharma as Taxi Driver (uncredited)
- June Smith as Drunken Floozy (uncredited)
- Chris Wilson as Police Officer (uncredited)
- Kelvin Wise as Armed Response Unit (uncredited)
The following actors and actresses who appeared in this episode have also appeared in the following episodes
- Ian Peck - A Talent for Life and Picture of Innocence
- Denise Black - Painted in Blood
- Ian Mann - The Axeman Cometh and Death and the Divas
- Atul Sharma - The Dagger Club, The Incident at Cooper Hill and Send in the Clowns
Reverend Norman Grigor has gatecrashed a Cider Festival at the local brewery and is preaching fervently about the evils of alcohol. He even accuses the vicar of being a fornicator
"Tell me, Norman. If "the other" is so wrong, how come you've got six children of your own?"
"Six we know of, that is."
"I can assure you, Samuel Quested, that I made those children to glorify the Lord. The act itself gave me no pleasure."
"I'm sure your wife would say the same."