A PLAN to put up plaques on buildings used in TV’s Midsomer Murders could be rejected after locals were reminded that 'Midsomer isn't real'.

Conservation officers in Oxfordshire say commemorating the spots used in the long-running ITV detective programme overshadows the area's REAL history.

The plaques were initially suggested as a plan to boost tourism in the historic town of Thame, used for filming.

But conservation officers say it takes things a step too far and that the plaques would 'harm the character' of listed buildings. 

'The market town of Thame is historically significant in its own right and not as the set of a television programme.'

DCI Tom Barnaby, played by John Nettles, started to solve murders across the fictional Causton and its surrounding villages from 1997. DCI John Barnaby, played by Neil Dudgeon, took over in 2011 after his on-screen cousin retired.

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Filming has taken place in the chocolate box locations of Thame, Wallingford, Dorchester-on-Thames, Warborough, Henley and Watlington in south Oxfordshire with walking tours set up to capitalise on the programme’s popularity.

But conservation officers delivered a withering assessment of the proposed plan to celebrate the cult show with red plaques.

Swindon Advertiser:

Thame town council wants to fix the plaques onto the Grade II* listed Spread Eagle Hotel in Cornmarket Street and Swan Hotel in Upper High Street. 

It also wants to put them on four Grade II listed buildings, including Thame Town Hall and Museum, and a chocolate shop. Those four are Grade II listed.

The council believes the plan would have ‘a positive impact on the vibrancy and vitality of the town’.

But conservation officers disagree. They said: “Whilst the visitor may wish to ‘arrive in Midsomer’, it is important to also recognise that Midsomer is not real and that the market town of Thame is historically significant in its own right and not as the set of a television programme.

“A number of opportunities exist to highlight the use of various buildings in the filming of the series, but officers do not consider the application of a physical marker on buildings to be an appropriate way to do this.”

The Oxfordshire Blue Plaques scheme also said it could not support the project. It said Thame's 'unspoilt and authentic character...must surely be the main attraction for most tourists rather than the precise identification of the sites'.