‘Midsomer’ dream for ZDF

Brit crimer nabs big German ratings

BERLIN — Forget the forensics-fueled plots of “CSI” and “Bones.” In Germany, British series “Midsomer Murders,” and its steely-eyed Det. Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (played by John Nettles) has been enjoying rollicking summer ratings with its old-fashioned and darkly humorous mysteries.

Set in the lovely yet fictional quintessentially English county of Midsomer, the long-running ITV series has found diehard fans in Germany, where the skein has continued to top the ratings in its primetime Thursday slot on pubcaster ZDF.

The July 21 episode, “Blood Wedding,” attracted 4.72 million viewers and an average 16.5% market share, the highest ratings of the day.

By contrast, some 2.84 million tuned in for “CSI” and 2.69 million for “Bones.” Even RTL’s own hit Autobahn cop show “Alarm for Cobra 11” was no match for the Blighty series, attracting 3.15 million for an 11.3% share.

The previous week, “Midsomer Murders” drew 4.74 million and a 16.3% share, again scoring the best ratings on July 14 and again thrashing the competition: “Alarm for Cobra 11” attracted 3.38 million, “CSI” drew 2.81 million and 2.68 million turned out for “Bones.”

It was a similar picture the week before that as 4 million viewers watched “Midsomer Murders” on July 7, again putting ZDF at the top of the ratings.

While reruns on RTL may have helped “Midsomer Murders,” the show’s huge popularity is undeniable.

But the flashier U.S. detective shows won’t get a break: ITV’s new season of “Midsomer Murders” has yet to reach Germany.

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