The gratuitous violence against women in crime dramas has infuriated critics for years, with accusations that female corpses far outweigh the men.Not so in Midsomer Murders, its star has claimed, after he insists it is an equal opportunities show.Neil Dudgeon, who has played DCI John Barnaby for seven years, has dismissed the criticism levelled at “Scandi noir and its dark British equivalents”, insisting their preference for murdering women did not extend to Midsomer.”We’ll bump off anybody on Midsomer Murders, we’re not at all choosy,” he told the Radio Times. “We wouldn’t do anything bad to an animal, and certainly not to children, but otherwise, we’re very equal ops murderers.” Asked whether television crime drama had changed much throughout his career, the 57-year-old actor said: “Today you’ve got to have several murders and serial killers. “When I was a boy, watching Z Cars and Softly, Softly, they might have a bit of burglary, or shoplifting. “Now, if there were aliens who wanted to find out about our civilisation by watching television, they’d think half the planet spends all its time trying to figure out how to kill the other half.” Neil Dudgeon, centre, as DCI Barnaby in Midsomer Murders The torture of Elizabeth Debicki’s character in The Night Manager caused controversy Asked whether society was “scarred by all that killing” on screen, he added: “Nobody is watching Midsomer Murders and thinking, ‘Oh, that guy was on the roof of his castle when he saw a headless horseman and fell to his death from the roof… My God, that could have been me!’ Dramas including The Fall, The Bridge, and The Night Manager, have faced criticism for the level of violence against women shown on screen. Midsomer Murders has faced no such difficulties, building a dedicated fan club over its 20 years on screen and noted for its extraordinary death toll in the otherwise peaceful countryside. Gillian Anderson in The Fall “Or seeing people who are supposed to have been kidnapped by aliens and entombed in plastic shells with goo inside. No one thinks, ‘That could happen to me when I’m walking the dog!'” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.