What happened to Tom Barnaby’s wife in Midsomer Murders?

Joyce Barnaby, who was DCI Tom Barnaby’s wife in Midsomer Murders, left the series after her husband’s retirement, as both actors quit the series.

Midsomer Murders is the hit English crime drama series which is based on the series of novels written by Caroline Graham.

The show is based on the life and investigations conducted by Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. The series first premiered in 1997, and this year marks its twenty-fifth anniversary.

For the first 14 years and 13 seasons of the series, it was fronted by John Nettles who played the title character of DCI Tom Barnaby, with Jane Wymark in the leading female role of his wife, Joyce Barnaby.

Therefore, when Barnaby retired to travel the world, he took his wife with him.

How many episodes did Joyce Barnaby appear in on Midsomer Murders?

Jane Wymark, who played Joyce Barnaby, was the lead female character of Midsomer Murders for the first eleven seasons of the series. She was a benevolent character who was loved by everyone, and she shared a daughter with Tom, named Cully.

The comical aspect of the character was that despite being a housewife, she could not cook to save her life, which was one of the running jokes in the show.

Similarly to John Nettle’s character, Wymark’s appeared on almost every episode of the series until her exit. In total, she appeared in 80 episodes, which is just one shy from the 81 episodes that John Nettles appeared in as DCI Tom Barnaby.

What happened to Tom Barnaby’s wife in Midsomer Murders?

Joyce Barnaby left Midsomer Murders following her husband’s retirement from the police force in order to travel the world with him.

The last episode that she appeared on was the season eight finale episode titled “Fit for Murder”. Since the episode mainly focused on giving John Nettles a fitting send-off, Joyce’s storyline was not that prominent in the episode.

This is as she discovered a dead body while she was trying out the floatation chamber when she and Barnaby were spending the weekend away at a spa retreat.

She then appeared for Barnaby’s birthday celebration, which is when he confirmed that he decided to retire from the force and would be spending his time with his wife travelling the world.

Due to this exit, there was speculation that Jane Wymark was fired in light of the decision by John Nettles to leave the show. This is as Joyce would not have a storyline outside of her husband.

But the actress Wymark has stated that this was not the case, instead, she suggested that the decision was mutual between herself and Nettles, explaining, “But John and I have been talking about him leaving for a long time, it hasn’t come out of nowhere. And I agree, enough is enough”.

Jane Wymark on leaving Midsomer Murders’ Joyce Barnaby

While it is still contested whether the decision for Jane Wymark to leave behind the character of Joyce Barnaby was wholly hers or had to do with John Nettles’ decision to quit after 14 years playing the role, Wymark did express relief in being able to shake off the character and the pressure that came with it.

In an interview with Birmingham Mail, she expressed her intention of future roles by sharing, “I’m relieved that I don’t have to be the nicest person in the world anymore!”

Going on to add, “I want to be completely evil now, a really bad person with no redeeming features and a terribly good cook!”

Did Jane Wymark retire after Midsomer Murders?

After her exit from Midsomer Murders, Jane Wymark lived out her intention to play a character that was different from her role as Joyce Barnaby. This is as she fronted the 2013 limited crime drama mini-series, Jo.

This series was premised on veteran detective Joachim Jo Saint-Clair who is part of the Paris elite Criminal Brigade, which is tasked with investing the city’s more challenging murder cases.

All the while, Wymark balances her singing interests with her career as a member of the chorus in the 2014 National Theatre Live production of Medea. This production marked her last acting credit as of September 2022.

Did Jane Wymark return to Midsomer Murders?

As part of Midsomer Murders’ twenty-fifth anniversary, as it first premiered on ITV in 1997, the series’ production company released a documentary titled Midsomer Murders: 25 Years of Mayhem.

The documentary featured the legends that made the series a classic in terms of British crime dramas. One of the returning former cast members was Jane Wymark, who reflected on her 14 years playing the role of Joyce Barnaby.

As such, Wymark returned to the Midsomer Murders universe, but not as Joyce Barnaby. But as the actor who played such a beloved character.