Midsomer Murders crimebuster Neil Dudgeon has told how he once took the law into his own hands – and saw off a gang of muggers.
Neil, 58, who stars in the ITV show as Det Chief Insp John Barnaby, took on youths about to rob him as he walked home with actor pal John Hannah.
Asked for the bravest thing he has done in real life, he said: “Probably the time I was with John. It was the early hours and we’d been out.
It was in the early 90s and Neil, then in his late 20s, recalled: “We were in South London and these lads appeared in front of us. I remember I bumped into this guy and I said ‘Oh I’m sorry…’ and realised he was muttering.
“I said ‘What? You want my money? You’re mugging us? You’ve got the bare-faced….’ I screamed in this guy’s face. I thought if ever I got mugged I’d kind of go ‘Oh take it, take it…but I didn’t. I went the other way.
“Next thing I remember was John over me saying ‘Dudge, are you alright?’ With me on the floor coming round going ‘Where are they?’ A mate of his had bottled me. They’d run off. I created a diversion so they could escape.
“So they didn’t get any money or anything. Then, I don’t know what we were thinking of… but we then thought: ‘We’re going to get them…’ so we went after them into this high-rise estate shouting for this gang. We were now really in hostile territory… [then we thought] maybe we should go home.”
Next weekend Neil is back on screen as Barnaby in The Lions of Causton as he solves yet another murder.
The drama, which began in 1997, has regular ratings of eight million.
Midsomer Murders – The Lions of Causton airs on Bank Holiday Monday at 8.30pm on ITV