The autocue was nowhere in sight as Holly Willoughby made her acting debut on Sunday evening’s instalment of Midsomer Murders – but fans were divided over her appearance on the hit show.
Better used to her long-running role as a presenter on ITV staple This Morning, Holly was stepping into less familiar territory while playing herself in the slow-paced crime drama.
Bemused viewers saw the TV regular make a fleeting appearance at a psychic convention attended by local sleuth John Barnaby, played by screen veteran Neil Dudgeon, and his partner, Sgt. Dan Scott, played by John Hopkins, as they investigate a murder.
A VIP guest at the event, Holly is seated on a throne and centre of attention as the weary detectives spot her after making their entrance.
‘Is that the queen of daytime?’ asks Scott, signalling to the presenter as she catches sight of them.
Cameo: The autocue was nowhere in sight as Holly Willoughby made her acting debut on Sunday evening’s instalment of Midsomer Murders
Who’s that? Bemused viewers saw the TV regular make a fleeting appearance at a psychic convention attended by local sleuth Tom Barnaby and his partner, Sgt. Dan Scott
Evidently not a fan of This Morning, the much older Barnaby retorts: ‘Gloria Hunniford? Are you sure?’
Fans were equally uncertain, albeit for different reasons, with many savaging the scene’s ‘forced and unrealistic’ dialogue as well as Holly’s presence on the show.
Taking to X, one viewer wrote: ‘Is that the Queen of Daytime? As if anyone would say that.’
While a second remarked: ‘Ah yes, top-quality realistic not-at-all-forced dialogue there ITV.’
A third joked: ‘How much did Holly Willoughby pay the #MidsomerMurders writers to get that line.’
While a fourth wrote: ‘Why why Holly Willoughby? Far better without as it felt it broke the 4th wall through using her – that inane grin she employs had no place in that episode with the other ‘real’ actors. Empty a new actor instead on set!’
However others were more charitable, with one commenting: ‘I’m actually quite enjoying Holly Willoughby occasionally popping up playing herself in the episode of #MidsomerMurders on STV right now.’
While another added: ‘Forgot @hollywills was going to be in #MidsomerMurders. Love it, can see her beaming.’
Getting involved: Better used to her long-running role as presenter on ITV staple This Morning, Holly was stepping into less familiar territory while playing herself in the slow-paced crime drama
The jury’s out: Fans were divided, with many savaging the scene’s ‘forced and unrealistic’ dialogue as well as Holly’s presence on the show
Guest of honour: Holly was a VIP guest as the Midsomer village of Angel’s Rise hosted its annual Psychic Fayre
Appearing on Wednesday’s edition of Good Morning Britain, Dudgeon explained the decision to cast Holly, despite the presenter having no apparent acting experience.
He said: ‘Well, she’s sort of a friend of the show I suppose – she’s a great fan of the show and we’re always looking to broaden our casting net.
‘She was great, she was thoroughly professional. I think she was a bit nervous when she first arrived. She’s playing a character called Holly Willoughby, I wouldn’t like to say that it’s herself.’
This isn’t Holly’s first time appearing on the drama as in 2021, she made another cameo appearance in one episode.
Last March Holly was stunned by Midsomer Murders stars Neil and Nick Hendrix during an appearance on This Morning when they asked if she wanted to be part of the show, as they knew she was a huge fan.
Neil told Holly: ‘We’ve all had a big talk about who we want to appear on Midsomer, and we decided we want Holly Willoughby to appear in an episode of Midsomer Murders very soon.
‘I’ve been speaking to people upstairs and they’ve been speaking to your people. Holly please, I am emboldened here to offer you a role in Midsomer Murders.’
Delighted: Holly spoke about her involvement in the show with Instagram followers
Holly immediately shouted ‘yes’, and was overcome with emotions after receiving such exciting news.
She added: ‘I’ve seen every episode since it started way back when. Are you serious?I mean, you’re going to have to kill me off really quickly as I’m terrible at acting.’
Reflecting on her appearance with Instagram followers on Sunday, she wrote: ‘This truly was a dream come true… Thank you to the whole team at Midsomer Murders for making me so welcome and really looking after me… I loved every second. Tomorrow there is a behind the scenes look at what we got up to on @thismorning and then Sunday 8pm the episode, The Witches of Angel’s Rise broadcasts on ITV.
‘Each year, the Midsomer village of Angel’s Rise hosts an annual Psychic Fayre in the vast and gothic Eddon Hall. Founded by the Saint-Stephens family in memory of their late daughter, the event attracts all manner of mediums, psychics and followers of the occult.
‘When a body is found surrounded by ritual symbols on the eve of the gathering, Barnaby must step into a world of self-proclaimed witches to find the killer.’