DCI John Barnaby’s dog Sykes was one of the most popular characters on Midsomer Murders, but whatever happened to the cute terrier cross?
DCI John Barnaby’s dog Sykes was a Midsomer Murders staple for several seasons, but what happened to the cute little terrier cross? British detective drama Midsomer Murders underwent a big change in its fourteenth season. After the show’s main character DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) retired from duty at the end of season 13, he was replaced by his cousin DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) who arrived in murderous Midsomer fresh from the mean streets of Brighton in season 14’s premiere episode.
John was accompanied in his move by wife Sarah (Fiona Dolman) and their pet dog Sykes (also called Sykes in real life). An exceptionally intelligent terrier cross, Sykes was an integral part of the new Barnaby clan and John’s loyal sidekick. Sykes even had a few of his own Midsomer Murders subplots like in the season 14 episode “The Oblong Murders” in which John and Sarah hired a dog minder to look after him. After John and Sarah had a baby girl, Sykes didn’t appreciate the new addition taking attention from him and strategically hid the kid’s favorite teddy bear in protest in Midsomer Murders season 18 premiere “Habeas Corpus.”
Sadly, the Midsomer Murders season 19 premiere “The Village That Rose From The Dead” revealed Sykes had died of old age much to the dismay of John, Sarah and their daughter Betty. In real-life, Sykes’ owner and stunt dog specialist Gill Raddings noticed his hearing was starting to go and decided it was time for him to hang up his collar. After retiring from the limelight at the grand age of 13 – or 91 in dog years – Sykes spent his time relaxing and going for long walks with his humans.
Unfortunately, news broke in June 2019 the real-life Sykes had died too at the age of 16 – 112 in dog years. The talented pooch will always be fondly remembered as Barnaby’s faithful canine companion on Midsomer Murders and for his other acting roles, which included starring alongside Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Demon Street and appearing with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson in The Other Boleyn Girl.
In Midsomer Murders, John Barnaby and his family weren’t dog-less for too long. In the same episode the fictional Sykes’ death was revealed, John and Sarah adopted a terrier pup named Paddy after his previous owner was murdered by one of Midsomer’s many maniacs. Paddy the terrier pup helped fill the Sykes-shaped hole in the Barnaby family’s lives and is still appearing in Midsomer Murders today.