- Manjinder Virk will play pathologist Dr Kam Karimore in ITV police drama
- It is the first significant role for an ethnic minority actor in the TV show
- It is four years since a producer said it was 'the last bastion of Englishness'
- Brian True-May said show 'wouldn't work' with ethnic minority characters
- His comments caused a race storm that left ITV 'shocked and appalled'
Midsomer Murders is to have its first regular Asian character in its 18th series, four years after the drama's producer said the programme 'wouldn't work' with ethnic minority characters.
Manjinder Virk will play pathologist Dr Kam Karimore in the ITV police drama. Although there have been Asian actors in cameo parts, this is the first significant role for an ethnic minority actor.
In 2011, executive producer Brian True-May described the show as the 'last bastion of Englishness' because it had no black or Asian characters.
Gwilym Lee, Manjinder Virk and Neil Dudgeon (pictured left to right) will star in the upcoming season of Midsomer Murders
He said the show 'wouldn't work' if there was racial diversity among its cast. Mr True-May was suspended as a result of his comments and he later quit.
The long-running crime drama is set in the quiet countryside village of Midsomer where DCI John Barnaby investigates a string of murders.
Executive producer Jo Wright said Dr Karimore will cause DS Nelson, played by Gwilym Lee, 'trouble in more ways than one.'
Midsomer Murders began in 1997 and is watched by more than 6million viewers a week.
True-May said at the time the programme just doesn't 'have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn't be the English village with them. It just wouldn't work.
'Suddenly we might be in Slough. Ironically, Causton (one of the main centres of population in the show) is supposed to be Slough.
'And if you went into Slough you wouldn't see a white face there. We're the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.'
ITV said at the time that it was 'shocked and appalled' at the sentiments.