Mismatched Bath detectives McDonald & Dodds are returning to ITV on Sunday 19 June in the first of four new standalone murder mystery films.

Crime drama's odd couple - played by Tala Gouveia and Jason Watkins - will also have a brand new boss to keep them on their toes: Claire Skinner is joining the cast as Chief Superintendent Ormond, an officer the Outnumbered star describes as "intimidating".

"I'm a huge fan of McDonald & Dodds so I'm delighted to be joining the cast as Chief Superintendent Ormond. Ormond is a quietly intimidating character so she'll be keeping McDonald & Dodds on their toes throughout this new series," said Skinner, below.

Claire Skinner ITV

"I’ve known Jason for years, we’ve been working as actors for about the same amount of time, so I know him a bit from work, but mostly I just run into him when we’re walking our dogs on the heath!" Skinner added.

"Tala and I did a children’s animation called Scream Street for a few years. So, it was a great cast, the younger actors were all great as well and we had a really good time.

"I was really pleased when I was offered Ormond – she’s a boss, she’s mysterious and there’s room for me to really create someone interesting there."

The first of the four new films, Belvedere, begins with the discovery of a young woman's body sitting in a deckchair in a busy Bath park, with a broad smile on her face.

Guest stars in this first outing include Alan Davies, Holly Aird, Catherine Tyldesley and Dame Siân Phillips. 

Dame Sian Phillips in McDonald & Dodds ITV

Tyldesley was excited to work alongside one of her idols in 89-year-old stage and screen veteran Dame Siân, above. 

"The whole cast was an absolute dream to work with but I’ve admired Siân since forever!" she said.

"She’s one of those actresses – I just aspire to be even a patch on her, she’s absolutely fantastic. I would stand at the back of the set sometimes, watching her work and it was like a masterclass, she’s just incredible. 

"When they told me that Siân was doing that role, I was a bit intimidated at first but she’s so warm and witty, you feel comfortable as soon as you meet her, and she’s a very generous actor with what she gives you on set."

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Gouveia declared working with Dame Siân to be the highlight of this series. 

"She’s brilliant, and so kind and professional. Her character is incredible – when I read her in the script, I couldn’t imagine who they’d be able to find to play her, but Siân was perfect. We were really lucky to get her, the audience is going to love her," she said.

Watkins declared her "a natural treasure", and said one of the best things about the show is the great variety of guest stars. 

"Siân was such a joy and brought real gravitas, keeping us all on our toes," he said.

"One of the great strengths of the series is that it can house lots of different types of actors, and it’s so great to work with these people."

McDonald & Dodds series 3 episodes

McDonald & Dodds series 3 consists of four feature-length episodes to be shown in ITV from Sunday 19 June. The episodes, guest stars and storylines are as follows:

Film 1 - Belvedere

Alan Davies and Catherine Tyldesley in McDonald & Dodds ITV

When a young woman dies in a busy park in broad daylight, McDonald and Dodds are called in to untangle the mysterious circumstances of her death. Who is she? How did she die surrounded by witnesses? And how is it possible that she is…smiling?

All roads seem to lead to Professor George Gillan, a linguistic anthropologist who lives in a rambling mansion with his eccentric mother, Agnes, whose 100th birthday is days away. They also meet single mum Kate Porter who is new to the area and clearly has secrets she is desperate to hide. 

DS Dodds is sure that the house has something to do with the murder, but in uncovering Belvedere’s history, Dodds also unearths secrets in his own past.

Written by Robert Murphy. Guest starring Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek, QI) as George Gillan, Dame Sian Phillips (I, Claudius, Keeping Faith) as Agnes Gillan, Catherine Tyldesley (Coronation Street, Scarborough) as Kate Porter and Holly Aird (Waking the Dead, Unforgotten) as Paula Monkford. 

Watch Belvedere on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 19 June.

Film 2 - A Billion Beats

Paul McGann in McDonald & Dodds ITV

McDonald and Dodds are sucked into the fast and furious world of Formula 1 after Bath’s famous motorsport dynasty, the Addingtons, report that their up-and-coming driver has died during a sub-3.5-second pit stop.

As an F1 fan herself, McDonald won’t let patriarch and team coach Archie Addington run rings around her, but when a significant someone from her past gets dragged into the investigation, she’s thrown off course.

But it’s one of Dodds’ specialisms that leads them to uncover the darker side of success and finally unravel the truth.

Written by Rob Drummond. Guest starring Paul McGann (Doctor Who, Holby City) as Archie Addington, Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale, Strictly Come Dancing) as Donovan Janaway and Ben Batt (Shameless, Domina) as Philip Henry.

Watch A Billion Beats on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 26 June.

Film 3 - The War of Rose

McDonald & Dodds episode The War of Rose ITV

When lifestyle influencer Rose Boleyn checks into Bath’s exclusive Ford & Flynn clinic for a nose job, the worst she is expecting is some backlash from her followers. But when the routine procedure goes horribly wrong and Rose dies on the operating table, the clinic’s bickering, soon to be divorced owners, Al and Mariel, are thrust into the spotlight.

In a case of social media vs reality, McDonald and Dodds must separate the fact from the fiction. Was Rose’s life really as glamorous as it looked? Or was it all an illusion?

Written by Kam Odedra. Guest starring Sarah Parish (Stay Close, W1A), Rhashan Stone (Strike Back, Keeping Faith), Nitin Ganatra (Masood in EastEnders), and Saira Choudhry (No Offence, Life). 

Watch The War of Rose on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 3 July.

Film 4 - Clouds Across the Moon

Joanna Riding in McDonald & Dodds ITV

On the dawn of All Soul’s Day, the body of a successful Bath businessman is found in a shallow grave in the shadow of the Glastonbury Tor. The detective duo’s first suspect is local artist Hector Ingham, although McDonald can’t help but be suspicious of the man who found the body, the mysterious Martin Silver - IT consultant by day, medium by night - who claims to be able to speak to the dead.

As increasingly cryptic clues come to light, one name keeps reoccurring in paper trails, credit card statement and on the lips of witnesses…that of Dodds himself.

Written by Robert Murphy. Guest starring Max Bennett (Poldark), Gerran Howell (1917, Young Dracula) and West End star Joanna Riding (Into the Woods).

Watch Clouds Across the Moon on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 10 July.

What is McDonald & Dodds all about?

If you like Midsomer Murders or Death in Paradise, you'll love McDonald & Dodds. 

Gently comic yet with a fiendish murder mystery at the heart of every 90-minute episode, McDonald & Dodds is the comfy pair of slippers of today’s TV crime series – and we mean that as a compliment.

In the first film, The Fall of the House of Crockett, driven young detective DCI Lauren McDonald is drafted up from London to solve what appears to be an open-and-shut case. However the inquiring mind and persistence of her assigned partner DS Dodds reveals that this is no robbery gone wrong. 

Three reasons to watch - and love - McDonald & Dodds

McDonald is initially exasperated by her partner’s old-fashioned and slightly odd ways, but they prove to be more useful than first thought. Despite her initial misgivings, the two form an unlikely team as they solve murder cases in middle England.

The first four films have featured a host of guest stars including Robert Lindsay, Joanna Scanlan, Patsy Kensit, Rupert Graves, Martin Kemp, John Thomson, Natalie Gumede, Cathy Tyson, Rob Brydon and Sharon Rooney.

Series 3 of McDonald & Dodds begins at 8pm on Sunday 19 June on ITV and ITV Hub. 

Watch the previous four episodes of McDonald & Dodds on ITV Hub and BritBox.