Death in Paradise (TV series)

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Death in Paradise
Alt=Series titles in holiday style passport stamp
Genre Crime, drama, comedy
Created by Robert Thorogood
Starring
Composer(s) Magnus Fiennes
Country of origin United Kingdom
France
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 24 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Matthew Bird
Tim Key
Tim Bradley
Location(s) Guadeloupe (France)
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Red Planet Pictures and Atlantique Production, in association with Kudos for the BBC and France Télévisions
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Original run 25 October 2011 (2011-10-25) – present
External links
Website BBC Death in Paradise

Death in Paradise is a crime comedy-drama created by Robert Thorogood and starring Ben Miller (Seasons 1-2), Kris Marshall (Season 3 -) and Sara Martins (all three seasons so far). The programme is a joint UK and French production filmed on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe.

After consistently high ratings during the second series, on 12 February 2013, Death in Paradise was commissioned for a third series by Ben Stephenson.[1] The BBC announced on 9 April 2013 that Ben Miller would exit Death in Paradise at the start of Series 3, while a new detective, Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman (played by Kris Marshall), would be taking over.[2] Series 3 began airing on 14 January 2014. On 28 February 2014, Death in Paradise was renewed for a fourth series.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

The plot centres on the character of straight-laced British policeman Richard Poole (Ben Miller), a detective from London's Metropolitan Police. He is sent to the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie to solve the case of the death of a fellow British policeman.[4] After solving the murder of his predecessor, he ends up becoming the local police force's new senior detective. This starting premise is repeated in the Series 3 opener, with Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) in turn taking over the position, after investigating the murder of Richard Poole.

Saint Marie[edit]

Saint Marie is described in Episode 3.3 as a "pretty island" that is "situated in the Eastern Caribbean Sea" and "one-tenth the size of its north-west neighbour Guadeloupe". This would make Saint Marie approximately 160 square kilometres (62 sq mi) in size, which is slightly bigger than Bromley (the largest borough in London). The location and name of the island suggests it is based on the real-world island of Marie-Galante, which has a matching size and location, although the real-life Marie-Galante is part of Guadeloupe and not independent of it. In the TV show, the fictional Saint Marie features a volcano, rainforest, sugar plantations, fishing harbour, and airport. Honoré, the principal town, hosts a leisure/commercial marina, market, bars, and restaurants, as well as the police station. The island is a British Overseas Territory, but approx 30% of the population is of French descent due to several changes of ownership, with the language still being heard frequently. The island's main economic ties are to neighbouring Guadeloupe and to the UK, with some ties to France. The island's main religions are Catholicism and Vodou, with several Vodou religious festivals.

Characters[edit]

  • Detective Inspector Richard Poole (Ben Miller): A British inspector assigned to the island to investigate the previous inspector's murder, Poole was instructed to remain on the island as the new police detective. Despite his distaste for the island and inexperience with tropical weather—to the point that he continued to wear his old suits despite their impracticality—he often showed a useful knack for making deductive leaps based on minimal information and random events. He generally formed a good bond with his new team despite the occasional personality clash (as opposed to his old role in London, where his colleagues threw a party after his departure). In the final episode of Series 1, Poole received news from the commissioner that his old job in London was still available; but, owing to his ability to solve near-impossible murders, the commissioner delayed the news until Poole had only a few hours to call the head office. He missed this deadline and became the permanent Chief Inspector of the island.
In Series 2 he grew slightly more flexible in his behaviour. After an impressive piece of work on Fidel's part, he personally recommended him for the sergeant's exam, on which he rather awkwardly offered Fidel encouragement. Notably, in Series 2, Poole briefly returned to London, but despite his distaste for Sainte-Marie, chose to return to be with the friends he had there.

After first arriving on Saint-Marie, he found himself a co-tenant with a small lizard which he named Harry, that wandered into his modest beach house. He had a good knowledge of forensic science and sometimes used his home as a makeshift lab improvising equipment to make up for the island's lack of forensic facilities. However, evidence and bodies normally have to be flown to Guadeloupe for examination, incurring a time penalty of half a day or more in investigations.

Poole met his end at the beginning of Series 3, when he was stabbed in the heart with an ice pick in order to prevent him revealing a case of identity theft he had uncovered during a reunion of friends of his from when he studied at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge 25 years previously. However, his murder proved ineffective, as the clues from his own investigation allowed his replacement DI Goodman to solve his murder and to unveil the identity theft, commenting that Poole had effectively 'solved his own murder'.
  • Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall): DI Goodman is the new DI assigned to Saint Marie in Series 3. He is brought in to assist in the investigation of the murder of his predecessor, DI Richard Poole, in much the same way Poole himself came to investigate the murder of the DI assigned before him. Unlike Poole however, Goodman volunteered for the assignment and was keen to come to Saint-Marie. He is married, but his wife Sally announced she was leaving him via answering machine message shortly after he arrived on Saint-Marie. He has now inherited Poole's beach house home and his position as DI of Saint Marie police. Unlike Poole, he has attempted to embrace the island culture rather than rejecting it, though he often mistakenly falls into tourist behaviour, and his dress marks him out as an outsider to locals. His approach to solving crimes is similar to Poole's, with a focus on the fundamentals on means, motive and opportunity. He obsesses over small details, possessing the ability to make a rapid series of deductive connections while appearing crazy. He is extremely clumsy, and a recurring joke is him tripping or having accidents to such a degree that his colleagues physically screen him from potential danger. He also mangles proverbs, a behaviour Camille also exhibited during Series 1 when she would attempt English sayings but would mistranslate key words with synonyms.
  • Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey (Sara Martins): A former undercover investigator before she was arrested during Poole's first investigation, she was assigned to the precinct because her cover was blown when she was arrested at the same time as a minor criminal. She is apparently highly decorated for her job and is regarded as the team's best investigator after Poole, often handling the computer side of things. Initially she and Poole did not get along, her French ancestry, openness about her emotions and faith clashing with Poole's preference for The scientific method and highly repressed nature. However, over time their relationship has became a friendship, and showed some hints of romantic interest. She was embarrassed but happy when she mistakenly believed her mother had set her up on a blind date with Poole and disappointed to find it was not the case. Indeed when he briefly leaves, she admits that she admires him considerably and is pleased when he willingly returns to Sainte-Marie. In the opening scenes of the first episode of Series 3, Camile is clearly devastated at the murder of Richard Poole.
  • Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules)—The older member of the original team, he nevertheless appears fairly comfortable in his role as a junior, showing a dedication to his work and a willingness to learn from Poole's and Camille's own raw investigative skills, generally serving as the team driver and point man when called in to investigate cases. He possesses a vast knowledge of and informal friendships with some of the island's milder criminal element. Dwayne cultivates his image as a more laid-back officer, e.g., working through the night to aid Fidel in fingerprinting work but allowing Fidel to take all the credit and revels in his bachelor ladies man lifestyle. John-Jules has acknowledged the character's naming similarity with his Duane Dibbley character from Red Dwarf.[5]
  • Sergeant Fidel Best (Gary Carr): The younger investigator, Fidel has an unseen but pregnant wife (who gives birth to a daughter in the Series 1 finale). He is described as the best organiser on the team, often being entrusted with collecting fingerprints and organising witness statements. He is arguably the most eager of the team, willing to go above and beyond what is asked of him, and also seems to be the most eager to get Poole's approval (working to impress the inspector, who appreciates Fidel's initiative). During Series 2, Fidel is studying to become a sergeant after being recommended for the exam by Poole in recognition of his fine work. He spends much of the latter half of Series 2 growing increasingly nervous and worked up and briefly considers not sitting for the exam. However, after encouragement from Myers, Bordey, and Poole (who gave him his lucky pencil), he sits for the exam and is informed that he has passed in the last episode of Series 2. In series 3 he is now a sergeant, though Dwayne is often covertly helping him grow into the role, such as when Fidel refused to pay a snitch his usual fee as it was against the rules; Fidel believed he successfully intimidated the snitch into providing the information free of charge, unaware that Dwayne has secretly paid him to comply to boost Fidel's confidence.
  • Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington): The police commissioner on the island, Patterson was responsible for assigning Poole to the island on a long-term basis. He likes to network with and admires the island's rich and powerful, and he has often demonstrated greater concern with political appearances than with solving crimes. He has on occasion ordered Poole to eliminate a man from the investigation despite his being the most obvious suspect, but he frequently accepts Poole's findings when provided with conclusive evidence. He is also willing to be manipulative, for example, by deliberately waiting until the last minute to inform Poole that he could return to London and then subtly interfering with Poole's efforts to do so, as he wishes to keep Poole (with his high rate of success in solving crimes) on the island. He does not operate from the police station but instead as part of the island's government and it is unclear how many, if any, other policemen are on the island as none have been shown.
  • Catherine Bordey (Élizabeth Bourgine): Camille's mother and owner of a bar, she occasionally provides a place for the team to talk over cases. Poole's relationship with her is strained, as she is French and very open with her emotions, in contrast to his very restrained stiff-upper-lipped British ways. She raised Camille as a single mother after Camille's father had walked out on them (though in reality she walked out on him as she judged him an unfit father) and they are very close with Camille spending most of her evenings and lunch breaks in the bar.

Note: The only other recurring characters were Aidan Miles, played by Adrian Dunbar, and Sally Goodman, played by Morven Christie. Aidan was a possible love interest for Catherine, before being exposed as a murderer by Richard. He appeared in Episodes 7 and 8 of Series 1. Sally was Humphrey's Wife, who came to the Island seeking Humphrey back after she had ended their marriage. Her voice appeared in Episode 1 of Series 3, and she actually appeared in Episode 8 of Series 3.

Appearances of main and recurring characters[edit]

Left-to-right: Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr and Ben Miller
Character Actor Years Series Episode Count
DI Humphrey Goodman Kris Marshall 2014– 3.1– 8
DS Camille Bordey Sara Martins 2011– 1.1– 24
Fidel Best Gary Carr 2011– 1.1– 24
Dwayne Myers Danny John-Jules 2011– 1.1– 24
Commissioner Selwyn Patterson Don Warrington 2011– 1.1– 13
Catherine Bordey Élizabeth Bourgine 2011– 1.1– 19
DI Richard Poole Ben Miller 2011–14 1.1–3.1 17
Aidan Miles Adrian Dunbar 2011 1.7-1.8 2
Sally Goodman Morven Christie 2014 3.1, 3.8 2

     – Character has a major role in the current series.

     - Character who is no longer featuring in the series.

Notes:

  • Sara Martins only appeared at the very end in Episode 1.06 due to an injury however she was still credited and therefore was still counted as a main character in the episode.
  • Aside from the main cast, the only actor to appear in more than one episode of the programme was Adrian Dunbar, who played Aidan Miles in Episodes 7 and 8 of Series 1, and Morven Christie, who played Sally Goodman, in Episodes 1 and 8 of Series 3.
  • Only Sally Goodman's voice featured in Series 3, Episode 1. She did not physically appear until Episode 8.
  • Episode count is as of Episode 3.8

Episode list[edit]

Three series of eight episodes each, airing in late 2011, early 2013 and early 2014, respectively, have been produced so far.

Production[edit]

Deshaies' church is right next to the fictional Honoré police station'.

The series has been filmed on the French island of Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles, mainly on the site of Deshaies (which doubles for the fictional town of Honoré on the fictional island of Saint Marie), with the help of the Bureau d’accueil des tournages de la Région Guadeloupe.[6] Ben Miller left the series at the start of series 3 as he believed he was spending too much time away from his family, his wife was unable to join him on the island during production as she couldn't bear the heat. Kris Marshall's family have on the other hand joined him on the island during the six month shoot and he is proud his young daughter has enrolled at a local school and is learning French.

Reception[edit]

The first episode received final viewing figures of just over 6 million, outperforming ITV’s celebrity reality series 71 Degrees North.[7]

Series 2 started with just over 8 million viewers[8] and a 28.8% share of the audience for the 9-10 pm time slot.[9] This was up by 1.3 million viewers, and 5% audience share, from the opening of the previous series and was, up to that time, the highest-rated episode of the drama on BBC television.

Series 2 enjoyed consistently high ratings, with overnight figures for the first four episodes all passing the six-million figure and the fifth only slightly missing out with an overnight rating of 5.97, which was still the highest-rated broadcast programme for the time slot with an audience share of 25.8%.[10]

DVD release[edit]

Series 1 of Death in Paradise was released as a region-2 two-disc set on 8 October 2012.[11]

Series 2 was released on three discs in region 2 on 4 March 2013.

Series 3 was released on three discs in region 2 on 10 March 2014.

US release[edit]

Series 1 and 2 are being shown in the San Francisco Bay Area on KQEH "Mystery Night" in 2013.[12] Series 1 aired in January and February 2013, Series 2 aired in April and May 2013, and then Series 1 began repeating on October 6, 2013. In the New England area, WGBX started airing Series 1 and 2 in 2013.

Theme song[edit]

The theme song is a Jamaican song from the 60s called "You're Wondering Now" written by Coxsone Dodd, originally recorded by The Skatalites and Andy & Joey in Jamaica. Later made famous in Europe by ska band The Specials and even later by Amy Winehouse as featured on some editions of the deluxe version of her album Back to Black. In the first episode of the third series, the original song recorded by The Skatalites is played at the bar.

References[edit]

  • All ratings are sourced from the BARB.

External links[edit]