Death in Paradise (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Death in Paradise
Alt=Series titles in holiday style passport stamp
Genre Crime, Comedy-Drama
Created by Robert Thorogood
Composer(s) Magnus Fiennes
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 32 (list of episodes)
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
Original network BBC One
Original release 25 October 2011 (2011-10-25) – present
External links
Website BBC Death in Paradise

Death in Paradise is a British-French lighthearted crime drama television series created by Robert Thorogood, initially starring Ben Miller and Sara Martins and later starring Kris Marshall and Joséphine Jobert. Danny John-Jules also stars and has been present throughout the series. The programme is a joint UK and French production filmed on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom and France 2 in France.

In February 2013, after consistently high ratings during the second series, Death in Paradise was commissioned for a third series by Ben Stephenson.[1] Series 3 began airing on 14 January 2014. In February 2014, Death in Paradise was renewed for a fourth series.[2] The fourth series began airing on 8 January 2015 on BBC One in the UK. In late February 2015, the BBC confirmed that a fifth series had been commissioned, to air in 2016.[3]


A British detective, Richard Poole (Ben Miller), is assigned to investigate a murder on the fictional paradise island of Saint Marie in the Caribbean.[4] After he successfully finds the murderer, he is reluctantly required by his supervisors to stay on as the detective inspector (DI) of the island, solving new cases as they appear.[5] At the start of Series 3, Poole is killed, and maladroit London detective Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) arrives to investigate the death of his strait-laced predecessor. He then stays in the job as chief investigator on the island. The British detectives work alongside the local Saint Marie police team to track down murderers.


The show is known for its formulaic approach to the plot; each episode is roughly the same in both style and narrative structure.

Each episode begins with a pre-credits sequence showing the events leading up to a murder, and often the discovery of the body afterwards. This sequence also serves to introduce that particular episode's guest characters. The police force of Saint Marie are subsequently informed of the murder, and often preliminary investigations and interviews take place to establish the suspects. Photographs of the suspects and crime scene are placed on the whiteboard at police headquarters. As the episode develops, more inquiries, including background and financial checks, on the suspects take place.

Often, towards the end, the lead DI will have a moment of realisation, perhaps brought on by something someone says or does, or by an occurrence that has happened to him. In this moment the how, why, and who of the murder are comprehended by the DI, but are not revealed to the audience. The suspects are then all gathered together, and the DI talks through the evidence; often, flashbacks are used to show what happened. The murderer and their motive are revealed in the denouement of the episode.

Normally, each episode ends with a comedic scene or a celebratory trip by the police force to Catherine's bar. The final episode of each season has included a subplot wherein the lead DI is tempted to return to the UK by the prospect of a job offer or personal relationship, but in the end he decides to remain on the island.

The show very rarely strays from this general structure, which has now become synonymous with the show. However, it has not always been praised, with some critics believing that it restricts the show too much.[citation needed]


Saint Marie[edit]

Death in Paradise is set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, 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 about 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 island has a volcano, rainforest, sugar plantations, a fishing harbour, an airport, a university, approximately 100 public beaches and a Crown Court. It also has its own newspaper, The Saint Marie Times. Honoré, the main town, has a leisure/commercial marina, market, bars, and restaurants as well as the police station. The island is a British Overseas Territory, but about 30% of its people are of French culture, with the language still widely spoken. Its main economic ties are to Guadeloupe, the UK, and France. The island's main religions are Catholicism and Vodou, with several Vodou religious festivals.


Episode 3.7 is largely set on an islet just off Saint Marie; it is privately owned and relatively small. This episode was actually filmed on the island of Kahouanne, around 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) off the north-west coast of Guadeloupe where the series is normally filmed. It can often be seen in the background off a beach on Saint Marie.


Main article: List of Death in Paradise characters


Main cast[edit]

The original team: Left-to-right: Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr and Ben Miller
Actor Character Years Series Episode Countdagger
Kris Marshall D.I. Humphrey Goodman 2014– 3.1– 16
Danny John-Jules Officer Dwayne Myers 2011– 1.1– 32
Joséphine Jobert D.S. Florence Cassell 2015– 4.1– 8
Tobi Bakare Officer JP Hooper 2015- 4.5- 4
Élizabeth Bourgine Catherine Bordey 2011– 1.2– 25
Don Warrington Commissioner Selwyn Patterson 2011– 1.1– 17
Ben Miller D.I. Richard Poole 2011–14 1.1–3.1 17
Gary Carr Sergeant Fidel Best 2011–14 1.1–3.8 24
Sara Martins D.S. Camille Bordey 2011–15 1.1–4.4 28[a]

dagger Episode count is as of episode 4.8
      Character currently has a major role in the series.

      Character is no longer featuring in the series.

Recurring cast[edit]

Actor Character Years Series Episode countdagger
Adrian Dunbar Aidan Miles 2011 1.7-1.8 2
Morven Christie[b] Sally Goodman 2014 3.1,3.8 2
James Fox[c] Martin Goodman QC 2015 4.7-4.8 2

dagger Episode count is as of episode 4.8.



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. The site of the police station is filmed in a church hall.


Viewing figures[edit]

Regarding ratings, the series has gained popularity with every new series. The first series averaged around 5 million viewers, the second 7 million, and the 3rd and 4th 8 million.

Series 1 began with a premiere that received final viewing figures of just over 6 million, outperforming ITV’s celebrity reality series 71 Degrees North.[7] The rest of the first series performed well, with 5-6 million viewers every episode.

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]

Series 3 began with 8.69 million, at that time the most-watched episode of the programme so far. The rest of the series was, on average, the most watched to date, with consolidated figures of over 8 million for every episode. Episode 5 later surpassed the viewing figures for the premiere, receiving a consolidated figure of 8.84 million.

Series 4 premiered with an overnight rating of 6.9 million, the same as the premiere of series 2. However, consolidated figures showed that it was in fact the most-watched episode of the programme to date, with 8.92 million tuning in, and it was the second most-watched programme of the week in the UK.[11] Later the same series, episodes 4 & 7 both surpassed 7 million viewers in overnight figures, the first episodes to do so. Episode 7 also was the first episode to surpass 9 million in consolidated figures. However, figures for the finale took a significant downturn, receiving 8.31 million viewers; it lost 800,000 viewers from the previous episode, became the least-watched episode of the series and had fewer viewers than the previous series finale.

Critical response[edit]

The series has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The first series was praised for its refreshing style and setting. Kris Marshall's addition to the cast at the start of series 3 was particularly well received, with Rebecca Smith of The Daily Telegraph citing Marshall as a "winning addition" to the cast.[12] The series 4 premiere was described as "a little piece of escapism" and was generally praised.

However, critics have criticized the laid-back tone of the series, claiming it is too methodical and has nothing unique about it besides the setting. In his review of series 4, episode 2, Mark Monahan of The Daily Telegraph claimed that the series was "too tame" and said that "much of the peripheral dialogue [was]... comically stilted". He gave the episode two out of five stars.[13]


Red Planet Pictures were nominated and won the Diversity in a Drama Production Award for Death In Paradise. Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Don Warrington and Tobi Bakare collected the award at a ceremony supported by the BBC and ITV that took place on Sunday 15 February 2015.[14]

DVD release[edit]

Series Region 2 Region 1 Discs Extras
1 8 October 2012[15] 17 June 2014[16] 2 N/A
2 4 March 2013 16 September 2014[17] 3 N/A
3 10 March 2014 5 May 2015[18] 3 The Making of Death in Paradise on disc three. Seven short insights into the making of Death in Paradise.
4 2 March 2015[19] N/A 3 N/A


In the UK, all series were shown on BBC One. The first series was broadcast in late 2011. The second, third and fourth series were broadcast in early 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively; all series were shown in a 9-10pm slot.[d]

Series 1 and 2 were broadcast in the San Francisco Bay Area on KQED Mystery Night in 2013.[20] Series 1 aired in January and February 2013 and series 2 aired in April and May 2013. In the New England area, WGBX started airing Series 1 and 2 in 2013.

In Australia, series 1 - 3 have been broadcast on ABC One a few months behind original broadcast in the UK. Generally this was shown in a 7.30pm Saturday timeslot.

In Canada, all series have been broadcast on BBC Canada, Thursdays at 9pm. The last 2 seasons have been shows about a month after the BBC One showing.


Theme music[edit]

The theme music is an instrumental version of a Jamaican song from the 1960s, "You're Wondering Now", written by Coxsone Dodd, originally recorded by Andy & Joey in Jamaica. It was later made famous by The Skatalites and in Europe by ska band The Specials and later still 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 cover version recorded by The Skatalites in 1994 is played at the bar. It appeared on the official Death in Paradise soundtrack, released in January 2015, alongside other music from all 4 series.

In the French version, the opening song is "Sunday Shining" by Finley Quaye ("As the morning gathers a rainbow, I want you to know y'all, That I'm a rainbow with you.")


In January 2015, an official soundtrack compiling 26 songs from the first 4 series of the show was released by the BBC. It contains original music for Death in Paradise and already extant tunes.


The creator of the show, Robert Thorogood, signed a three book deal to write Death in Paradise novels featuring the original characters (consisting of D.I. Richard Poole, D.S. Camille Bordey, Officer Dwayne Myers, Sergeant Fidel Best and Comm. Selwyn Patterson.) The first of these, A Meditation on Murder (A Death in Paradise novel),[21] was published in January 2015. Early reviews were generally favourable, with The Daily Express in particular being complimentary, giving it four stars.[22]


  1. ^ Sara Martins only appeared briefly at the very end of Episode 1.06 due to an injury - her absence was explained on screen - her character, Camille, was away on a course in Paris. Therefore, she was still credited as a main character in the episode.
  2. ^ Morven Christie appeared in a voice-only role in episode 3.1; she only physically appeared in episode 3.8.
  3. ^ The same as Morven Christie, James Fox only featured in a voice-only role in episode 4.7; he only physically appeared in episode 4.8. He was not credited for his first, brief, appearance in episode 4.7.
  4. ^ Series 4, episode 7 was shown in an earlier timeslot of 8.25pm-9.25pm due to Eastenders Live 30th anniversary celebrations.


  1. ^ "Death in Paradise series three confirmed". Radio Times. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Plunkett, John (27 February 2014). "David Walliams to star as BBC bags Agatha Christie drama deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "BBC One - Timeline Photos". Facebook. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "BBC One - Death in Paradise". 26 February 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "About Series 1 | Death in Paradise | Alibi Channel". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Meurtre au paradis. L’industrie du cinéma teste la Guadeloupe - Abonnement". 16 September 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Death in Paradise launches with nearly 6 million viewers". Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "Top 30 Programmes". BARB. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Plunkett, John (9 January 2013). "Death in Paradise returns with nearly 7 million viewers". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Tuesday Ratings: Death in Paradise Continues To Perform For BBC One". ATV Today. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Top 10 Programmes". BARB. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Death in Paradise, episode one, review". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Death in Paradise, series 4, episode 2, review". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Red Planet Pictures". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Death in Paradise – Series 1 (DVD)". Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Death in Paradise: Season 1: Ben Miller, Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Various: Movies & TV". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "Death in Paradise: Season 2: Ben Miller, Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr, Elizabeth Bourgine, Various: Movies & TV". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "Death in Paradise: Season 3 (DVD): Various: Movies & TV". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Death in Paradise - Series 4 [DVD] [2015]: Kris Marshall: DVD & Blu-ray". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Death In Paradise | KQED Public Media for Northern CA". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "A Meditation on Murder (An original Death in Paradise story): Robert Thorogood: 8601410743390: Books". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Coates, Jon (30 January 2015). "Book reviews: January's crime and detective fiction investigated | Books | Entertainment | Daily Express". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 

External links[edit]