Thursday, 16 January 2014


Death in Paradise, the highly popular BBC One crime comedy drama launched in 2011, came back this week for a third 8X60-minute series of Caribbean Cluedo.

« I'm not here to take his place, you know, Camille. I'm not here to be him. »

Created by Robert Thorogood, Death in Paradise is set on the fictional Saint Marie island and actually filmed in the French overseas region of Guadeloupe. It stars Ben Miller as Detective Inspector Richard Poole and French actress Sara Martins as Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey. Danny John-Jules (Officer Dwayne Myers) and Gary Carr (Sergeant Fidel Best) return. Don Warrington (Commissioner Selwyn Patterson) and Élizabeth Bourgine (Catherine Bordey) are back too.

In April 2013, it was announced that Ben Miller would leave Death in Paradise during series 3 and that he would be replaced by Kris Marshall (Lightfields, My family) as Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman. In the series' premiere, written by Robert Thorogood and directed by Cilla Ware, an university reunion party attended by Richard comes to an abrupt end with a murder. DI Goodman arrives from London to help Camille and the Honoré police on a very sensitive case.

« London speaks very highly of him. »

The grumpy yet likeable Richard Poole deserved a better send-off than this inelegant exit and the case resolution is rather far-fetched. However it is very smart to bring a radically different sleuth. The disheveled  and casually dressed DI Humphrey Goodman is a bumbling but brilliant detective, part Jacques Clouseau, part Columbo. Kris Marshall manages to do well in this weak transitional episode, given that Ben Miller set the bar very high.

Although it's not unusual for a TV series to survive a lead/character change, Poole and his great interaction with Camille will be missed. Death in Paradise has an ingenious formula for fun escapism: murder mysteries under the sun, splendid locations, humour, guest stars (here Helen Baxendale, Mark Bazeley, etc.) and an excellent regular cast. Next week will be crucial after the return of this favourite amongst detective drama buffs with an average of 7.1m viewers.

Death in Paradise is produced by Red Planet Pictures for the BBC and exec produced by Tony Jordan and Belinda Campbell. Tim Bradley is the producer. It is filmed with the support of the Region of Guadeloupe and the Film commission of Guadeloupe. In France the first two series are available on DVD from Koba Films since the end of last year.

The soundtrack includes ska and reggae standards and original music by British composer Magnus Fiennes (Spoilers) (Spoilers)

See also: (Series 2 DVD review) (Series 1 DVD review)

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