Saturday, 28 December 2013

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Detective Inspector Richard Poole, of London's Met Police, is assigned to the Caribbean island of Saint Marie. Except he hates the sun, sea and beach sand. Poole can't stand heat either though his perennial dark suits won't help.

His partner, Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey, is French and as spontaneous as he's uptight. He must share a modest beach house with a lizard. But when death comes to paradise, Richard Poole is the best to solve crimes. As long as he can get a cup of tea.

« La Manche.
- Yeah, that's what I said. The English Channel.
- Why is it English?
- I don't know really, but it's called the English Channel. »

Series 2 of Death in Paradise (Meurtres au paradis in French) is available in France on DVD from Koba Films since December 4. Launched in 2011, the BBC One hit crime comedy drama stars Ben Miller (Primeval, Johnny English) as DI Richard Poole and French actress Sara Martins (Pigalle, la nuit) as DS Camille Bordey. Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf) and Gary Carr return as officers Dwayne Myers and Fidel BestDon Warrington (Commissioner Patterson) and Élizabeth Bourgine (Catherine) are back too.

Death in Paradise was created by Red Planet Prize finalist Robert Thorogood (it's his first broadcast credit). Series 2 is produced by Red Planet Pictures with Kudos Film and Television, for the BBC. The first  8X60-minute series was a joint British-French production with Atlantique Productions and France Télévisions. Death in Paradise is filmed in the French overseas region of Guadeloupe (doubling as the fictional Saint Marie island) with the support of the Region of Guadeloupe and the Film commission of Guadeloupe.

« But... who'd want to murder a nun?
- Anyone who'd seen The Sound Of Music more than once? »

This is Caribbean Cluedo all over again for the "quintessential English" sleuth. The owner of a plantation is found with a machete in his back. Did a novice nun smoke her last cigarette? The world's most expensive tea is the key to a luxury clinic mystery. A pirate treasure hunt goes bad. Camille's best friend is poisoned and the husband of a strangled woman is Richard's former foe at the Met. Someone wants to frame a hurricane for the murder of a meteorologist. Will Richard go back to London and will Fidel become a sergeant?

« You do know about the curse?
- Yes. Although for the time being I have decided to eliminate all 400-year-old pirates from our enquiries. »

Stephanie Beacham, Michael Brandon, James Murray and Hannah Spearritt (who both played with Ben Miller in Primeval) and Julie Graham are amongst the guest cast of those old school but astute whodunnits. Imagine Murder, She Wrote with nicer locations and humour - thanks mainly to Miller and Don Warrington. No wonder why its ingenious formula for fun escapism brought Death in Paradise high ratings in the UK since its start, and made it a global favourite amongst detective drama buffs.

« Dwayne, Fidel. I want you to pick everyone up. Well, everyone who's still alive anyway. »

Koba Films releases the eight one-hour episodes of this second series in a 3-disc DVD set with the original dialogue track (available with optional French subtitles) and the rather unfortunate French dubbing. In April 2013 Ben Miller announced that he would leave Death in Paradise during its third series, due to arrive in January 2014 on BBC One. He's replaced by Kris Marshall as DI Humphrey Goodman. French fans can also enjoy the case files of DI Richard Poole in a DVD set containing the first two series.

The soundtrack includes ska and reggae standards and original music by British composer Magnus Fiennes.

Death in Paradise - Series One (French Region 2 DVD):

Saturday, 14 December 2013


Avril has a walk on a cliff near the seaside when a man falls. Before dying he tells her: « Pourquoi pas Martin? » She finds the photograph of a beautiful woman near him and asks for help to Commissaire Laurence. Later someone tries to murder her.

« Toujours aussi aimable, Laurence. Hein?
- Toujours aussi pignouf, Avril. »

Pourquoi pas Martin? is the fourth episode of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie ("Agatha Christie's little murders") with the Laurence/Avril detective duo in the late 1950s north of France. It is adapted from Agatha Christie's Why Didn't They Ask Evans? by scriptwriter Sylvie Simon and directed by Marc Angelo. Samuel Labarthe, of the Comédie-Française, plays the cynical, uber elegant, and misogynist commissaire Swan Laurence. Broken hearts columnist and wannabe reporter Alice Avril is played by Blandine Bellavoir (Maison close).

« Tout le monde a envie de vous étrangler, n'en doutez pas. Seulement là quelqu'un l'a fait sans hésiter. »

There's now a TV set in Laurence's office and his secretary, Marlène (Élodie Frenck), is an avid viewer of Le petit train rebus interlude (« Oh zut! J'ai raté un wagon! »). The commissaire doesn't want to be disturbed during his picnic with a lady friend. Alice goes undercover, a little boy is threatened by a "goblin", danger's ahead and love is in the air... but not between our two sleuths. Pourquoi pas Martin? is overall a decent and fun episode of Les petits meurtres with the familiar cocktail of comedy and suspense, great dialogues, a little action, and Marlène even saves the day.

« Vous êtes une source intarissable d'emmerdements.
- Mais. J'ai rien fait.
- Une tête sans cervelle, un petit pois dans le crâne, un caillou dans le ciboulot. Un neurone et demi dans le carafon et encore je suis large. Une catastrophe ambulante. Mon pire cauchemar même éveillé. »

Samuel Labarthe delivers Laurence's deadpan one-liners (« Mais non, sa soeur. Personne n'a envie d'épouser une femme pareille. ») with this voice which makes George Clooney sound so cool when he dubs him in French. Blandine Bellavoir and Élodie Frenck are excellent. The guest cast is fine: Alix Poisson, Charlie Dupont, Didier Vinson, etc. Of course, the sets look lavish and the locations are gorgeous as always. Marc Angelo's direction often has the feel of a 1960s British TV series like The Avengers or The Saint.

Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is produced by Escazal Films with the support of Pictanovo, Conseil Régional Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the participation of France Télévisions, TV5 Monde and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Sophie Révil is the producer. The characters of Laurence and Avril were created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. The music is by film and TV composer Stéphane Moucha. France 2 will air Pourquoi pas Martin? on Friday, December 27.

Sunday, 8 December 2013


Based on the Joe Faraday novels by English crime fiction writer Graham Hurley, the excellent French crime drama Deux flics sur les docks (Blood on the Docks) came back this week on pubcaster France 2 for a third series of two feature-length episodes

« Je te dépose où?
- Comme avant. À côté d'un cadavre. »

In La nuit du naufrage, an adaptation of the book Deadlight, Capitaine Paul Winckler (Bruno Solo) is discharged from the hospital after his surgery and should be on sick leave. « Allez, fais-moi rêver. Je veux du macchabée, je suis en manque. » Instead he follows Capitaine Richard Faraday (Jean-Marc Barr) on the case of a skeleton discovered in the shipwreck of L'Accolade, a trawler sunk in a storm four years ago. This skeleton belongs to one of its crew members presumed swept away by a wave. Later, the Ukrainian security guard of a fish factory is found murdered at home with a baseball bat.

« Alors, Lulu. Toujours au chômage?
- Oui, mais c'est provisoire.
- C'est la vie qui est provisoire.
- Alors à la vie. »

Once again, Deux flics sur les docks successfully takes the atmosphere of Graham Hurley's Portsmouth-based DI Faraday novels to the Haute-Normandie port town of Le Havre. La nuit du naufrage is adapted by Olivier Prieur & Bernard Marié and written by Olivier Prieur. Bruno Solo brings his customary brilliance to the ever fatalistic and desperately cynical Winckler. Jean-Marc Barr's subtle portrayal of the empathic Faraday is given occasions to shine under the cliffs of Aquacaux.  

« Je crois que Winckler est sur le coup.
- Jusqu'à nouvel ordre Winckler est sur le coup des indemnités journalières de la sécurité sociale, Fabian. »

Liza Manili is back as Lieutenant Julie Fabian. Mata Gabin plays Lucie Dardenne, Guillaume Viry is police computer expert "Bill Gates" and Jean-Marie Hallégot is Faraday's deaf-mute son Lulu (« Alors Bernardo. On veut rêgler le sort du tireur fou à la place de Zorro? »). Emmanuel Salinger returns as local entrepreneur and mobster Bazza Swaty in a short but nice scene about Bazza's friendship with Paul. The guest cast is perfect, as usual, with a special mention to Thierry Samitier (Nos chers voisins) as Jacques Kilian and Jean-Pierre Becker as Bernard Le Saoult.

Blood on the Docks is produced by Gétévé (Zodiak France) and France Télévisions in association with B Media 2012 - Backup Media, with the support of Région Haute-Normandie. It is distributed by Zodiak Rights (The Returned, Being Human). Jacques Salles and Christian Charret are the producers. Muriel Paradis exec produces. Philippe Miller is the composer. Directed by Edwin Baily, the superb Deadlight caught 3.777.000 viewers (15.4 %) and the third place against NCIS on M6 and the French version of MasterChef on TF1.

Deux flics sur les docks/Blood on the Docks is shown in the US on MHz Worldview. Next friday France 2 will air Coups sur coups, adapted from The Take. (Ratings)

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