PARADISE CITY

Death In Paradise is mix­ing Caribbean sun­shine and London driz­zle for the first time. we join the cast on the set of the sixth se­ries, which sees DI Good­man school­ing his team in british cus­toms

Crime Scene - - ON SET - BY AN­DRE PAINE

Of all the TV crime dra­mas, the one se­ries that every jour­nal­ist des­per­ately wants an in­vite to the set of is Death In Paradise. Filmed on the Caribbean is­land of Guade­loupe, the BBC One rat­ings win­ner stars Kris Mar­shall as British De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Humphrey Good­man, who in­ves­ti­gates baf­fling cases from Honoré, the main town in the fic­tional British colony of Saint-marie. Would Crime Scene like to visit the set of Se­ries 6? Just as soon as we’ve dug out that wrin­kled linen suit and snorkel… As it turns out, the set is in not-so-idyl­lic South London. For the first time, over two episodes, the Honoré Po­lice team are vis­it­ing the British cap­i­tal on a mur­der case. Fol­low­ing a minibus jour­ney through Rother­hithe’s nar­row streets, our des­ti­na­tion is al­most as invit­ing as a Caribbean is­land: a cosy, his­toric river­side pub. “Wel­come to paradise,” an­nounces Mar­shall, as Crime Scene steps over the ca­bles, past the crew and on to the out­door deck of The Mayflower inn. “The tide comes in fast – it’s very Caribbean.” Al­though jet-lagged, Mar­shall is rel­ish­ing this rare re­turn home dur­ing film­ing. He even ad­mits a han­ker­ing to eat at a carvery, and for other sta­ples of British cui­sine. “When I come home from six months away, I have my first pint of Guin­ness and I’m like, amaz­ing!” he smiles. “But Humphrey’s been away for four years, you know. He’s def­i­nitely on home turf and I think that we play those beats.” Of course, it means the roles are re­versed: Humphrey is back in Blighty, while fel­low of­fi­cers Dwayne My­ers (Danny John-jules) and DS Florence Cas­sell (Joséphine Jobert) are hav­ing to adapt to for­eign weather and cus­toms.

“We have in­tro­duced Florence to the great British pub,” says Mar­shall. The Parisian ac­tress says that the re­stored, 16th cen­tury inn we’re vis­it­ing is “amaz­ing”, but is less happy at her ini­ti­a­tion into the de­lights of pork scratch­ings. “It’s just a night­mare, never ever again,” says Jobert, who’s hor­ri­fied by the salty bar snacks.

Jobert’s also strug­gling with the English weather, on what is a pretty mild sum­mer’s day, and even Mar­shall is clutch­ing him­self as he ad­justs to our cli­mate.

“I do feel my tan fall­ing off, lit­er­ally as I’m sat here,” he com­plains. When Crime Scene asks Danny John-jules what he misses about film­ing on Guade­loupe, his answer is sim­ple. “The is­land,” he laughs. “Yeah, the British weather does tend to hurt when I get back.”

Al­though the cast are clearly miss­ing the Caribbean sun, the pro­duc­tion team want London to pro­vide a to­tal con­trast to the beauty of the fic­tional Saint-marie.

“I want it to be cold, I want it to be rainy and over­cast – I want driz­zle,” con­firms ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Tim Key. Iron­i­cally, the show’s first ever episode saw DI Richard Poole (Ben Miller) ex­press a sim­i­lar long­ing for damp British weather: “that feel­ing on your face like a wet flan­nel”.

All change?

Fol­low­ing Poole’s mur­der in Se­ries 3, the en­dear­ingly clumsy Good­man was sent to in­ves­ti­gate and ended up be­com­ing his re­place­ment. With the ad­vent of Se­ries 6, Mar­shall has now been in the role twice as long as Miller, and he’s ce­mented the show’s rat­ings suc­cess. While the com­bi­na­tion of cosy crime, ex­otic lo­ca­tions and the com­edy-rich cul­ture clash may seem like an ob­vi­ous at­tempt at es­capism to cheer up view­ers dur­ing chilly Jan­uary, Death In Paradise shouldn’t be over­looked. Cre­ator Robert Thoro­good’s en­joy­able homage to Agatha Christie can eas­ily be­come ad­dic­tive, thanks in part to Mar­shall’s al­ways en­gag­ing per­for­mances.

When Mar­shall joins Crime Scene in The Mayflower’s up­stairs din­ing room, he’s warmed up enough to just be wear­ing a vest. De­spite the fog of jet­lag, the for­mer My Fam­ily star is a nat­u­ral co­me­dian, one whose bronzed, an­i­mated face pro­duces myr­iad im­promptu im­pres­sions. How­ever, when the con­ver­sa­tion turns to Death In Paradise, he’s fo­cused and se­ri­ous.

“I think last se­ries we changed things a lit­tle bit on cer­tain episodes,” he re­flects, “es­pe­cially episode four with the Dwayne sto­ry­line [ in­volv­ing the death of his men­tor], and I thought some of the mur­ders we had were bril­liant. And this year we’re chang­ing

it again – we’re just try­ing to rein­vent the genre. We’re re­ally try­ing, within that tem­plate, to just keep the se­ries mov­ing on, rather than it be­com­ing stale and samey. There are some big changes this year.”

Those are partly down to the di­vorced DI Good­man’s brand new love in­ter­est, fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of fel­low officer Camille Bordey (Sara Martins) in Se­ries 4. Hav­ing guested dur­ing the last episode of Se­ries 5, as Martha Lloyd, an old friend of Good­man’s, Sally Bret­ton ( Not Go­ing Out) has now be­come a reg­u­lar cast mem­ber.

“Hav­ing Sally on the show is bril­liant, she’s got funny bones,” says Mar­shall, who tries not to re­veal too much about the new re­la­tion­ship. “I’ve al­ways said the show’s about lone­li­ness. Here’s a 40-odd-year-old man liv­ing on his own in a shack with a lizard – that’s quite lonely. It’s sort of this jux­ta­po­si­tion of lone­li­ness with beauty.”

The other ma­jor de­par­ture, one which sees Good­man leav­ing the shack and the idyl­lic is­land be­hind for a cou­ple of episodes, is the jaunt to London.

“It does feel weird, but it’s also great to have that sort of re­ver­sal of for­tune,” says Mar­shall. “Now I’m not the fish out of wa­ter, and there’s lots of great stuff to be had with Dwayne – Danny [ John-jules] is wear­ing this lum­ber­jack hat. So it’s great to film in London, but we flip be­tween there and the Caribbean, so you’ve still got lots of lovely is­land stuff. It’s still Death In Paradise.”

That will come as a re­lief to long-term fans, who have seen two main char­ac­ters de­part the show. For Parisian ac­tor Joséphine Jobert, it was quite a chal­lenge join­ing a hit se­ries that’s filmed in her sec­ond lan­guage.

“I think, and I hope, my English has im­proved,” she tells Crime Scene. “The first se­ries, to be hon­est, I was very stressed be­cause it’s like a fam­ily, so when you’re a new mem­ber it’s not easy to fit in. But they’ve been so nice to me. Sara Martins was leav­ing the se­ries, so it was not easy for me to take her place. I wanted the au­di­ence to like me. I knew some peo­ple would com­plain be­cause some peo­ple don’t like change. But I think Florence fits very well with Humphrey, they have a good re­la­tion­ship – that’s what makes the show.” Could Florence go for the top job? “I’m not sure I could do a de­noue­ment,” ad­mits Jobert. “The fi­nal scene that Humphrey does, this may be too much for me – too many lines to learn for now.”

One laid­back cat…

The per­ma­nently re­laxed Officer Dwayne My­ers isn’t aim­ing for se­nior­ity ei­ther. Danny John-jules’ per­for­mance is a cel­e­bra­tion of the re­laxed is­land life and serves as a con­trast to his British boss.

“He prob­a­bly has a bit more sym­pa­thy with Humphrey now,” says John-jules, “in­stead of him think­ing ‘why doesn’t he get this Caribbean life­style?’”

As you would ex­pect from an ac­tor who stars as the su­per-stylish Cat in Red Dwarf, Jules is sharply dressed in funky sports­wear. Easy­go­ing, he chats about grow­ing up in Not­ting Hill and his ca­reer, which this year in­volved back-to-back film­ing on the re­vived sci-fi sit­com and Death In Paradise. Shoot­ing in Guade­loupe res­onates with Jules, as his par­ents moved to London from the Caribbean is­land of Do­minica.

“I am like that West In­dian guy com­ing to Eng­land for the first time,” he says, of My­ers’ trip to London. “For the peo­ple that like the fun­nier side of Dwayne, I’m sure they’ll be well stocked up.”

He’s also thrilled that Death In Paradise has fi­nally got around to a two-parter.

“I al­ways find that every clas­sic de­tec­tive story al­ways has a ‘to be con­tin­ued…’ episode,” John-jules rea­sons. “All I can say is that there’s kind of a twist and a turn in that par­tic­u­lar dou­ble show.”

John-jules is an­tic­i­pat­ing big rat­ings for the London ad­ven­ture, but there are al­ways high ex­pec­ta­tions for each new se­ries of Death In Paradise. Mar­shall found it re­ally daunt­ing to step into the big BBC One hit.

“I think it was a pres­sure when I started the show, I don’t think it’s a pres­sure now,” he ex­plains. “I think that, ob­vi­ously, you get to a cer­tain point and you want to sus­tain that and keep it up. You can ex­pand a char­ac­ter more, make him more of a clas­sic lead­ing man. I re­ally hope that this show re­mains as pop­u­lar as it has done. I re­ally, re­ally love the se­ries.” Death In Paradise Se­ries 6 will air on BBC One in Jan­uary.

Jobert, John-jules, Don War­ring­ton (Com­mis­sioner Pat­ter­son), Tobi Bakare (J.P. Hooper) and­mar­shall.

Joséphine Jobert as DS Cas­sell: hold the scratch­ings.

Di good­man and Ds­cas­sell, en­joy­ing the fine British weather.

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