Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The secret of Death in Paradise's popularity – it's fun

Death in Paradise, BBC1, Sara Martins and Ben Miller
An Englishman abroad – DI Poole with Camille. Pics: BBC

Writer and blogger Pat Nurse gets away from it all in the company of detective inspector Poole and the laid-back cops of St Marie

I'm a sucker for sunshine and living in England means that it's mostly felt by watching some sun-drenched paradise on TV – especially in the long, dark winter months. That is one reason why I love Death in Paradise, but the show has a lot more going for it than just its exotic location.

It is an old fashioned whodunit murder detective series with protagonist and the setting of the fictional Caribbean island of St Marie completely at odds.

Death in Paradise, Tuesdays, 9pm

Kelly Adams in BBC1's Death in Paradise
Kelly Adams stars in episode four
Ben Miller plays DI Richard Poole, who is sent off to work in a place that is completely alien to him. He is as comfortable in his new surroundings as Poirot would be in a culture-deprived British city, but what they both have in common is eccentricity and a natural ability to unravel a mysterious plot without much forensic or CSI help.

In Sara Martins, who plays Camille Bordey, Poole gets a better looking side-kick than Poirot with stick-in-the-mud Hastings, and his team are more laid back than a deck chair. But as he flaps about such things as unwanted lizards in his beach hut house, his colleagues calmly plod on with helping him solve the case and often trigger that Eureka moment for Poole in an off-the-cuff comment that comes just before the final gathering exposé.

Great cast
Like Midsomer Murders, Death in Paradise doesn't take itself too seriously. What makes it different is that it is fun. If Midsomer is a theatrical production, then Death in Paradise is more like stand-up comedy. It doesn't even try to compete with gritty dramas like The Killing and neither should it, or it would be cringeworthy.



Michael Brandon in Death in Paradise, BBC1
Michael Brandon
To get the best out of the watching experience it has to be taken at face value. The cast is great with characters that work well together and there is even a bit of stiff-upper lip sexual chemistry between smouldering Bordey and her Very British Boss.

Treasure hunter shot
And that's why I'll be looking forward to the next episode tonight that has Poole and the team plunging into a mysterious plot of pirates and ancient myth when a treasure hunter is shot dead in the jungle.

With the murder weapon a 300-year-old pistol and the entire group of treasure hunters classed as suspects, the team have a lot of ground to cover. However, the situation takes an even more sinister turn when the murder of geologist Dr Ian Parks triggers a chain of unfortunate and rather coincidental accidents.

Cast Ben Miller DI Richard Poole, Sara Martins Camille Bordey, Danny John-Jules Dwayne Myers, Gary Carr Fidel Best, Jonathan Cake Daniel Morgan, Kelly Adams Liz Curtis, Bryan Dick Benjamin Sammy, Rob Heanley Dr Ian Parks, Michael Brandon Joel Maurice, Chris Winchester Ben Turner