For a show that the critics believed wouldn’t make it past one series, BBC hit show Death in Paradise is celebrating its tenth series. Would I consider myself a superfan? Probably. I even tried to work out how many free drinks Catherine had given away over the years but lost count. It’s got me through lockdown having watched the whole show so far multiple times. I realised that I’ve never really posted much about DiP before but the tenth anniversary seems like a perfect time.
For the uninitiated, DiP, as its known by fans, is a light-hearted murder mystery series set on the fictional Caribbean island of St Marie. The fictional history of the island is that it has been ruled by the French, the English, Denmark for a short period but currently it is governed by the UK with France also having a say in some matters.
In the first episode we learn that the Saint Marie Police, whose station is in the fictional town of Honore, is run by a Commissioner of Police who has a team serving under him which consists of a Detective Inspector from the Met Police plus 3 officers including one sergeant. The death of DI Charlie Hulme in episode one brings DI Richard Poole (Ben Miller) over from the Met in London. After solving the murder he is seconded to the island much to his annoyance.
Richard is a fish out of water. He hates the heat, the Caribbean food, the sand and more. He is a stickler for going by the book and is a brilliant if somewhat eccentric detective. He’s also not very keen on the French which makes for some amusing moments. He lives in “The Shack” which is a beachside bungalow of sorts and is inhabited by a lizard who he calls Harry. Richard misses the comforts of home- the UK weather, his local pub, a decent cup of tea and roast dinners.
At the start of Series 2, DI Poole is murdered and DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) is sent to solve the crime. Goodman is aware that he will be staying on the island and actually attempts to blend in and get involved with local life. He is also a brilliant if somewhat uncoordinated detective who has a love for logic puzzles and riddles. Humphrey left part-way through Series 6 to return home to London to be with his new girlfriend.
Replacing DI Goodman was DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O’Hanlon), an Irishman living in London who had helped Humphrey with a case. Jack had recently lost his wife and his coming to the island greatly helped him get through it. He really took to island life, getting involved in the community as a bingo caller and taking part in all the festivals. Jack left part way through Series 9 when he realised that being on the island was his way of running away from everything so he moved back to London to be with his daughter.
The current detective is DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little). Allergic to everything and anything, DI Parker came to the island to help with a case linked to his home town of Manchester. He was taken ill on the island and has since decided he is going to use his time on the island to get over all of his ailments and worries.
Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) is the Chief of Police. An island native, he started out as a young officer in Honore and rose through the ranks. He has had a very different relationship with every DI.
The DI is ably assisted by a number of different officers over the years. DS Camille Borday (Sara Martins), Officer Dwayne Myers (Danny John Jules) and Officer, later Sergeant Fidel Best (Gary Carr) are the initial team. Fidel is promoted to Sergeant and is transferred to another island and is replaced by Officer, also later Sergeant JP Hooper (Tobi Bakare).
During Series 4 Camille is offered a promotion to an undercover unit in Paris- although it would mean leaving the island and her mother Catherine (Elizabeth Bourgine) who runs a local bar and Humphrey who she has fallen for, she leaves for Paris.
Sergeant Florence Cassell (Josephine Jobert) is initially brought in to bring the team up to full compliment but ends up being promoted to DS. Florence left during Series 8 after a major trauma in her life and was replaced by DS Madeline Dumas (Aude Legastelois). At the same time Officer Dwayne Myers left to rekindle his relationship with his father and new recruit Officer Ruby Patterson (Shyko Amos), niece of the Commissioner, joins the team.
Series 10 begins with the team needing help with both Madeline and Ruby being transferred to France. DS Florence Cassell answers the Commissioners call and returns to the island to be with DI Parker and Sgt. Hooper. A local troublemaker, Marlon Pryce (Tahj Miles), is given an ultimatum- join a police training programme or go to jail. Marlon chooses to join the team, and after a rough start, starts to find his footing and possibly a career.
The majority of murders that take place involve tourists to the islands and sometimes locals are involved and the plot can be quite intricate. This has meant that DiP has a history of having an amazing guest cast over the years. There are too many to list but if you are interested you can see the full list here:-
Stand-out guest stars that link to others shows for me include David Ajala (Cleveland Booker- Star Trek Discovery), Chris Obi (T’Kuvma- Star Trek Discovery), Lashana Lynch (Maria Rambeau- Captain Marvel) and Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles- Star Wars).
Peter Davison (Doctor Who), James Cosmo (Game of Thrones), Miranda Raison (Spooks) and Hannah John-Kamen (Ant Man & The Wasp) are just a few of the other names you might know.
There are lots of surprise in store during Series 10 incase you are a bit behind but its worth catching up on. If you’ve never seen Death In Paradise and like light-hearted murder mysteries with a dash of comedy then give it a try!
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THOSE INVOLVED IN DIP. HERE’S TO THE NEXT TEN!