Sunday, March 3, 2013

BBC1's "Death In Paradise" Brings On The Guilty Pleasures

Unlike many other British whodunits that are set in darker, drearier locations like the streets of London, BBC1's "Death In Paradise" is a TV series (created by Robert Thorogood) about a team of police solving crimes in sunny, fictional French Caribbean island of Saint-Marie, just off Guadeloupe.

The show recently ended its second series (that's what they call a "season" in the UK) and has been renewed for a third one. When Series 2 premiered in early January 2013, the growing and appreciative fan-base of "Death In Paradise"  contributed to a whopping 8 million viewers!

Having a paradise isle like Saint-Marie as a base for murders is something Red Dot Diva can really identify with. After all, take away all the swanky or scifi-like architecture, and Red Dot Island is nothing more than one hot little swamp island, not without her own tales of bloody crimes too.

Add in a dash of that crisp British accent, red herrings and puzzles to the tropical setting, and "Death In Paradise" becomes quite an entertaining guilty pleasure. Even if it does fall prey to paradise island-Caribbean stereotypes and formulaic old-skool whodunit story lines with crime-solving so lack of real forensic evidence that one actually misses Horatio Caine's sunglasses. (YEAHHHHH!!!) Also, those *aha!* (cue lightbulb cartoon bubble) moments unfold in a terribly clich├ęd manner as well. 

Still, it wouldn't kill for Red Dot Diva to admit that the light-hearted series had continued to pull her in - week after week.

The leader of the investigative team is typical Brit, Detective Inspector Richard Poole. A stickler for methodology and detail, Poole who was based in Croydon, was sent to Saint-Marie on short notice when the island's previous inspector was murdered. Stubbornly insisting on wearing the impractical suit and tie, drinking afternoon tea and attempting to watch British programs on his TV set, the socially awkward and often grumpy Poole absolutely hates the sun, sea and sand. Hence, making his life on Saint Marie a slow trip to hell.

It makes Red Dot Diva wonder if the cheeky title of the series has to do with the actual murder mysteries or a slow but (not so) painful demise of Richard Poole's stiff upper lip ways as the island whittles that down over time.


Richard Poole is played very effectively by actor and funny man Ben Miller, who was last seen acting very bossy as James Lester in "Primeval" - another British fantasy-scifi series that Red Dot Diva rather enjoyed watching. His comedic timing is spot on even is he goes on a rant about everything and anything. Constantly wiping his brow, carrying his trusty brown satchel all over town, and muttering curses about the unrelenting heat, Ben Miller acting hot and bothered, actually makes Red Dot Diva feel a little hot and bothered. *fans self*

Sassy-smart French-Caribbean mama Camile Bodey (Sara Martins) - a secret agent now detective - is second in command. Camile is both amused and frustrated by her new boss, and harbours a secret crush on Poole. Red Dot Diva isn't quite convinced about their chemistry but maybe it'll get better as the series progresses. She admires Camile's patience though. Red Dot Diva would have probably ran Poole over with a jeep on the first day.


The rest of the team are made up of laid back old-timer Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules) and young ambitious Fidel Best (Gary Carr). Red Dot Diva digs Danny John-Jules' take on Dwayne, the rascally laydee's man complete with a lovely musical Caribbean accent. Totally charming. And very silver foxy like. *purrrr*

Then, there is the solemn Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) and Catherine (the beautiful Elizabeth Bourgine), Camile's colourful French mom who owns the local bar.


Oh, and one mustn't forget Richard Poole's constant live-in companion and critic - a quiet little green lizard named Harry (after Prince Harry, as it was so revealed in the second series finale).

Blending murderous intent in an island setting sure puts a different mood and added twists to the cases being solved in "Death In Paradise". Red Dot Diva has a couple of favourites - the one about a poisoned voodoo priestess, and another that was something more classic - a novice nun found dead in a locked room.

The deaths and murders in the show are not too overly macabre and the show does not take itself too seriously. Assisted by the delightful chemistry between the cast members and a jaunty reggae soundtrack, "Death In Paradise" is the perfect kind of fun TV escapism after a long hard day at work.

Series 3 of "Death In Paradise" is set to return in the UK on BBC One next year. Red Dot Diva wonders if Richard Poole would be able to keep his suit (and his cool) on till then. Hmmm.....

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Scenes from the first episode:




Series 2 Trailer:



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To catch up, one can grab the DVD of Series 1 from Amazon!


"Death In Paradise" official website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pvmf6
FB page: http://www.facebook.com/DeathInParadiseUK
Twitter: https://twitter.com/deathinparadise

Follow the cast's Twitter:
- Ben Miller
- Danny Don-Jule
- Gary Carr
- Elizabeth Bourgine


2 comments:

  1. Fab article! One point, Gary Carr's character is called Fidel Best, not Felix. XXX

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    1. Corrected that typo. Thanks for pointing it out! :) (wrote that article way too late at nite)

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