Death in Paradise (TV series)

Death in Paradise is a British-French crime drama television series created by Robert Thorogood, starring Ben Miller (series 1–3), Kris Marshall (series 3–6) and Ardal O'Hanlon (series 6–9). The programme is a joint UK and French production. The French language version is Meurtres au paradis (in French). The programme is filmed on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom, France 2 in France, and PBS in the United States. Death in Paradise has enjoyed high ratings,[1] leading to repeated renewals.[2] An eighth series was broadcast from 10 January 2019 to 28 February 2019.[3] It was announced the same day that a ninth and a tenth series had been commissioned.[4] Filming for series nine started in May 2019.[5] O'Hanlon left the show in October 2019, during the filming of series nine, which is due for broadcast in January 2020.[6]

Death in Paradise
GenreCrime drama
Detective fiction
Created byRobert Thorogood
Composer(s)Magnus Fiennes
Country of origin
Original language(s)English
No. of series8
No. of episodes64 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Matthew Bird
  • Tim Key
  • Tim Bradley
Production location(s)Guadeloupe
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkBBC One
Picture format16:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release25 October 2011 (2011-10-25) 
External links


British detective Richard Poole (Ben Miller) is assigned to investigate the murder of a British police officer on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie.[7] After he successfully finds the murderer, he is ordered by his supervisors to replace the victim and stay on as the head detective inspector (DI) of the island, solving new cases as they appear and being the object of many fish-out-of-water jokes.[8]

At the start of Series 3, Poole is murdered, and clumsy London detective Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) arrives to investigate the death of his deadpan predecessor. He then stays in the job as chief investigator on the island. In the second half of Series 6, he resigns so he can start a new life in London with his girlfriend Martha Lloyd. His replacement on Saint Marie is DI Jack Mooney, played by Ardal O'Hanlon.


SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAve. UK viewers
First airedLast aired
1825 October 2011 (2011-10-25)13 December 2011 (2011-12-13)5.89
288 January 2013 (2013-01-08)26 February 2013 (2013-02-26)7.67
3814 January 2014 (2014-01-14)4 March 2014 (2014-03-04)8.46
488 January 2015 (2015-01-08)26 February 2015 (2015-02-26)9.03
587 January 2016 (2016-01-07)25 February 2016 (2016-02-25)8.67
685 January 2017 (2017-01-05)23 February 2017 (2017-02-23)9.10
784 January 2018 (2018-01-04)22 February 2018 (2018-02-22)8.34
8810 January 2019 (2019-01-10)28 February 2019 (2019-02-28)8.42


While Death in Paradise has continued to be in the top three most popular programmes on British television, critics have called the crime drama "unremarkable" and "an undemanding detective show, with nice Caribbean scenery."[11]

The show is known for its formulaic approach to its plots[12] with each episode roughly the same in both style and narrative structure. Each episode begins with a pre-credits sequence showing the events leading up to a murder and often the discovery of the body afterwards; this sequence also serves to introduce that particular episode's guest characters.[13] The police force of Saint Marie are subsequently informed of the murder, preliminary investigations and interviews take place to establish the suspects, and photographs of the suspects and crime scene are placed on the whiteboard at police headquarters.[14]

Often towards the end, the lead DI will have a moment of realization, perhaps brought on by something that someone says or does or by some occurrence. In this moment, the how, why and who of the murder are comprehended by the DI, but are not revealed to the audience. The suspects are then gathered and the DI talks through the evidence; often, flashbacks are used to show what happened. The murderer and the motive are revealed in the dénouement of the episode.[15] Gathering the suspects, going through the events and finally identifying (and arresting) the murderer is based on the technique Agatha Christie uses in the Miss Marple stories (and some of the Hercule Poirot stories).

Normally, each episode ends with a comedic scene or a celebratory trip by the police force to Catherine's bar.[16] The final episode of most series has included a subplot wherein the lead DI is tempted to return to the UK by the prospect of a job offer or personal relationship, but in the end, he decides to remain on the island.

This format was subverted in the sixth series, when the two-part storyline in the fifth and sixth episodes saw the team travel to London to follow up on a current case, resulting in Goodman deciding to remain to be with his new girlfriend, Martha; Mooney travelled back to Saint-Marie, initially as a holiday, but decided to remain as the new detective inspector of the island.


Saint Marie

Death in Paradise is set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, described in Episode 3.3 as a "pretty island" that is "situated in the Eastern Caribbean Sea." In episode 4.5, it is mentioned that Martinique is "a good 70 miles." Saint Marie is "one-tenth the size of its north-west neighbour Guadeloupe"; this would make Saint Marie about 63 square miles (160 km2) in size. Saint Marie is a British Overseas Territory, but about 30% of its people are French, due to previous history, with the language still widely spoken.

The back-story appears to be a blend of two real-world islands near to Guadeloupe, with size and location aligning with Marie-Galante and history and language aligning with Dominica. In the TV show, the fictional Saint Marie island has a volcano, rainforest, sugar plantations, a fishing harbour, an airport, a university, a convent, approximately 100 public beaches and a Crown Court. It also has its own newspaper, The Saint Marie Times. Honoré, the name of the main town, is a reference to St Honoré the setting of A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie. The town has a leisure/commercial marina, market, bars and restaurants as well as the police station. The neighbouring town to Honoré is named as Port Royal. Saint Marie's main economic ties are to Guadeloupe, the UK and France. The island's main religions are Catholicism and Voodoo, with several religious festivals featuring in the programme, including the Saint Ursula Festival (in reality, a major festival of the Virgin Islands) and some Voodoo festivals.

Other locations

Episode 3.7 is largely set on an islet just off Saint Marie; it is privately owned and relatively small. This episode was actually filmed on the island of Kahouanne, around 1.2 miles (1.9 km) off the north-west coast of Guadeloupe where the series is normally filmed. It can often be seen in the background from a beach on Saint Marie. Episodes 6.5 and 6.6 are largely set in London, when Goodman, Cassell and Officer Myers form a liaison team with Mooney in order to track down suspects in a murder investigation in Saint Marie and later to investigate the murder of one of the suspects.



Character Actor Position Series
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Richard Poole Ben Miller DI Main Guest
Camille Bordey Sara Martins DS Main
Dwayne Myers Danny John-Jules Officer Main
Fidel Best Gary Carr Officer/Sergeant Main
Selwyn Patterson Don Warrington Commissioner Main
Catherine Bordey Élizabeth Bourgine Restaurateur (Series 1-8), Mayor (Series 7-) Recurring Main
Humphrey Goodman Kris Marshall DI Main
Florence Cassell Joséphine Jobert Sergeant/DS Main
JP Hooper Tobi Bakare Officer Main
Martha Lloyd Sally Bretton Guest Recurring
Jack Mooney Ardal O'Hanlon DI Main
Ruby Patterson Shyko Amos Officer Main
Madeleine Dumas Aude Legastelois[17] DS Main
Neville Parker Ralf Little DI Main


Character Actor Years Series
Aidan Miles Adrian Dunbar 2011 1.7–1.8
Sally Goodman Morven Christie 2014 3.1a, 3.8
Martin Goodman, QC James Fox 2015 4.7a–4.8
Rosey Hooper (née Fabrice) Fola Evans-Akingbola[18][19] 2016 5.3, 5.5–5.6, 5.8
Nelson Myers Ram John Holder 2017-2018 6.5–6.6, 7.7–7.8
Siobhan Mooney Grace Stone 2017-2019 6.6–7.1, 8.8
Darlene Curtis Ginny Holder 2018 7.3–7.5, 7.7
Patrice Campbell Leemore Marrett Jr. 2019 8.1–8.6[17]

^a Made a voice cameo in this episode.

Danny John-Jules, the longest-tenured actor in the series other than Don Warrington and Elizabeth Bourgine, did not return for series eight and was replaced by Shyko Amos, who plays Commissioner Selwyn Patterson's niece, Ruby.[20] John-Jules cited his reason for exiting the show as wanting to "leave on a high."[21]


The series is filmed on the French island of Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles, mainly in the commune of Deshaies (which doubles for the town of Honoré on the fictional island of Saint Marie), with the help of the Bureau d’accueil des tournages de la Région Guadeloupe.[22] The site of the Honoré police station is a church hall in Deshaies, with the priest's office appearing as the incident room.[23]

Miller left the series at the start of series 3, as he felt he was spending too much time away from his family, since his wife was unable to join him on the island during production. Marshall's family joined him on the island during his first three six-month shoots and his son, Thomas, enrolled at a local school. When his family did not join him during the filming of the sixth series, following the birth of his baby daughter, Elsie, it left him feeling "bereft and empty" and he quit the show.[24]

From episode 7 of the sixth series, the lead role was taken by Ardal O'Hanlon playing DI Jack Mooney, a London colleague.[25] Joséphine Jobert left the series after episode 6 of the eighth series and will be replaced by actress Aude Legastelois, who plays Madeleine Dumas. Jobert cited her reason for exiting the show as wanting to "focus on other projects."


Viewing figures

Death in Paradise has gained in popularity over time on British TV.

Series 1 (2011) has been the least-watched to date, averaging 5.89 million viewers, with the 5.3 million viewers for the sixth episode, "An Unhelpful Aid," being the lowest the show has had. Each episode was among the top five most-watched programmes of the day and in the top 40 of the week.

Series 2 (2013) averaged 7.67 million viewers, with each episode among the top two most-watched programmes of the day and in the top 15 of the week.

Series 3 (2014) averaged 8.46 million viewers, with each episode among the top two most-watched programmes of the day and in the top ten of the week.

Series 4 (2015) averaged 9.03 million viewers. Based on consolidated figures, each episode was among the top three most-watched programmes of the day and in the top ten of the week.

Series 5 (2016) averaged 8.67 million viewers. Based on consolidated figures, each episode was the most-watched programme of the day and in the top four of the week.

Series 6 (2017) has been the most-watched so far, averaging 9.1 million viewers. The series premiere, "Erupting in Murder," is the most-watched episode of the show to date with 9.81 million viewers. Based on consolidated figures, each episode of Series 6 was the most-watched programme of the day and in the top four of the week.

Series 7 (2018) averaged 8.34 million viewers. Based on consolidated figures, each episode was the most-watched programme of the day and in the top ten of the week.[26]

Critical response

The series has received mixed reviews from critics, with most criticism directed towards its formulaic structure. The first series was praised for its refreshing style and setting. Kris Marshall's introduction at the start of series 3 was particularly well received, with Rebecca Smith of The Daily Telegraph citing Marshall as a "winning addition" to the cast.[27] The series 4 premiere was described as "a little piece of escapism" and was generally praised. Mark Monahan of The Daily Telegraph criticised the laid-back tone of the series, calling it too methodical with nothing unique about it besides the setting.[28]


Red Planet Pictures was nominated for, and won, the "Diversity in a Drama Production Award" for Death In Paradise. Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Don Warrington and Tobi Bakare collected the award at a ceremony supported by the BBC and ITV that took place on 15 February 2015.[29]

DVD release

Series Region 2 Region 1 Region 4 Discs Extras
1 8 October 2012[30] 17 June 2014[31] 2 August 2012 [32] 2 N/A
2 4 March 2013 16 September 2014[33] 3 July 2013 [34] 3 N/A
3 10 March 2014 5 May 2015[35] 25 May 2014 [36] 3 The Making of Death in Paradise on disc three. Seven short insights into the making of Death in Paradise.
4 2 March 2015[37] 5 July 2016[38] 18 March 2015 [39] 3 N/A
5 29 February 2016 13 December 2016[40] 16 March 2016 [41] 3 The Making Of Death In Paradise
Creating The Puzzle
Harry The Lizzard
Tour Of Honoré Police Station
The Vehicles
1-5 29 February 2016 N/A 16 March 2016 [42] 14 same extras that were on series 3 and 5 (no extra were made for series 1, 2 and 4)
6 27 February 2017 12 December 2017[43] 29 March 2017 [44] 3 N/A
1-6 N/A N/A 29 March 2017 [45] 17 same extras that were on series 3 and 5
7 26 February 2018 December 2018 14 March 2018 [46] 3
1-7 N/A N/A 14 March 2018 [47] 20
8 4 March 2019[48] 10 December 2019 3 April 2019[49] 3
1-8 2019 TBA TBA 23


In the UK, all series are shown on BBC One. The first series was broadcast in late 2011. The second series was broadcast in January 2013, with subsequent series filling the same January slot; all series were shown in a 9:00–10:00 pm slot.[lower-alpha 1] In France the programme is broadcast on France 2 and France Ô. Death in Paradise is broadcast in 236 territories.[50]


Theme music

The theme music is an instrumental version of a Jamaican song from the 1960s, "You're Wondering Now," written by Coxsone Dodd, originally recorded by Andy & Joey in Jamaica. It was later made famous by The Skatalites and in Europe by ska band The Specials and later still by Amy Winehouse, as featured on some editions of the deluxe version of her album Back to Black. In the final scene of the first episode of the third series, the cover version recorded by The Skatalites in 1994 is played at the bar. It appeared on the official Death in Paradise soundtrack, released in January 2015, alongside other music from all four series. The original version of the song, as recorded by Andy & Joey, was played towards the end of the last episode of the sixth series. In the French version, the opening song is "Sunday Shining" by Finley Quaye.


In January 2015, an official soundtrack compiling 26 songs from the first four series of the show was released by the BBC. It contains original music for Death in Paradise and already extant tunes, though it does not include the theme music from the show.


The creator of the show, Robert Thorogood, signed a three-book deal to write Death in Paradise novels featuring the original characters (D.I. Richard Poole, D.S. Camille Bordey, Officer Dwayne Myers, Sergeant Fidel Best and Comm. Selwyn Patterson). The first of these, A Meditation on Murder (A Death in Paradise novel),[51] was published in January 2015. Early reviews were generally favourable, with the Daily Express in particular being complimentary, giving it four stars.[52] The second book, The Killing of Polly Carter, was released in 2016. The third book, Death Knocks Twice, was released in 2017. The fourth book, Murder in the Caribbean, was published in December 2018.


  1. Series 4, episode 7 was shown earlier at 8.25 pm-9.25 pm due to EastEnders Live 30th anniversary celebrations.


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  2. Plunkett, John (27 February 2014). "David Walliams to star as BBC bags Agatha Christie drama deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  3. "Death in Paradise will return with Ardal O'Hanlon". 1 February 2018.
  4. Harp, Justin (28 February 2019). "The future of Death in Paradise is confirmed, along with cast news". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  5. "Filming underway on ninth series of award-winning BBC One drama, Death In Paradise" (Press release). BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  6. "Ardal O'Hanlon waves goodbye to BBC One drama Death In Paradise". BBC Media Centre.
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  8. "About Series 1 | Death in Paradise | Alibi Channel". Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  9. "Weekly Top 30 Programmes (see relevant week(s))". BARB.
  10. "Four Screen Dashboard (See relevant channel and week(s))". BARB.
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  12. "Death In Paradise did have its quirks but it was too formulaic and a touch lazy 4 Mar 2014". Metro. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  13. "The secrets of Death in Paradise 7 January 2016". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  14. "Success in Paradise!!!! 28 February 2015". Amazon. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  15. "Death in Paradise: how on earth does this get so many viewers? 12 February 2013". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  16. "Harmless Nonsense, Nice Palm Trees, 10 April 2015". Amazon. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  17. "Death in Paradise, Series 8, Episode 7". BBC Programmes. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  18. "Episode 5, Series 5, Death in Paradise – BBC One". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  19. "Episode 6, Series 5, Death in Paradise – BBC One". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  20. "Death in Paradise axes longtime star Danny John Jules as Dwayne". Smooth.
  21. "How, when and why is Danny John-Jules leaving Death in Paradise?". Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  22. "Meurtre au paradis. L'industrie du cinéma teste la Guadeloupe – Abonnement". 16 September 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  23. Skinitis, Alexia (5 January 2017). "Where is Death in Paradise filmed? Guadeloupe location guide". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  24. "Kris Marshall swaps Death In Paradise for family time - BBC News". 2 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  25. "BBC One - Death in Paradise, Series 6, Episode 7". 16 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
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  27. "Death in Paradise, episode one, review". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  28. "Death in Paradise, series 4, episode 2, review". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
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  30. "Death in Paradise – Series 1 (DVD)". Retrieved 21 May 2012.
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  36. "Death In Paradise - Series 3".
  37. "Death in Paradise – Series 4 [DVD] [2015]: Kris Marshall: DVD & Blu-ray". Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  38. "Death in Paradise: Series 4 (DVD): Various: Movies & TV". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
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  41. "Death In Paradise - Series 5".
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  44. "Death In Paradise: Series 6".
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  48. "Death In Paradise - Series 8". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  49. "Death In Paradise - Series 8". Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  50. "How Death in Paradise conquered the world". Radio Times. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  51. "A Meditation on Murder (An original Death in Paradise story): Robert Thorogood: 8601410743390: Books". Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  52. Coates, Jon (30 January 2015). "Book reviews: January's crime and detective fiction investigated". Daily Express. Northern & Shell. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
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