Having just finished broadcasting on BBC One the second series of Robert Thorogood’s comedy murder mystery is just the antidote for the Monday blues and is out now on DVD. Series one was an unexpected ratings winner when it was broadcast in 2011, over six million of us tuned in every week to see Ben Miller as the astute (but firmly out of his element) detective inspector solving crimes in a tropical paradise.
Uptight and impossibly British D.I Richard Poole (Ben Miller) is still adjusting the move from blighty to the beautiful (but fictional) Caribbean island of Saint-Marie. Still refusing to ditch his suit he must contend with sweltering heat, sand and an ongoing struggle to get a good cup of tea.
Sticking with the formula that made the first run a success, these latest 8 mysteries once again finds the Inspector aided by his laid back but loyal team of Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules), Fidel Best (Gary Carr) and Camille Bordey (Sara Martins) who still carries a painfully obvious torch for our fish out of water Inspector. Despite the tropical setting this is every bit the archetypal murder mystery down to the red herrings and big reveal at the end of the episode where the killer is unmasked.
Over the course of the series we’re treated to some great guest stars including James Flett, Stephanie Beacham, James Cosmo, Sean Pertwee, Dexter Flecher, Jamelia, Lucy Davis and Hannah Spearritt. Don Warrington is also back in four episodes as the Chief of Police Selwyn Patterson who is keeping an ever watchful eye over Richard and his methods.
There’s no shortage of murder mystery on TV we’re almost spoilt for choice, the BBC have recently made the wise move to resurrect Jonathan Creek for 3 new episodes after the forthcoming Easter special and Sherlock series 3 should start filming soon, we hope. What works so well for this series is it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a cheerful 60 minutes of television. In an age of dark and violent cop shows where the protagonist is dealing with a drinking problem/drug addiction/coming to terms with the death of a loved one, Death in Paradise offers a bright and breezy alternative and it’s easy to see why it has proved so popular.
For all its likability there are a few pitfalls, the blindingly obvious feelings that Camille has for Richard at times becomes tiresome and there’s little in the way of unexpected plot twists or any real danger for our group of crime solvers. These things don’t get in the way of Death in Paradise being a thoroughly enjoyable comedy murder mystery, seasoned with witty characters.
The series finale threatens to tear Richard away from Paradise as he’s called back to London but fear not, a third series has already been commissioned so we’ll be seeing more from Detective Inspector Poole.