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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Death in Paradise, BBC1

What’s not to like about BBC1’s new crime drama Death in Paradise? I suppose if I was to nit pick it would be the gorgeous setting of the pristine Caribbean Island where all the action takes place. Surely there must be an unwritten rule about putting such a lovely place on television as we struggle with rain and gloomy evenings. The weather and scenery aside there is very little to moan about when it comes to this fish out of water crime drama starring the fantastic Ben Miller.

Miller is brilliant as true “Brit Abroad” DI Richard Poole who is sent to the fictional Island of Saint Marie to investigate the death of their beloved British Police Chief Charlie Hume. The first episode sets up the premise that we’ll come to enjoy over the next seven episodes. To most the idea of being forced to work in paradise would be reason to open a bottle of champagne or run around a room starkers but not to Poole. Poole is a man who loves a good cup of Tea and dreary evenings by the fire down his local.  Despite the tropical setting he never loosens his shirt buttons, wears a suit in over 40 degrees and wouldn't even think to throw off his shoes and walking on the beach.
Death in Paradise, Tuesdays BBC1
The characters are likeable, believable and a joy to watch. Death in Paradise manages something that only a few dramas before it have. It manages to get the balance of Comedy and Drama just right. Not too much comedy that you expect Miller’s character to be strolling along the white sands and slip on a discarded banana skin but enough comedy to make you smile. Much like Martin Clunes in Doc Martin the comedy comes from the fact that Poole doesn't fit in. He's about as far out of his comfort zone as it is possible to be.
The other surprise is the old fashioned way the crimes are dealt with. The lack of CSI style labs, toxicology and DNA profiling on the remote Island means the cops are forced to work basically and thoroughly and this makes for a more exciting and puzzling whodunit. Poole may be out of his comfort zone but his saving grace is his ability to see what others haven’t spotted, his methodical style lends itself perfectly to his uncomfortable new surroundings.  
The crime drama has long been a favourite of mine. I’m always excited by a new crime drama and Death in Paradise is surprising refreshing. Unlike some recent series you don’t feel like you’ve seen it all before, Poole may be a flawed character but he’s not the maverick with a drinking problem and confusing home life we’ve become so overly familiar with in recent times.

Death in Paradise is perfect autumn night television. Shut away the gloominess of the evening, settle on the sofa and let it transport you to another world and see if you can fathom whodunit?

                                        Death in Paradise contiunes Tuesdays 9.00pm on BBC1
More on the Show
Read my recent interview with female lead Sara Martins

1 comment:

Clive said...

Great review... and a great show.

Those of you who have read the poor reviews by some of the UK critics (e.g. Ed Cumming in The Telegraph) should ignore them and instead settle down for an hour of pure entertainment, good acting and some stunning scenery - plus some laugh out loud moments. The comedy is well done and well-timed while not overshadowing the actual plot itself.

I suspect that the writers have much more up their sleeves, but already we know that they are out to have some fun with us; they can't have named Danny John Jules' character "Dwayne" accidentally! Nor can it be a coincidence that Ben Miller finds himself face to face with a CGI lizard who looks to have been done by the same team that did "Rex" the flying lizard from Primeval.

Very much looking forward to the rest of the series.

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