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Death In Paradise: Playing a detective in the Caribbean

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Gary Carr Gary Carr | 12:41 UK time, Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I'd say that Death In Paradise is a detective series in a familiar style with a contemporary twist provided by its exotic location.

The show is set in the Caribbean on the fictitious island, Saint-Marie (actually Guadeloupe).

There are surprises and mysteries in the storylines, but also clashes of culture and much to discover about Saint-Marie and its people.

The familiar element is the structure of the series: The event, the investigation and then finally the dénouement where the murderer is revealed.

I play the young detective, Fidel Best.

Gary Carr (Fidel Best) in Death In Paradise

Gary Carr as Detective Fidel Best in Death In Paradise.

When I read the script I felt connected to Fidel, for the main reason that he spends a lot of time trying to be the best without realising his own potential.

With his youth Fidel brings naivety and innocence, yet he is very driven. He is loyal and humble, in contrast to his partner in crime, police officer Dwayne Myers.

The brilliant dynamic between these two was clear even on paper.

The director was keen to add 'quirk' to the role, which was brilliant because it brings out all those things about Fidel that make him awkward.

A month after I was offered the part I found myself on a beautiful Caribbean island, with a team of people I didn't know, making my first ever series.

It was a big deal for me.

One thing I pray for with any job is that I leave it having learned a few things.

With Death In Paradise, I learned about the technical side of filming, the importance of preparation and how to deal with things that aren't so great.

You really do come out feeling more mature than when you went in.

To prepare for the role, I grilled my uncle who's been a policeman for over 20 years in Trinidad and Tobago.

Some of the investigations you see in the show are very similar to the dangerous stories he told me.

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Detective Inspector Richard Poole (Ben Miller) and his team investigate the death of a bride.

My dad's also from Trinidad. The month before I flew out, I listened to my dad carefully, for once, and tried to tap into the sounds and rhythms in his speech so I could get the accent.

Five months on a tropical island sounds like the dream and it is, but it isn't paradise everyday.

We experienced serious rain, thunderstorms and a few hurricane alerts where roads were closed and bridges collapsed.

And then I LOVE the heat, but when you're filming 12 hours a day, sometimes in interior locations, in a uniform, it can get tough - but in a strange way I enjoyed those bits.

Having said that, I did get to experience the paradise side.

My co-stars and I made it a tradition to swim in the sea at the end of every day so we could see the sunsets and some of them were bloody impressive.

Left to right: DI Richard Poole (Ben Miller), Lily Thomson (Leonora Crichlow), Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules) and Fidel Best (Gary Carr)

I did have a few Detective Inspector Richard Poole moments though.

I love animals but I detest moths! And in Guadeloupe, they are everywhere and really no different to bats, I swear, in size and look.

Any time there was one near me, I would end up embarrassing myself.

I am a big fan of some of the darker detective series, like The Wire and Prime Suspect.

Death In Paradise is a lot lighter with its humour and the fun dynamic. But the detective work and realisations are still gripping and bring you in.

There's quite a bit of action in Death In Paradise. Definitely my most thrilling day was when we did a stunt which involved me running off a pier and jumping onto a moving speedboat!

The contrast was when I had to chase a beggar through the market.

I don't have a problem running, but I didn't warm up properly, tut tut.

You tend to spend a while on the same piece of action, so I was running for hours and my legs felt the strain.

I think after watching Death In Paradise, you might have a thirst for some island life, a bit of a getaway.

I see certain scenes and have this feeling of hope that I'll go back there again.

Gary Carr plays Det. Fidel Best in Death In Paradise.

Death In Paradise continues on BBC One on Tuesday, 1 November at 9pm.

For further programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

To read a post by the writer of Death In Paradise, Robert Thorogood, please visit the BBC Writersroom blog.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I love this serial, I can't wait to see it next, GBU

  • Comment number 2.

    Not sure about the series, but the location is lovely and has given my fiancee and I another idea for our honeymoon!!

  • Comment number 3.

    I love this series. It is delightful, a bit like a combination of Midsomer Murders and Doc Martin. My wife and I look forward to each episode. Thoroughly entertaining!

  • Comment number 4.

    I absolutely love this series. I lived in the Caribbean for two and a half years. The heat was one thing that took me awhile to get used to, and the cast are walking around in suits and uniforms, wow. The lizard living in the detective's house reminds me of how things were. No kidding. Made me feel quite homesick actually. Great stuff BBC!

  • Comment number 5.

    Fun and relaxing to watch.

  • Comment number 6.

    Excellent series & a good blog, well done!

  • Comment number 7.

    Excellent! Thoroughly love the humour, the eccentricity and the lizard. IT is the star.

  • Comment number 8.

    really good just watched epi 2 reserved englishman wanting to be free, sherlock homes with comedy please do a second season

  • Comment number 9.

    Excellent. Really good to have such a beautifully produced and set programme. Love the tongue in cheek humour and makes me want another holiday in the Caribbean. Thanks BBC. Takes a lot to get me away from CSI.

  • Comment number 10.

    I love the combination used in this series: a warm and sunny location with cold and dark murders, with an sprinkle of the british stiff upper lip. Brilliant! Please keep the chapters coming...

  • Comment number 11.

    Death in Paradise ,what a breath of fresh air this series has turned out to be, Ben Miller and the team have made Tuesday nights TV viewing an absolute delight.
    :)

  • Comment number 12.

    I find this programme entertaining but so lightweight, like a modern day Agatha Christie. When I think of the cost of filming in some exotic location I think the cost would be better spent on a really good drama/mystery such as Zen which the BBC scrapped after one series. Such a pity Zen was top class and worth another series at least.

  • Comment number 13.

    This programme is great entertainment. It's funny, as the characters are well drawn and played brilliantly by the cast, it has real feel-good factors due to location ... more please BBC!! And I couldn't agree more with Purple Sunbird about Zen being scrapped - that was a great pity. Costs can be a problem of course, but the BBC has done deals with overseas broadcasters in the past - let's see some more of that thinking so we can enjoy programmes like this more often.

  • Comment number 14.

    Message for Gary Carr
    Gary, I do enjoy whodunnits and watched Death in Paradise with great enjoyment. I spent some time staring at you (on screen) because I recalled that I was your teacher at your secondary school in C******. So very very pleased to see you doing so well. I have contacted Ms Brennan to tell her about this but really wanted to say well done! This has really cheered me up! From Mrs Guest
    PS I expect you can get my email details from this website somehow. (?) Do reply if you wish (doesn't matter if you don't).

  • Comment number 15.

    Love the series, but there was one thing missing from this week's episode - the gecko! Have really looked forward to seeing the little chap. More gecko please!

  • Comment number 16.

    16. At 09.40 16th Nov 2011 mfj wrote;

    My husband and I love the series, watch it every week. Please let`s have a second series.

  • Comment number 17.

    Love the idea and the plot. The location is great, but WHY does the BBC think that every Caribbean speaks with a Jamaican accent and that the only music they listen to is reggae? On a "French" island (and others) they listen to zouk and cassav and there a so many accents to choose from. Wish it was a bit more real!!!! Otherwise thumbs up!

  • Comment number 18.

    Was watching this programme again last night and then discussing it this morning with my partner who was watching from his house last night... He is Brit and (as some may have guessed - I am Caribbean). It was the first time he had seen it and having been to the Caribbean and met several of my Caribbean friends and family (from various islands) both here and there, his comment to me this morning was "darling, the programme is insulting to Caribbean people" (something I have been reluctant to say till now). Not only do all the "Caribbean" actors in it have different accents (which, incidentally, change from scene to scene) but it really DOES NOT represent Caribbean life. I am sure that the BBC has access to the right sort of research and experts on several themes, subject areas, locations, etc, but I am beginning to think that this programme is only a spoof, not a serious drama. I will keep watching, cause I do like the plot, and all the sun and sand make me long for home...but catch on Beeb... either consult some Caribbean people next time, even hire some local actors while you're down there - there are plenty great theatre companies in the islands, and I'd be happy to recommend some. Last resort (or first, depending on how you view it) please, please, don't tell people the progarmme is based in/on in the Caribbean - that is unless you're suggesting that Jamaica is the Caribbean or that we are all phonetically challenged down there!

  • Comment number 19.

    For No. 15, Tom: so agree with you! David and I watch the programme mainly for the gecko. Where was he last week, lots more of him, please! (No, actually, we love the programme altogether -- civilised, colourful, wonderful characters.)

  • Comment number 20.

    PS to my comment above: Note to the BBC -- there is very little family viewing programmes these days and this would be ideal. So, how about putting the next series (and there has to be one) on befor 9 p.m. any evening or a Sunday afternoon?

  • Comment number 21.

    My husband and I love this programme and never like it to end, Will there be another series, please say there is :)

  • Comment number 22.

    Great series, The BBC have a hit. Nicely balance humour and drama. Well done, I do hopea second series has been commisioned.

  • Comment number 23.

    I love this programme, please let there be more....and No.1 Ladies Detective Agency too!

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi everyone. I just thought I’d come online and say thank you so much for all your responses. It’s great to be able to see and read what people think of the show, what they like and what they don’t like.

    I can see a lot of people: dukeofearl and EFG have mentioned the beautiful location!!! When I look at some of the episodes from the show, I admit, it looks really beautiful and it is. That is really important for the show, the title being ‘Death in Paradise’ and all. But it’s a credit to our crew, cameramen and cinematographers. One thing I learnt on this series was, you can’t just stick a camera on a beach and film and say ‘there you go… paradise!’ A lot of skill and talent goes into capturing the best images, colours, skies, waves etc. And the crew on this show have done an amazing job.

    Julian, Tom and Cliffhild, It’s awesome to see the lizard/gecko has a fan base. He/She would be really pleased to know that.

    I agree with many of you – abubbler and jenjeni and possum79, to highlight a few - when you talk about the darker themes versus the lighter themes. I think the show is great at taking the murder mystery side of things seriously, but at the same time, the exchanges and dynamic between the main cast is full of humour and upbeat energy. The balance, I feel is just right and that’s due to clever writing from the shows writer, Robert Thorogood.

    Another thing Robert has allowed is for us to see the characters develop during the series. As the weeks go on, we find out more and more about them and get insights to their life outside of the Honoré Police Station, which is brilliant. I feel everything becomes more exciting once we feel we know the characters in the show.

    Natcats again very interested to read your feedback, thank you for your comments. Sorry you don’t feel it reflects Caribbean life and it definitely wasn’t meant to insult anyone. Production worked very hard to reflect island culture, and all the extras and people of Guadeloupe were very involved in creating that Caribbean atmosphere and vibe. Everyone on the island was fantastically welcoming and helpful. Also, many of the cast are either from and grew up in the Caribbean. Myself (Trinidad), Don Warrington (Trinidad), Lenora Crichlow (Trinidad), Danny John Jules (Dominica) etc. The island of Saint-Marie, which is the island that Death in Paradise is set on, is a fictitious island, so I hope you agree there is some room for artistic license.

    I really do hope you all continue to enjoy the series and there’s still a lot of great things to come. I look forward to reading more comments.

  • Comment number 25.

    It seems a bit cheap (for BBC) not to get the spelling right, while using a French name. I know it's a ficticious island, but as the story and accents seem to be related to a French-speaking Carribean place, Saint-Marie really sounds silly!
    Marie (bless her) is a girl !! so please, Sainte - Marie :)

  • Comment number 26.

    lovely series just the thing for a dark winters night hope the beeb do another series. thassosjohn

  • Comment number 27.

    Love it. Lots more please. Is this going to be a very long running regular series, because I would seriously miss it now if it wasn't?

  • Comment number 28.

    i'm from Canada Quebec so i watch the serie on the net .
    i watched the first episode i cant stop i watched 6 episodes none stop :-)
    Death in Paradise is now on my top 3 best serie keep on the awsome work !

  • Comment number 29.

    Love the series and so agree with NatCat and introduce some real French-Caribbean island music, i.e. Zouk, Kassav even a bit of soca. It's not Jamaica!! We of the Saint-Marie type islands have deep French and African roots, so we don't only listen to reggae!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Also loving the series; the setting, the casting, the plots - makes for a programme that I look forward to each week. Please make sure there are many more series.

  • Comment number 31.

    I agree with Mosie this is the best programme I have watched in a long time, after the 8th episode please don't let it disappear. This is pure entertainment well done all the cast.
    thank you jojomega

  • Comment number 32.

    What a Gem. This program can be watched by all the family and strikes just the right tone, its light but intelligent with an excellent cast. Just what we need at the moment. Please, Please commission another series.

  • Comment number 33.

    This is such a refreshing programme to watch, beautiful location that takes me away from a cold scottish winter! Love the bar that Ben Stiller gets his cup of tea in - just love the whole feel of this programme - the characters are great to watch - with their own wee character traits - oh Aunty beeb you definitely need to make another series of this its brilliant!

  • Comment number 34.

    Excellent easy going series where the British stiff upper lip tends to wilt amusingly in the hot sun.

    By the way does anyone know where I can get the listings of the music for each episodes as some of the tracks are really good??

  • Comment number 35.

    My wife and I love this series - it is admittedly light but we look forward to each episode and it makes us smile. We love the characters and the interplay between them. We watched and enjoyed the final episode tonight and hoped there would be an announcement afterwards about a follow up series - sadly there wasn't. If anyone from the BBC reads this - please make another series - this is good entertainment and worth the license fee.

  • Comment number 36.

    I have really enjoyed this series and hope there will be another. I agree with the last comments and trust the writers can come up with new plots. The characters make up an interesting team and you really feel at home with them. The plots are also ingenious, as are the solutions and it is a programme I have looked forward to, more than Midsomer Murders.

  • Comment number 37.

    We've just watched the last in series and really hope that the BBC make another. With a great cast, fantastic setting and really catchy theme tune, all wrapped up in a light hearted script, what better better way to relax on a wet and cold winters night :D

  • Comment number 38.

    I quite enjoyed all 8 episodes and is hoping that BBC will continue this series in the New Year.

  • Comment number 39.

    I enjoyed the series. I wouldn't go a far as saying it was insulting to Caribbean people but at the same time I don't think it was truly representative of Caribbean culuture, a least not in my experience.

    I also found the number of white actors in each programme gave the impression that this fictitious island had quite a population of white people. However I guess this may be so because the series is aimed at a white audience and lets face it no one can afford to be picky when it comes to economics.

    I thought the first few episodes were the best, I loved the subtle play of language and piss taking that went on eg when a finger print chart was produced that I felt was sending up the genre lol.

    So as a poster said, the best way to view the series is as a spoof and enjoy the scenery and the lightweight plots. Richard the detective really made me mad at places so that was good characterisation.

    Thanks Gary for a great, well written blog. I love your easy style and crystal clear communication which made it a pleasure to read and something for other bloggers to emulate.

  • Comment number 40.

    Brilliant series. Great cast. Great location. Lets have many more of them. Preferably in our British winter.

  • Comment number 41.

    Loved the series! I really hope there's a second season. On a side note, if the producers need an authentic looking map of Ste. Marie to use in promos or the DVD then I'm your man as I'm a professional map artist (shameless plug!).

    Once again, great work by everyone and thanks for your contribution as loyal police companion!

  • Comment number 42.

    Thoroughly love this program, escapism at its best. Great cast, fast episodes, beautiful locations.....please lets have more...lots more

  • Comment number 43.

    This series is full of caricatures and stereotypes (Richard Poole and the English female sergeant replacing him when he had a fever ) That was the most shocking piece of overacting on her part I think I've ever seen. English = eccentric and grumpy. Islanders = laid back and not as clever.The clues are so obvious that a child could work out 'whodunnit'. Having said that that I still love it. It's very entertaining and the scenery is beautiful and I enjoy the not-so-challenging pastime of working out the motive, opportunity and guilty party before Poole, which is way too easy. I mean 'Nadia Selim' As soon as I saw the name I'd read it backwards, so I was on the lookout for Aidan Miles before we knew he existed, and it was obvious too that the dog had the info. In this respect it is a bit of an insult to the intelligence, but it does have a certain charm, mainly due to the location and music.

  • Comment number 44.

    I really love this series, it just makes you happy,sun,sand and Caribbean music. Murder rate a bit high, but then there wouldn`t be a series without the murders. Any chance you could fly me out to play a victim ? Hope you repeat the series.

  • Comment number 45.

    Excellent series. Please re-commission. Can someone from the BBC please explain how they use their computers in the Police Station - none of the monitors have ever had a power cable in them in any episode!

  • Comment number 46.

    It's so great to see that so many people are enjoying this series.. I really have, and while I have my concerns, I would love to see another one. BBC, don't let it die, please.

    Gary, thanks for writing in. I am sure we all appreciate it. I'm aware that some of the cast are themselves Caribbean (or have Caribbean heritage) and I also appreciate poetic and artistic license as you say. I still have to stress that while all of this is good fun, there are a considerable number of Caribbean views (or at least people with Caribbean knowledge) who would notice the little things (and let's face it, it's always the little things). Plus, I hate it when "white" screenwriters and producers feel the need to portray Caribbean people as voodoo-men/women who hang around drinking all day and partying all night (the latter, however can be true in some cases) and are all thick! When will this divide end and when will my fellow black, mixed-race, etc. people (and sensible white ones) stand up against these ridiculous stereotypes, waving them out to "artistic license" ..

    Now I suppose I should not be so fussy and controversial, after all it is meant to be a lighthearted drama, but I fear at times that if we keep letting these things slide, they will continue to happen.

    All that said.... LONG LIVE death in paradise!!! Gary, you're brilliant in it!

  • Comment number 47.

    There's a lot to be said for a witty, well-written, entertaining series where you know your senses are not going to brutally assaulted by some 'gritty', urban, 'real-life' scenes. Yes, it's pure escapism but frankly, life is hard enough as it is, so long live some escaping. Another series, please.

  • Comment number 48.

    Great escapism TV which we found very entertaining. The series quickly laid down a bunch of interesting characters; Ben Miller's characterisation of DI Poole reminds me so much of the late Leonard Rossiter's delivery. His relationship and interplay with Sara Martins is delightfully funny; just as the relationship between Fidel and Dwayne developed over the episodes. I just hope, Gary, that we'll have the pleasure of seeing you once again - in the second series!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Being that I live and work in and around the Caribbean, I think the series has really picked up the atmosphere and character, besides the wonderful French/English (even German) jibes and the intriguing crime investigations - but I wonder..... so many murders on such a small island ?

  • Comment number 50.

    I have watched every episode of this series and like the comment made above by Foz Regalo I agree about the Leonard Rossiter's delivery. I heard on the radio that Ben Miller did find it rather hot in Guadlope but can we please have a second series.

  • Comment number 51.

    just for the people getting all bent out of shape about this isn`t or that isn`t right. i don`t think many english detectives would walk about in a suit with a briefcase all the time, please allow for artistic licence. it is an excellent show and the characters have great chemistry....just enjoy it...please

  • Comment number 52.

    I absolutely loved this series, best thing on since Ashes to Ashes. I really hope there is a second series and that all the regulars (including the gecko) will be there. Bravo!

  • Comment number 53.

    I love this show. It's better than Sherlock Holmes! I don't quite like Holmes because he's so logical and reasonable while being less "human". However, in this show the detective inspector is logical, reasonable and human. He was so lovely when he escaped from work and asked for a cup of tea. Please do the second season!

  • Comment number 54.

    I loved it straight out of the 'box'.

    The charm of "Death In Paradise is a lot lighter with its humour and the fun dynamic" is what appeals to me.

    I am glad to see such a series after the endging of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

    I of course 'hate' the BBC for scheduling it during winter time!!!

    I am also VERY pleased to see Mr Danny John-Jules get a part like this worthy of his talents. I was saddened to see him end up doing chidren's programmes or bit parts in various tv and film productions after the ending of Red Dwarf.

    Of course I hope there will follow more serieses with more than just 8 episodes (understandable as it is new venture) - minimum of 12 please BBC.

    Well done to all.

  • Comment number 55.

    really love this serial light hearted but still holds your attention - each character is spot on! we actually make sure to watch this (its the only thing at the moment on tv we don't miss). - well written, entertaining and great characters (all the cast)!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Help were can i get the theme music ot death in paradise i would like to purchse the music if there is an album as it sounds happy

  • Comment number 57.

    Love this programme, light hearted, easy watching...great characters, camille ( sara Martins ) is gorgeous :)

    keep em coming !

  • Comment number 58.

    Agree with most of the comments i.e it is all done in an easy thinking way-excellent please make another series for next winter. I think the actors are very good at portraying what they are meant to-wonderful!

 

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