Death In Paradise: Playing a detective in the Caribbean


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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 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.

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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