Christmas and murder in the Caribbean | TV

The population of the paradisiacal Caribbean island of Saint Marie can no longer sleep peacefully even at Christmas. Just as Detective Neville Parker prepares to return to Manchester for Christmas, a billionaire is found murdered under strange circumstances. Thus begins the investigation that occupies the first special Christmas chapter of Crime in paradise. The episode, of double duration, will be able to be seen in COSMO on Sunday, January 2 at 8:30 p.m.

The case of this series may seem surprising. It is one of the BBC’s greatest successes, with audiences that, since its third season (it has been broadcast for 10 and has already been renewed for two other installments), have not dropped below eight million viewers on average, sometimes exceeding nine million. He achieves this with a classic formula: in each chapter there is a murder and several suspects among which the detective, assisted by other members of the police station, must find the culprit. “It’s a classic genre, but it has a fun twist,” says Tim Key, the show’s executive producer, in a video call interview. “The characters are nice, it’s an upbeat show, the whole family can watch it … There aren’t many dramas that offer that. He has a heart, that’s what people respond to. ” For her part, Elizabeth Bourgine, an actress who has repeatedly participated in the series since its inception, highlights the scripts and characters that “are growing, with all the history behind them and that is being built little by little.”

Ralf Little and Joséphine Jobert, in an image from the Christmas special of 'Crime in Paradise'.
Ralf Little and Joséphine Jobert, in an image from the Christmas special of ‘Crime in Paradise’.Denis Guyenon (BBC / Red Planet / Denis Guyenon)

The Guadeloupe archipelago, a French territory in the Antilles, is in charge of providing the exotic background to the series. There, a British and French team work for almost six months a year on this production. “It’s great to record on an island, I’m not going to complain,” says actress Joséphine Jobert, co-star of the series, from her home in Paris in another window of the video call, “but it’s not as easy as people may think” . High temperatures, combined with humidity and a very changeable climate, make filming difficult. “But at least on weekends you can tour the island, go to the beach, see the waterfalls …”, says Jobert. The complications derived from filming on an island so far from home can attest to the four male actors who have already starred in this series, some of whom abandoned it due to the difficulty of balancing family and work life.

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For Tim Key, producing a series that is shot on an island poses additional problems. “Every year I know that a call will come with a problem that I did not expect. This year has been especially particular. The world is now a very complicated and strange place, and the covid has made everything more complicated ”, explains the producer. During the recording of the 11th season, this year, the team had to deal with the conditions that marked a pandemic that in Guadeloupe hit harder than in 2020. “There were a lot of lockdowns, curfews… We had to be locked up a lot more usual time. Luckily we are all healthy and everyone was happy to have a job. Of course, when you watch the series, on the screen there is no trace of covid ”, continues the producer.

An image from the Christmas special 'Crime in Paradise'.
An image from the Christmas special ‘Crime in Paradise’.Denis Guyenon (BBC / Red Planet / Denis Guyenon)

With this broadcast, the series points to the British tradition of programming special episodes of some of its most popular fictions during the Christmas holidays. Why now and not in the previous nine seasons? “They had never asked us, and we were very offended by that,” says Key wryly. “Our series is perfect to have a Christmas special. For years we asked if we could have it and they said ‘not this year’. And suddenly they said yes. ” Series like Call the midwife, Ghosts, All creatures great and small or the soap opera EastEnders This year they have specials that will try to bring the whole family together in front of the screen in the United Kingdom. The producer is surprised when he discovers that neither in Spain nor in France, as the actresses confirm, this tradition exists in television fiction. “In the UK it’s a great date. The series tend to make them more optimistic and happy, and ours is one of them ”.

One of the reasons that British television analysts often give to the success of Crime in paradise It is the time of year when it is broadcast in the United Kingdom, between January and March, when the public most wants to escape the cold and rain by looking at paradisiacal beaches on their television. Are difficult conditions in reality, such as bad weather or a pandemic, helping your series perform better? “I think people are always ready to see something happy, especially at this time. Hopefully we can provide that. It’s normal for people to need optimism and warmth when things are tough, and our series is perfectly designed for that. “

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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