When it comes to sleuthing, Ralf Little goes a long way; Death in Paradise is back for a tenth series and Rachael Popow is glad Detective Parker and co are bringing us a little ray of Caribbean sunshine.
Byline: Rachael Popow
THERE are lots of reasons that Death in Paradise has become a ratings banker for the BBC. There's the Caribbean location, the parade of guest stars and the intriguing whodunnits for a start.
The show has even proved it is bigger than any one actor. When it first aired back in 2011, it focused on fish-out-ofwater British detective Richard Poole, who was played by Ben Miller.
When Miller left, he was replaced by Kris Marshall as Humphrey, and the show remained just as popular.
Marshall made way for Ardal O'Hanlon in 2017, who in turn left during the previous series, leaving DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) in charge.
All these lead actors have put their own stamp on the series, as have the supporting cast (which has also seen its fair share of changes).
But as Death in Paradise returns for its 10th anniversary series, perhaps we should also acknowledge the BBC's canniness in scheduling it in early January.
Since series two this has been the show's traditional slot, bringing ralf Neville viewers a dose of sunshine just when they need it the most - and after the year we've all just had, the escapism will be especially welcome.
It might also explain why, even given the difficulties of f ilming during a pandemic, the series has still attracted an impressive line-up of guest stars.
Over the coming weeks, we'll see appearances by Jason Manford (Ordinary Lies),
Gbemisola Ikumelo (Famalam), Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale), Luke Pasqualino (Our Girl), Patrick Robinson (Sitting in Limbo), Danielle Vitalis (I May Destroy You), Laura Aikman (The Split) and Steve Edge (Benidorm), among many others.
When asked what we can expect from the show, star Ralf says: "More of the same, you don't get a successful show for 10 years without knowing what works.
"Plenty of beautiful scenery from the Caribbean, plenty of mystery and intrigue and clever puzzles.
"We have Josephine Jobert (Detective Sergeant Florence Cassell) who is back and legendary in this series. Neville finds himself confronted by this very beautiful, smart woman who he's not quite sure how to talk to. She's incredibly kind and generous and they hit it of f and seem to get on really well. Plus there's a few extra surprises for people to look forward to."
as DI Parker
" In the opening episode, Neville Parker (Ralf) and his team are looking into the death of Melanie Sharpe (Eleanor Fanyinka), a reporter on a local TV show Today with Tourne. Suspicion initially falls on Gafield Tourne (Patrick Robinson), and his daughter and fellow reporter Helene (Shalisha James-Davis), but the case soon becomes more complex.
Will the unexpected return of an experienced DS help the team get to the bottom of it? | Death in Paradise is on BBC1, Thursday at 9pm
Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker