Sure he’s wearing a suit in 37 degree heat and dealing with killers on a daily basis, but you won’t hear Kris Marshall complaining. After all he’s living the dream. For six months of the year, he escapes the dreary grey skies of England to live in the Caribbean where he films his hit BBC crime comedy, Death in Paradise.
We caught up with Kris while on break from the show. He was back in England, with the sniffles and enduring single figure temperatures unheard of in the Caribbean.
Kris, would you have been as interested in doing this show if it had been ‘Death in Antarctica’?
“Yeah I think I would actually! Of course the draw of the show for me was the lightness of the script and also where it is filmed. That is quite a big draw: ‘Do you fancy spending 6 months of the year in the Caribbean?’... yes I do! “
Of course there are some minor setbacks.
“In the last seven years I have done two jobs in England. My skin is like leather! For a Pom! And we shoot the film during the hurricane season so it is not the main tourist season in the Caribbean. It’s not the Caribbean that tourists think about - light onshore breezes, 28 degrees, very lovely. In the last week we shot last year it was 42 degrees!”
This is the third series for Kris’ character DI Humphrey Goodman and 5th in total for this much loved crime caper. After DI Richard Poole’s untimely death at the beginning of Series 3, DI Goodman arrived on the fictional island of Saint Marie bringing with him an affable, quirky style which audiences responded to resoundingly. The show boasts 8.5 million viewers in the UK alone, plus a huge fan base in France and here in Australia.
“For the first two years [in the Caribbean] nobody knew who I was, which was great because I am a very recognisable face in the UK and in Australia. Living in the Caribbean was a great split from that. I never got troubled or bothered until the show became massive in France. I went back last year and there were people on the beach staring at me. And I was like, ‘Why are people staring at me? And I thought oh God the English have arrived, oh my God they’re English people!’ because that’s the kind of thing that I had experienced in England! But they weren’t English, they were French and the show is now enormous in France - something like the second biggest show. And so my house as an escape pod is nothing of the sort anymore! “
With such a huge following for the show, there is a lot of anticipation when each new series comes around. What can we expect in this latest series?
“Over the past two series there’s always been quite major cast changes, so what’s been really beautiful about this 5th series is that there are no major cast changes, no one leaves, no one arrives. [And] there’s a wedding - but I can’t tell you whose wedding it is!”
[Typical detective, playing his cards close to his chest]. Do you have a favourite murder from the series then?
“Ep 4 - it’s a very local episode and the murder is very intrinsic. It’s a friend of Dwayne’s who dies and Dwayne is at the funeral and after they put him [the corpse] in the crematorium and he’s basically been burnt and you can see smoke coming out of the chimney (!), [Dwayne] gets a text from the dead guy saying ‘I was murdered’. "
The murders are always deliciously intriguing in Death in Paradise . And over the 5 series, guest stars including Neil Morrissey, James Fox and Maggie O’Neill have been embroiled in these crimes . If you could have one guest star in the show, who would you love it to be?
I would absolutely love John Cleese. I worked with John last year actually, I did a small little job with him and I said to him ‘You need to come out and do our show!’ He would absolutely excel in the dryness [of the show]. He was keen... I’d love to see it happen! I’m still working on it.”
When Kris isn’t putting in the long hours on set- sometimes they are shooting 8/9 pages of script a day - he spends time with his family and likes to listen to Reggae and Dubstep. Time to read a good book can be hard to find, especially with scripts to learn and a three- year old son Thomas who has his own idea of ‘fun with Dad’.
He’s got this thing now, this thing that he does where he basically finds the highest point in the vicinity and just leaps on me! It’s like ‘how can I break my father?’!”
We hope Kris Marshall stays in one piece long enough to film Series 6! It has just been announced by the BBC and will start filming in a few months.
Death in Paradise, Series 5 - on DVD March 16.