There’s bad news and better news to report about the hit mystery program Death in Paradise. First, the better: Kris Marshall is joining the cast. Now the bad: Ben Miller is leaving.
My first reaction to the BBC’s announcement of Miller’s departure from Death in Paradise was, “Say it isn’t so!” But so it is.
After playing the uptight, fish-out-of-UK-waters DI Richard Poole for two series, Miller is bidding adieu to Poole and the fictional French Caribbean island of Sainte-Marie and heading off for other pastures, green or otherwise. Said Miller:
“I have absolutely loved my time on Death In Paradise and am sad to be leaving such a successful show. However, DI Poole has made no secret of his struggle with the Caribbean heat, so I felt now was a good time to put him out of his misery! I know Kris will do a superb job and I’m delighted to be handing over the detective baton to him.”
Marshall, who is probably best known to stateside viewers for his roles as Colin in the hit film Love Actually and Nick in the Britcom My Family will play the “bright, but rather disorganised and gawky DI Humphrey Goodman, who is stuck in a mid-life rut and is looking to find a new life and fresh start.” About the show and his new role, Marshall shared this:
“I am thrilled to be joining Death In Paradise and finding out a bit more about what makes Humphrey tick. Six months filming on a tropical island with an amazing cast and glorious sunshine? What isn’t there to love! I might even get myself a parrot!”
So much of the flavor and fun of Death in Paradise has been due to Miller’s Poole, from his mini British-vs-French rows with DS Camille Bordey (Sara Martins) and one-way conversations with “housemate” Harry, the green lizard (gecko?), to his social cluelessness and I-know-who-the-killer-is ah-ha moments. So it will be interesting to see what Marshall does with Goodman and how he and the writers integrate the new character into the show.
Details regarding how and when Miller will depart have been tightly under wraps, so we’ll just have to wait until Death in Paradise returns in 2014 to find out. Filming of the third series begins next month on the real Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
In the meantime, viewers in the U.S. can catch Series One and Two on telly on select PBS member stations.