The Death in Paradise spin-off kicks off this Friday, 24th February.
New adventures await DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) as he trades the Caribbean sunshine for the Devonshire coast in Beyond Paradise. However, despite the idyllic surroundings, his new beat of Shipton Abbott contains plenty to keep the detective busy.
Across the six-part run, there’s a series of bizarre crimes to deal with. These include an entire family disappearing, a body in a crop circle and a serial arsonist with a penchant for nursery rhymes.
At the same time, Humphrey’s fiancée Martha (Sally Bretton) is pursuing the dream of running a café in her hometown.
There’s more on the show here, including the guest cast, and below we hear from its creator and stars.
The show’s creator/executive producer Tony Jordan talks about the impetus for creating Beyond Paradise:
“Everyone knows about Death in Paradise; it’s been around for a long time now and brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. There aren’t many shows around like that; everything’s a bit gritty, dark and depressing. There are not many shows that make you feel good by the time you get to the end of them. Death in Paradise does that, so we thought why don’t we do it again and find a way of expanding that universe? That was the first kernel of thought for Beyond Paradise.”
He also explains what’s happened to its two main characters since viewers last saw them:
“We talk about what Humphrey and Martha have been doing since the end of Death in Paradise. They went to London, Humphrey worked for the Met, Martha worked in a restaurant and then they got hit with the pandemic. As we came out of the pandemic, nothing was the same again and life wasn’t what they expected it to be. While they were deciding if they wanted to be in London, Martha discovered that her father had died suddenly in Devon, and her mother was now alone.”
And addresses what we can expect from the show:
“Two things: one hundred per cent it will make you laugh, and I also hope it will make you cry, because the serial story between Humphrey and Martha is touching. Every episode will give you a puzzle and you can join in and try and work it out. Beyond Paradise is about merging the weekly crime narrative with Martha and Humphrey’s story.”
Kris Marshall reprises his role as DI Humphrey Goodman
Endearingly awkward, often clumsy, with a genius ability to solve the most fiendishly difficult crimes, there’s no other detective quite like Humphrey Goodman. His brain works in a different way to everyone else, which means he can spot the one detail that others would miss. He’s generally very upbeat, but due to his strict and rather unemotional upbringing, he struggles with showing vulnerability, often reaching for humour in the face of adversity.
Kris Marshall talks about how it felt to return to the role:
“[It was] Really easy, actually. It’s like slipping on an old pair of slippers. He’s a comfortable, lovely old friend -it’s just delightful to play him again.”
He also considers the global appeal of these shows:
“In my experience of doing Death in Paradise, when people have come up to me and said how much they enjoy the show – all over the world – they’ve often said how much it’s made them bond with members of their own family. Mothers and fathers have said it’s helped them bond with their teenage kids, parents have said they can bond with their parents and grandparents. It’s a family show that you can sit down and watch with everyone. Despite the subject matter, it’s kind of feel good.”
“With there being many gritty and brilliant cop dramas out there, I think in our kind of shows sail down a different path and make it more fun and more tongue-in-cheek. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
And talks about the attractions of filming on location in Devon and Cornwall:
“I’m a Somerset boy by birth and I grew up there as well. Somerset is the next county along from Devon and Cornwall, so it’s all part of the West Country and in my opinion it’s the most beautiful part of the UK. It has everything; cider, cheese, countryside, amazing coastline. Probably my favourite spot in the area is in Cornwall, and it’s a Cove called Kynance Cove. It’s like a smuggler’s paradise down there. The sand is white and there’s crystal clear blue sea. If it wasn’t so cold, you would think you were in the Caribbean.”
Sally Bretton returns to the role of Martha Lloyd
Smart, down-to-earth and funny, Martha is the Yin to Humphrey’s Yang. Growing up as an only child, Martha looked up to her hard-working father. This gave her the drive to make her own way in the world which is why she’s got so much riding on her new café. At times, she has to pinch herself – she’s finally realising her dream. Martha is her own harshest critic however, so needs to be kinder to herself.
Sally Bretton picks up the story:
“Martha and Humphrey are in the spare room at Martha’s mum’s house – they don’t have anywhere to live. Humphrey hasn’t started work at the local police station yet and Martha doesn’t have premises for this restaurant dream of hers. They’ve landed and all these things need to happen; where will they live? Will they have the finances? You’re right at the beginning of the journey with them.”
She also talks about the relationship between Martha and her mother Anne (Barbara Flynn):
“Martha’s mum, Anne, can get quite involved in Martha’s life, so she’s very guarded about what she shares. She does end up always telling her everything, but she starts off trying to keep her slightly at arm’s length as she is very interested and has strong opinions about what Martha should do. Martha’s always trying to keep a few boundaries in place, which her mum usually just walks straight through!”
And addresses what Death in Paradise fans can expect too:
“It’s got the same tone, it’s got that lightness of touch, you’ve got the crime and the fun elements too. Humphrey was a very popular detective and people care about him. I got asked a lot about what happened and whether they lived happily ever after.”
Beyond Paradise comes to BBC One and iPlayer on Friday 24th February.