It’s that time of year. The magic of Christmas is over, the joyless task of packing away the decorations has begun and the prospect of a long, cold January is looming large.
Step forward Death in Paradise. The hit BBC One drama has burst back onto our screens bringing with it sunshine, laughter and the perfect antidote to the January blues. It’s TV escapism at its very best. The show transports us from our rainy, jumper-clad days to the beaches of Saint-Marie and it’s Hawaiian shirts, shades and colourful shorts.
It’s the fifth season of the comedy crime drama and while in some ways everything has changed over the last five years, in many other respects nothing has changed at all. Honore police station has almost had more officers than the Sugababes have had singers, but the basics of the show remain the same. D.I Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) leads his team, which has seen Fidel and Camille make way for J.P and Florence, and includes Danny John-Jules as the enigmatic Dwayne, as they dash around the beautiful fictional island of Saint Marie investigating a murder, all under the watchful gaze of Don Warrington as the brilliant Commissioner.
We all watch, captivated and entertained by every move, anticipating the moment when Goodman pieces together seemingly impossible clues and arrives at his Eureka moment, at which point we can all sit back and wait for the answers to be revealed. You might think such a telegraphed plot would get tiresome after five years, but the show has kept its charm and light-hearted mystery which has seen it retain a loyal fan base and attract millions of viewers every year. It’s not for everyone, it doesn’t have the scientific detail of a Silent Witness or a high-brow feel of a Lewis but Death in Paradise sticks to what it does well and will continue to thrive.
In this opening episode of this fifth series, a victim is shot during the course of a marine biologists diving trip. Four potential suspects, all of whom would seemingly have been unable to be at the scene of the crime without being seen, making it the classic ‘impossible murder’. Along the way we become reacquainted with the Inspector’s pet lizard Harry, learn that one of the officers on the island can’t swim and see Goodman buy a boat try to cut it as a sailor. It’s textbook Death in Paradise fare and it’s not giving away any spoilers to say that the team get to the bottom of the case.
The magic of any TV show is that it takes us out of our lives and delivers us into another world. With its Caribbean backdrop, uplifting tunes and laughs aplenty; the show is pure escapism and will continue to entertain its legions of supporters.