Death in Paradise deserters: Why everyone quit the show

Cameron K McEwan
Photo credit: Digital Spy - BBC

From Digital Spy

It's BBC One's warm blanket in winter, a detective series set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie with weekly murders and a helping of sun to keep you watching.

Death in Paradise has become one of the channel's top performers, pulling in big numbers every year.

Yet the show is also one of those rare things on TV: a show that has recast its main lead and continued to be a success. And since it began in 2011, the entire cast has been changed almost completely. They just keep leaving, with Ardal O'Hanlon the latest to stow away on a liner back to the UK.

But why would anyone want to leave such a seemingly dream job in such a dream location? Below we look into the reasons why… Spoilers follow, obviously.

1. Ben Miller – DI Richard Poole

Photo credit: BBC

The comedic actor left the sunny climes of the Caribbean and his role as DI Poole in 2014, when Poole was killed off during the first episode of the third series.

As it turns out, Miller had a very understandable reason for leaving his new hit show – he was about to become a dad and wanted to save his relationship. Quite the double-whammy.

"Two weeks after I arrived in the Caribbean, Jessica found out that she was pregnant," he revealed. "I've just got divorced and I've finally met somebody and now I'm on the other side of the world and we're having a baby. That's a proper curveball to be on the end of. So I knew what I had to do to get my wife back – quit Death in Paradise!"

Miller hasn't ruled out a return, though. When asked by Digital Spy he commented, "Yeah, of course I would. It would be great fun! I love the character, he's fantastic fun to do. But there's no talk of that whatsoever, to be honest with you. It was pretty final, I thought!"

2. Gary Carr – Fidel Best

Photo credit: Red Planet Pictures

In the series-four opener, DiP fans discovered that Fidel had been promoted and got himself a job on the neighbouring island of St Lucia. No brassy farewell for Best.

Carr hasn't actually gone into detail about his decision to leave the show after three series as the protocol-obsessed Fidel but co-star Kris Marshall wasn't surprised when the actor didn't return for series four. "It wasn't a shock," he told Digital Spy.

Marshall, who would go on to leave the show in 2017, explained that Carr just wanted to "move on" from the role: "I understand where he is coming from. I was just the same when I was younger. He wants to move on."

The former Downton Abbey actor went on to play pimp CC alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal on HBO's porn drama The Deuce.

3. Sara Martins – DS Camille Bordey

Photo credit: BBC

Martins bridged the transition between leading men Ben Miller and Kris Marshall as their partner, the spontaneous detective Camille. She left during the fourth series when her character bagged an undercover job in Paris, though the decision was down to her.

The Portuguese actor told What's On TV? that it was "tremendously hard" leaving the show, explaining: "But the only way to grow in life is to take risks, even if it means losing something you love, or leaving a place that's comfortable. You should always go forward and take new challenges."

But don't rule out a return for DS Bordey – Martins also said: "We wanted to make the best exit, and they didn't want to kill me off, there was no reason to. And who knows? There's always the possibility I can come back."

4. Kris Marshall – DI Humphrey Goodman

Photo credit: BBC/Red Planet/Steffan Hill

Kris came in as Ben Miller's replacement at the start of the third series in 2014 and stayed until 2017, when his character exited for love in London.

While it was rumoured heavily that Marshall had left Death In Paradise to become the new Doctor in Doctor Who – or even her new companion – it was actually more down-to-earth reasons that brought an end to his time in the Caribbean.

Speaking to the Radio Times, the actor explained that he and his wife had agreed he could do the show for a "few years" until raising a young family "became impractical" for the couple.

"It's something my wife and I discussed three or four years ago," Marshall said. "When I was first offered the job, my son was six months old and my wife wasn't working, so it was a very easy decision. We decided I would do Death in Paradise for a few years until it became impractical.

"It was always quite a finite thing. I certainly didn't hide it from anyone I work with. I'm going to miss it terribly. There have already been times when I've thought to myself, 'Have I made the right decision?'"

Maybe he'll return one day?

5. Danny John-Jules – Dwayne Myers

Photo credit: BBC

When Death In Paradise returned for its eighth series, it was without one of its beloved stars, Danny John-Jules.

Danny, who went on to dazzle on the dancefloor on Strictly Come Dancing, told TV Times: "I left Death in Paradise because I wanted to get back on stage. I needed a bit more razzmatazz in my life, and then along came Strictly!"

His exit from the Caribbean island might not be as conclusive as fans once thought though, as the actor has also revealed that he'd like to do a Dwayne spin-off.

"I have an idea, but I just need to meet up with the producer, Tony Jordan, to touch base and run it past him," he teased.

6. Joséphine Jobert - Florence Cassell

Photo credit: Denis Guyenon - BBC


Jobert departed Saint Marie midway through series eight.

Jobert, who'd been on the series since 2014, said she chose to leave for "personal and professional reasons" but said it was a "tough" decision to make, thanking viewers for all their "love" and "support".

On-screen, Florence decided to leave Saint Marie following the murder of her fiancé Patrice (Leemore Marrett Jr) and a near-death experience of her own.

7. Jack Mooney - Ardal O'Hanlon

Photo credit: BBC/Red Planet Pictures/Denis Guyenon

The third British detective to fly in and then out again was Father Ted's Ardal O'Hanlon, who'll be replaced by Ralf Little in the upcoming season.

"I've spent the last four summers in Guadeloupe playing DI Jack Mooney, solving over 20 murder cases in my time there!" he said. "It's been a hugely rewarding and unforgettable experience, working with incredibly talented actors, directors, and crew while discovering a magical part of the world."

There's no official reason given for his departure, but this comment gives a hint: "It's time to move on and explore other opportunities – preferably nearer the Arctic Circle."

So it turns out it maybe was the weather after all?

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