Episode 7 - Kris Marshall & Ben Miller

On starring in Death in Paradise.

Kris Marshall and Mark Billingham

Kris Marshall, the star of the extremely successful, long-running series Death in Paradise, dropped in to the A Stab in the Dark studio to chat to host Mark Billingham about his career and experiences on the popular crime drama.

Kris talks about how he thinks it's no coincidence that the BBC schedules each new series of Death in Paradise in January, which just so happens to be "the most depressing time in the annual calendar" just after Christmas and the New Year celebrations. Describing the series as "murder with nice hair", Kris loves the light-hearted tone of the show and believes the clue is in his character Humphrey Goodman's surname: "good man."

Death in Paradise is murder with nice hair

Mark Billingham and Kris Marshall in the studio.

Mark Billingham and Kris Marshall in the studio.

Having seen Death in Paradise in passing (his wife is a big fan!), Kris started watching from series two while auditioning for the role replacing Ben Miller's lead character, Richard Poole.

We hear about the pressure Kris was under in replacing a firm favourite character, what's coming up in the new series, and the trials and tribulations of filming on a Caribbean island, including run-ins with the infamous Scolopendra centipede.

Furthermore, Mark delves into Kris' early career in comedy, having started out as a straight actor, although perhaps with a "boyish and feckless" streak. After rising to stardom in My Family, Kris made a concerted decision to try and move away from the rather crazy, inane son in a family sitcom with appearances in Funland and Murder City, before a role in the Hollywood film Love Actually.

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Meanwhile, Paul Hirons digs out an interview with Ben Miller, the previous star of Death in Paradise. Ben regales us about playing Richard Poole, his character and foibles, and the incredible sets and beach location. We also hear of the dangers the Death in Paradise presents, with an anecdote in which he nearly drowned having gone for a splash in the sea. There's some excellent first-hand advice in there.

Guest Recommendations

In each episode we ask our guest to recommend a crime book and television series for you to go away and consume. In this episode Kris brought Marigold Dark by Paul Bisson, a recommendation that he found in a newspaper and is available online. Marigold Dark focuses on what has become of Jersey since high finance took over and, as Mark jokes, Bergerac ended. Kris' recommended watch is one from the past, the fantastic Rockford Files. Kris is a massive fan of old crime dramas and is particularly in praise of star James Garner.