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Beyond Paradise - Secrets from the Set: Crossover episodes, a Cornish Terminator and series 2 mysteries
Cast Kris Marshall, Dylan Llewellyn and creators Tim Key and Tony Jordan take us behind-the-scenes on Death in Paradise spinoff, Beyond Paradise.
What happens after the ‘happy ever after’?
That’s the mystery Beyond Paradise attempts to solve as it picks up the story of Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) and Martha Lloyd (Sally Bretton), who we last saw sailing off into the sunset together on BBC One crime drama Death in Paradise in 2017.
The much-loved couple have relocated to the picturesque and fictional Devon town of Shipton Abbott, Martha is starting her own business and Humphrey is taking charge of the local police force.
A mix of glorious South West sunshine and puzzle box mysteries, the show will tick the box of all Death in Paradise fans, but there’s also an emotional character-driven storyline between Humphrey and Martha that gives the series a different flavour to its Caribbean sibling.
We heard from the cast, including Kris Marshall and Dylan Llewellyn (Derry Girls, Big Boys) and the show’s writer, Tony Jordan, and executive producer, Tim Key, to find out some behind-the-scenes secrets about the new addictive crime drama…
Beyond Paradise had to be the same as Death in Paradise… and totally different
"Tim’s brief was perfect. It has to be exactly the same show as Death in Paradise and totally different," laughs Tony Jordan. "Which is what every writer wants to hear.
"In Death in Paradise you have the team, who feel like a family, you want as a viewer to be there and be part of it. The second thing people love is the puzzle. We knew we had to have the puzzle. And the third part is the denouement when Humphrey would gather everyone in the same room and explain and solve the mystery.
"We knew we had to do something with that. So we actually see the characters in the crime scene and in the room. Humphrey explains the crime as the action happens around them. Having that element was when Beyond Paradise became a show in its own right. It was no longer just a spinoff of Death in Paradise. It was a show worthy of its own space."
Nobody wanted to rehash Death in Paradise
"My big thing is doing things for the right reason. If I smelt a whiff of cynicism, I wouldn’t have come anywhere near it," said Jordan.
"[Red Planet Productions] will never say, that’s a good show, just do another one. F**k that. If it's a great idea, we’ll explore it and do it with some integrity and class."
Kris Marshall believes simply making the same show, but setting it in the UK, just wouldn’t work.
"Or it might work, but it will be a bit lazy," said Marshall.
"But then I read the first script and I just thought, wow, this is different. Completely different. It shares the same DNA, but it is totally unique."
Producer Tim Key said creating a new show allowed them to build a new show format and "dig into the characters".
"In Death in Paradise, the show is so tightly formatted around the puzzle, it’s not as easy to do that. This felt like a fresh opportunity to do it.
"We're telling a story about a couple who love each other and there is no doubt they are meant to be together, but you perhaps wonder, where do they go from here? We’re telling a story about what family means and how relationships work."
Shipton Abbott has better weather than Saint Marie
"Fewer mosquitos, more sunshine, less rain, it’s brilliant," laughs Kris Marshall.
"We filmed Death in Paradise in their rainy season and we filmed in the summer over here. So I think there were more challenges over there. Less hurricanes here."
In fact, after years of complaining about the heat while filming in Guadeloupe, Kris had a familiar gripe when one of the Death in Paradise producers asked him how filming was going in Cornwall.
"I said, 'I’m really hot'. It was something I always complained about on Death in Paradise, but it was 38 degrees on the first day of filming in Cornwall. That’s climate change for you."
Meet the mini-Cornish Terminator
Derry Girls and Big Boys star Dylan Llewellyn is part of Humphrey’s new police team in Beyond Paradise, playing the naïve but keen PC Kelby.
Llewellyn gets to kick off the series with a James Bond-style sequence where he sprints across the town and jumps on a moving boat to take down a local criminal.
"My legs were all battered. I was chasing a guy who was built like a Gladiator and taking down a person twice my size, which is quite funny," he said. “I feel like a mini-Cornish Terminator.
"All this action stuff was very new to me. I’m really looking forward to everyone getting to know Kelby. He’s very naïve, but he’s a great cop and gets the job done."
How do they keep coming up with new mysteries to solve?
"It's a real struggle. We are very lucky to have [writer] Tony [Jordan] whose brain is built to make these things. Our audience are so well versed in these shows, you’re always second guessing them as well," said Key, who works across both Death in Paradise and Beyond Paradise.
"We often have half an idea and then Tony just runs with it – ‘Yeah, and what if the phone rang from inside the coffin’. He throws these glorious curveballs into the mix. Tony is the leading voice and he’s a mad genius."
The modest writer reveals that he uses the same technique on Beyond Paradise that he learned on the popular BBC series Hustle.
"You set up something impossible – the bank that can’t be robbed, the painting that can’t be stolen – the script would be finished and it would just be missing the explanation at the end," explains Jordan.
"Then I would reverse-engineer it and add bits in the script to make it look like I knew all along.
"It's the same with this. You start with a crazy idea - a dead hamster in a jam jar in the middle of the Atlantic – and then you just have to figure out how on earth it got there."
Beyond Paradise series 2 is already being written
"I’ve started writing. I don’t wait for it to be commissioned," reveals Jordan.
"We have loads of stories we couldn’t use in series 1. And Tim has a long-held ambition about filming on a steam train. Not that he’s a nerd or anything. If there’s a season 2, there will definitely an episode on a steam train."
Talking about other future plans, Key teased: "In Death in Paradise we’ve always had plans to do a massive cruise ship episode. We nearly got there once and it never quite happened. We’d still love to do that.
"I remember Tony had a great idea from Death in Paradise about someone being found in the belly of a shark. We’ll make them all work one day."
Jordan added: "I always like the idea of someone who jumps out of a plane, who never lands. We have loads of ideas like that around the office on post-it notes. One day we’ll figure out how that happens."
Will we get a Death in Paradise and Beyond Paradise crossover?
"The potential is there," says Key, refusing to reveal whether plans are already underway.
"Universe is the right word. You need to believe the two shows could feed into each other. We’ve been so lucky to work on the show with people we’re still friends with and there isn’t anyone we wouldn’t want to work with again."
And Kris Marshall is particularly keen to explore the possibility of a multi-detective storyline, where all the Death in Paradise sleuths - Ben Miller, Marshall, Ardal O’Hanlan and Ralf Little – team up on a case.
"I think it would be awesome to have all four detectives in one show together. Where their worlds collide," says the Humphrey Goodman actor.
Talking about his old co-stars, he added: "I would love to see Dwayne (Danny John-Jules) again. Humphrey and Dwayne had a wonderful relationship together.
"Humphrey had a complicated, but ultimately fulfilling relationship with the commissioner, played by the marvellous Don Warrington.
"I’d love them all back. I had a wonderful time with those guys."
Watch Beyond Paradise on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Friday 24 February.