Where is Death in Paradise filmed? Can I visit the set? Murder mystery locations revealed

Want to know where the hit BBC One murder mystery series is set? We find out.

By BT.com Published: 7 January 2020 - 2.50pm
Drama Freeview

Death In Paradise

Since Death in Paradise first aired on BBC One in 2011 it has become a smash hit and has provided a much-needed tropical escape from the British winter weather.

Set on the fictional island of Saint Marie, this murder mystery series follows the adventures – and often misadventures – of a series of British-based detectives who are transferred from their gritty London jobs to the sunny Caribbean island of Saint-Marie.

Where is Death in Paradise set?

Josephine Joubert and Ardal O Hanlon in Death In Paradise

Death in Paradise is set on the fictional island of Saint Marie, said to be in the Lesser Antilles. The BBC One drama series is actually filmed in Guadeloupe, a tropical insular region located in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. Located between Dominica and Antigua, it is a French overseas territory - and thus effectively part of France - consisting of two main islands and having a population of just over 400,000.

Because of its French roots, much of the island's population speaks French, which is why so many of the cast of Death in Paradise speak with a French accent.

Where was series 8 set?

There were some interesting new locations in series eight - which was first shown in early 2019 - as the drama visited some different parts of the island for Jack’s latest cases.

In episode one, a mysterious murder took place on a bus on the way to Honore, while episode two was set in a zoo after grisly killing takes place after hours at the tourist attraction.

A family feud seemed to be at the centre of the investigation in episode four, when a man who inherited his father’s business was murdered. The programme was partially filmed at a coffee plantation which doubled up as the Paradise Skies company, where the victim had worked.

What are the challenges of filming in the Caribbean?

You might think the idea of there being downsides to filming in a tropical paradise is ridiculous, but the producers know that it isn’t all sunbathing and sundowners.

Yvonne Francas explained: “The most challenging part of filming Death in Paradise is often the weather.

"The show is set in the Caribbean so audiences expect to see blue skies and sunshine, but because of the tropical climate it’s often cloudy and it rains… a lot!

"We also had a lot of fun with a scene in series eight where Jack has to climb a palm tree for a coconut, but it doesn’t go quite to plan. There were more meetings for that scene than any other, but no-one watching will ever know..."

 

“The favourite location on set has to be one where there’s a toilet and running water.”
- Yvonne Francas, producer Death In Paradise

She added that they take most of the problems in their stride: “We learn to love a downpour! Seriously though, the only weather that usually affects the filming schedule is a tropical storm or a hurricane where we stand down.

"Safety of crew and cast is always the primary concern, but anything other than a storm or hurricane, we just wait for the worst of the weather to pass before continuing to shoot."

Of course, some of the locations are more difficult to film in than others, and all of the cast and crew have their favourites as well as their nightmare scenes.

Yvonne said: "The most challenging set depends on who you are. The actors find the police station challenging because it’s very hot, and there are a lot of scenes scheduled which are usually procedural and therefore include a lot of dialogue.

"The camera team find it challenging because it’s a relatively small space so there are only so many camera positions for filming, and it’s also very hot.

"The sound team’s main challenge is the noise from the cockerels, the tree frogs and the cicadas especially when it’s nearing dusk as a whole chorus of animals and insects start to make themselves heard."

She went on: "The favourite location for most on set has to be one where there’s a toilet and running water. Jack’s shack is a lovely location as it’s on a beautiful beach and occasionally, if there’s time at lunch or when filming has finished, you can take full advantage of the refreshing, welcoming, turquoise sea. The perfect ending to a busy day’s filming."

Death in Paradise tourist hot spots

Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of Death in Paradise in both the UK and France, many Guadeloupe tourists request to see the show’s famous filming locations. These include:

The Botanical Gardens

Botanical gardens in Guadeloupe used in Death in Paradise

Guadeloupe’s botanical gardens are where the original DI Richard Poole (played by Ben Miller) met his untimely fate at the beginning of series three.

Open to the public and located in the stunning village of Deshaies, these botanical gardens are one of the region’s most popular tourist spots. In addition to the stunning horticulture, you can also see flamingos and lorikeets.

Langley Resort Fort Royal

To get the true Death in Paradise experience, why not stay at the hotel the crew almost always crash at? After a hard day's work filming on the stunning sandy beaches, the crew head back to Langley Resort Fort Royal, a posh ocean-side hotel that consists of both a traditional hotel building and luxury beach bungalows. And if you go during filming, you may be lucky to bump into a cast member (or two) down at their Kawann Beach Bar.

Anse La Perle

This stunning beach is where DI Humphrey Goodman’s (played by Kris Marshall) beach house is filmed. While of course the house is just a set, the public beach is very much the real deal and all are welcome to visit.

How can I get to Guadeloupe?

There are no direct flights to Guadeloupe from the UK but you can take direct flights from Paris's Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports to the island's main airport near its largest city, Pointe-à-Pitre.

You can also fly to various other Caribbean Islands and take an additional flight (in some cases two) to the region, or take a one-stop flight via Florida or New York airports.

What do the cast think of filming in Guadeloupe?

 

Denis Lawton on set of Death in Paradise

How can I get to Guadeloupe?

There are no direct flights to Guadeloupe from the UK but you can take direct flights from Paris's Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports to the island's main airport near its largest city, Pointe-à-Pitre.

You can also fly to various other Caribbean Islands and take an additional flight (in some cases two) to the region, or take a one-stop flight via Florida or New York airports.

What do the cast think of filming in Guadeloupe?

It’s a dream job for many an actor to be sent out to the Caribbean for a full series of Death in Paradise, and one which current leading man Ardal O’Hanlon, who plays DI Jack Mooney, certainly appreciates.

He said: “I really relished going back to Guadeloupe this time because I knew what the island had to offer. I also knew the pitfalls, so having had a year and a half’s experience out there, I was ready for it.

"There were still lots of places I hadn’t explored on the island, which I got to do this time round. My character is in pretty much every scene so I do have to work incredibly hard, so the little bits of downtime I do have I absolutely treasure and I make the most of them. There’s always a new waterfall to find, there’s always a new little trek to go on.

“Particularly this year I got into the history of the Caribbean, not just Guadeloupe but the Caribbean generally learning about the sugar trade and its heritage. That was really enriching and it made the whole experience richer and deeper. I went round to all the plantation houses and got to know the place better."

Tobi Bakare, who plays Officer JP Hooper, said that he found it a refreshing change to life in the UK.

He explained: “Guadeloupe is solace in a sense. I’m London born and bred and the city’s very busy, so to be on an island away from everything and not to have the extra responsibilities is nice.”

Shyko Amos has joined series eight as Officer Ruby Patterson and said that she had embraced the filming location.

"In my spare time on the island I go to a lot of concerts and music festivals,” she said. “I went to three different concerts while I was there because I love Soca, all of the artists come over from the different islands, so I got to see a lot of my favourite artists.

"There are also a lot of the day parties on the beach, which is just so different and so specific to being in the Caribbean. Those are the days that you would just pinch yourself and be like ‘wow I’m spending my Saturday in a bikini on a beach with loads of people from the afternoon until the night, running in the sea, jumping out, raving to the DJ’.”