7 Questions with… Don Warrington: ‘Quite a lot of people have died on that island!’

Death In Paradise stalwart Don Warrington, who plays Commissioner Selwyn Patterson, speaks to BT.com about season 10.

By Becky Gamester-Newton Published: 18 January 2021 - 1.14pm
Drama 7 Questions

Death In Paradise

BBC/Red Planet Don Warrington plays Selwyn Patterson in Death in Paradise

Death In Paradise is one of the most successful crime series in the world. Beginning way back in 2011, it’s been brightening up viewers’ winters for the last 10 years and has been aired in more than 200 territories.

And Don Warrington has been part of the show since its very first episode, playing Commissioner Selwyn Patterson. He chatted to BT.com about series 10 and how it could make 2021 just that little bit more bearable.

1. What was your favourite thing about coming back to film the show?

I think the favourite thing was starting! We didn’t know that we could, and we managed to. That was quite exciting to see how we handled all the Covid protocol. 

2. How will series 10 lift people’s spirits?

I think people are going to love it. It’s pretty depressing in England at the moment and people don’t have much to look forward to. If we can bring a little sunshine into their lives in this cold January month then great. I think that could cheer up a lot of people.

3. What makes a good story on Death in Paradise?

The cast of Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

I guess it has to have all the right elements. You have to have suspense – it’s a ‘who did it?’. We all have suspects and you have to work out which of the suspects is the murderer. I think the puzzle is very interesting – it’s always very complex and it’s a fairly tortuous route to finding who did it. I think that’s an important aspect and to keep the audience guessing as to who did it.

I also think the elements around the murder, like the relationships between all the characters and the regulars – the comedy that lies between them. When those things are working, I think the episode is very good.

I think this is a very good season. I think there are lots of very, very good stories. I’m not going to tell you which ones, because you have to watch them all! But I think there are some very good episodes indeed in the coming series.

4. Your character didn’t get on with Neville in the last series – is that going to continue?

Ralf Little and Don Warrington in Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

Yes, in short! There is an antipathy between them. Not from him, so much, but from Selwyn. Selwyn finds him very hard to take.

It seems, I suppose, rather masochistic to move to a place where the place doesn’t like you, which I think is Neville’s problem – the island doesn’t like him very much. It brings out all his ticks and problems. I think Selwyn finds that exasperating, but the relationship goes up and down. We’re still working it out, I guess.

5. How has it been working with newcomer Tahj Miles?

Tahj Miles as Marlon Pryce in Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

He’s terrific. He’s just a perfect human being really!

6. What is the biggest misunderstanding that actors have about making the show?

Don Warrington as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson in Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

They feel very surprised at how hot it is. I know people know where they’re going, but it’s always a shock to people – they go ‘it’s hot!’, and we go ‘yes!’.

7. How has it been working with the latest crop of guest stars?

They’re great. It’s lovely to see all these people coming. We get new people every two weeks or so and it’s always very exciting to meet them if one hasn’t met them before. It’s very exciting to work with them – they’re all very good actors, and more than that they’re all very nice people. It’s great.

It’s not a huge island. I suppose they come and they’re shocked to see so many people because quite a lot of people have died on that island!

But they are shocked by what the island is. They’re taken with the fact that it’s the French Caribbean not the English Caribbean. So I think that calls for adjustments to them. [But] I think they’re up to it really.

Death In Paradise season 10 begins on Thursday, January 7, at 9pm on BBC One and iPlayer.

Death In Paradise seasons one to eight are also available on BritBox.

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