The Custard Chats to Sara Martins of Death in Paradise

Earlier this week I was given the chance to chat with Sara Martins of upcoming BBC1 drama Death in Paradise.  This 8-part series (Starting Tuesday, BBC1) is a nice balance of comedy, crime and culture shock and stars Ben Miller as Fish out of water Policeman Richard Poole who is sent to a Caribbean when the Island’s own British Policeman is killed in mysterious circumstances at a local party. To most the opportunity of policing in the sun would be a dream come true but not Richard Poole who hates the sun, sea and sand and longs for cloudy days in the rain with a nice cup of tea. I spoke with French actress Sara Martins about what is was like playing Ben Miller’s right hand woman and what we can expect from the new series.
Ben Miller and Sara Martins.
Death in Paradise could fall into so many categories it could be a drama, comedy, a fish out of water story but most prominently it’s a Crime drama. How would you describe the series?

Well primarily it’s a cop series but because we filmed on the beautiful Island of Guadeloupe it deals more with the cops having to deal with things that they wouldn’t have to deal with if it was in Europe. They have to do their enquires without the help of the lab for the DNA results and things like that. It’s a more old fashioned way of working.

The Island is gorgeous. The series is beautifully shot. What challenges did filming on a tropical Island present to the cast and crew?

It was great! Sometimes in a studio you get too comfortable being under the lights and things. We were outside all the time in such a great place. The population there was great. They were really playing the game with us and they bring a lot to the film. We suffered from the heat a little bit but that’s not the biggest problem. Five months in a great place is a gift not a problem.

The unlikely pair at work

When we first meet your character Camille we’re not sure what to make of her. What can you tell us about her and her characteristics as a policewoman?

She’s a good cop with a great sense of justice. She’s a native of the Island. That’s her home. She has a strong relationship with her mum. She’s the kind of woman who enjoys finding fun in life. She’s very spontaneous and brave.

Is she anything like you? I was like her! She’s great fun and I admire her and they chose me so yes I think I have something’s in common with her yes.

She’s the complete opposite in most respects to DI Poole (Ben Miller’s character) does this help or hinder their working relationship?

They are completely different yes but she does respect and finally admire him for his work. With him she learns a new way of working and some opposite people do make the perfect team.

What was Ben Miller like to work with?

I hadn’t seen anything he’d done before. Working with him is so easy and I actually learned a lot from him so it was blessing really.

Is anything like the typical Englishman he portrays in the series?

He is a good specimen of an Englishman. To see him struggling against the heat in reality was sometimes funnier than what he had filmed.


Sara as exotic local polcewoman Camille

 

I enjoyed the style of the series. The crimes themselves are well done and it’s done in a sort of Agetha Christie sort of way is that what drew you to it?

These days we have a lot of cop series but this one seemed very different. This is about the culture shock and I really like those old fashioned cop series like Colombo or Miss Marple when the crime is about mind games.

As well as the crime side to the story it’s also very witty. There are some real comedy moments in there. Were you interested in the comedy side of the script?

I wasn’t used to doing comedy before so that was a challenge for me and luckily for me I had Ben as a character to work with. A lot of cop series are very dark but sometimes you want a little bit of humour with the difficult stuff that is happening. It can’t work if it was just a comedy because its quite serious too.

What do you Love and Hate on television?

Well I have to admit I’m more excited to see a new series than movies at the moment. Producers and writers are having some very original ideas and they bring great actors. I really enjoyed Skins. The actors are so great and it really deals with some serious stuff about what its like about a teenager nowadays and what I’ve seen of British TV I’ve really enjoyed.

You’ve done a lot of Film work of late do you like being involved in a series?

What I really like about a series is that you get time to spend with the characters. A movie at an hour and half is not really enough sometimes to go deeper into the characters. A series gives you the chance to get attached to the characters as you spend so much time with them.

This series is being shown to foreign audiences as well do you think they will be able to relate to it?

I think is the perfect project to be shown because we’re dealing with all the clichés we have about being English or being French its very realateable.

Were their any culture shocks on the set?

The funniest thing was I didn’t realize how much I was French! It’s funny to see how I was portrayed being French. They were probably expecting me to eat bread and to be drinking red wine and as the series went on I discovered yes I’m eating bread and drinking red wine! So actually I think I learnt more about me as French person than the British.

                                            Death in Paradise Starts Tuesday 25th October 9pm on BBC1

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