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Defying the traditional rules of what is required for British festive specials – snow, London gloom, twinkling lights – the smash hit detective series won an audience of millions for its latest headscratching mystery.
Returning for a second Christmas special in 2022, Ralf Little's DI Neville Parker has a new case to crack involving a true crime podcaster who is murdered on the island of Saint Marie.
Elsewhere, Commissioner Selwyn (Don Warrington) finds some old ghosts come back to haunt him and Marlon (Tahj Miles) is forced to spend the night in a haunted house. Ooh-er.
Here is everything you need to know about the 2022 Death in Paradise Christmas special...
When is the Death in Paradise 2022 Christmas special on TV?
Watch the Death in Paradise Christmas special at 9pm on Boxing Day on BBC One and iPlayer.
The new series starts in the New Year on BBC One and iPlayer.
Who is the Death in Paradise Christmas special 2022 cast?
- Ralf Little – Plays DI Neville Parker
- Shantol Jackson – Plays DS Naomi Thomas
- Tahj Miles - Plays Officer Marlon Pryce
- Elizabeth Bourgine - Plays Catherine
- Don Warrington – Plays Commissioner Selwyn Patterson
- Ginny Holder – Plays Darlene Curtis
- Chelsea Edge – Plays Sophie
- Les Dennis (Coronation Street)
- Siobhan McSweeney (Derry Girls)
Secret from the Set of Death in Paradise
Tahj gets spooked for Christmas
“The location for the haunted house storyline is very spooky,” said Tahj Miles, who plays officer Marlon Pryce.
“It was described as spooky in the script, but when we actually got to this haunted house, it really was something. I was pretty convinced it was haunted. I love horror movies and spooky movies, so I loved that. That was my first opportunity to live out my horror movie dream – it was less spooky for me and more just great fun.”
What is the show's magic sauce?
"I think the scenarios are really important," said Tahj. "After 12 years the writers are still coming up with new scenarios. Last year we had the ski-diving episode which was brand new. This year we have one in a preppers commune. They do it every single year. And the new partnerships and energy in the cast are also something new, which stops the viewers thinking it’s the same old, same old."
Ralf Little said that it was also the "calculated risks" that the show’s creators take, which keeps the show driving forward.
"I think one of the many things the show does well, which is easy to go unnoticed, is that it casts against type," said Little.
"People like Robert Webb and Les Dennis in this series, we know them in the comedy field, people rooted in the national psyche. This show makes a bold move in giving them something very unexpected.
"I'm a big comedy fan and I love when comedy legends come out and they’re proper heavyweight actors. It always pleases me to see people step out of their comfort zone and relish it."
Don Warrington, the only actor to appear in every series of the show, still can’t put his finger on the precise formula that makes the show so loved.
"If I knew that I would start writing it. I don’t think one can identify these things," said the veteran star.
"It’s the chemistry. They tapped a nerve with the audience. If I could tell you anymore, I would be busy at my table with a pen. It’s magic, let’s call it that."
Dream guest stars
One man the cast would love to get out to Saint Marie is a British actor familiar with the world of TV detectives.
“At the top of my list is probably Idris Elba,” said Tahj. “It’s a long, long list, but at the top of it would be Idris. I think I even know who he would play, but I won’t say.”
Elizabeth Bourgine, who plays Catherine, also threw a couple more A-list stars into the ring.
“I would love all the famous English actors. I would love to have Mark Rylance. I love him. Timothy Dalton – it would be nice to have an ex-James Bond!”
A new twist on the Christmas special
"What's exciting about the Christmas special to me is that it lets us do something we've not done before," said Warrington.
"We explore a character's past with the Ghost of Christmas past format… and there are many ghosts! That was fun to explore, fun to play. It allows all the characters to go somewhere different. It packs a punch and like all good stories has power."
Summing up the appeal of the Christmas special, Shantol Jackson who plays DS Naomi Thomas said: "It has most of the elements people love in a Christmas special. It has ghosts, it has Christmas carols and someone falls in love, or almost finds love.
"Those elements make it special and feel very Christmassy. It's perfect for Boxing Day."
Watch Death in Paradise Christmas special at 9pm on Boxing Day on BBC One and iPlayer.