It’s amazing to think that Death in Paradise first graced our screens way back in 2011, and that 10 years on – even amid a global pandemic - it’s still going strong.

With plenty of rumours around big names in the latest cast, we’ve put together everything you need to know about the new season with a little help from creator Tim Key and some of the show’s stars, who spoke to ahead of the series’ launch.

Death in Paradise cast: Who’s returning to the show?

In the biggest news revealed so far, Ben Miller is returning to the show – a big shock for fans, who saw his character DI Richard Poole killed off in 2014.

Executive producer Tim Key is keeping his cards close to his chest on how DI Poole will return.

“To say anything would be to spoil it,” he teased. “I’m so happy he said yes and I’m so happy we made it work, because schedules were very difficult.

“I think if you watched the show at the start you’ll be very pleased. It’s a cameo, but it’s incredibly impactful and I’m really happy with it.”

And Miller isn’t the only fans’ favourite to return. Sara Martins is reprising her role as DS Camille Bordey in a special two-episode story.

Sara Martins as Camille Bordey in Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

Camille is thrown into an investigation involving her mother, Mayor Catherine Bordey (Elizabeth Bourgine), whose life is turned upside-down when the death of a friend puts her in danger.

Martins is thrilled to be back. “There are some characters that never leave you and I’m still Camille, wherever I go. After many years, people still reference and send their love to me as Camille, so it was obvious that I had to go back and the 10th anniversary is the perfect opportunity!" she said.

“I want to celebrate the longevity of Death in Paradise. It was life-changing for me and I’m so grateful to the show.”

Key added: “I think both [Miller and Martins] felt they had some unfinished business with the show. We’ve all stayed in touch and they wanted to be part of our 10th year.

“It was great to see those two acting together again. It’s incredibly moving. It celebrates the past and also drives the show forward as well.”

Season 10 also sees the return of Josephine Jobert as DS Florence Cassell. Having been on her travels, Florence is tougher than ever – but she may struggle to get used to DI Neville Parker’s (Ralf Little) eccentric ways.

Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker and Josephine Jobert as DS Florence Cassell in Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

Little said of his on-screen alter ego: “It’s challenging for him. One of the reasons the show works is that each of the detectives arrives broken or incomplete in some way, and the process of being on the island heals them.

“Neville’s challenge is to be more open to experiences – to engage with and be open to what living in the Caribbean means.”

Jobert said she was excited about Florence’s return.

“She’s been through a lot. I was very interested in how she would come back: how is she going to feel? Is she going to be OK? I was a bit worried about her!

“She’s a strong woman. I believe she didn’t hesitate to see the crew again, to see the island which reminds her of a lot of difficult moments but also a lot of wonderful moments.

“I was very excited about this and I’m very proud of her.”

“The fact that she meets Neville, who is very special too… she wants to take care of him because she sees the potential. I think it’s a way for her to think of something else. I think their relationship will help her to heal and to move on.”

Which guest stars will appear?

As usual, there will be several guest stars on the show. 

Jason Manford in Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

Comedian Jason Manford - who Little has known professionally for a long time - will be making an appearance.

“Jason used to be the warm-up man for Two Pints [Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps] when we used to record that live," Little explained.

“It’s a wonderful thing over 10 years later for him to come out and be working together with me on this. It feels like the whole thing’s come full circle.”

Emmerdale’s Kelvin Fletcher and Our Girl actor Luke Pasqualino are also among this year’s guest stars, while Priscara Bakare – the wife of series regular Tobi Bakare – will star as JP’s on-screen wife Rosey, who is pregnant with twins.

Kelvin Fletcher in Death in Paradise BBC/Red Planet

Three recognisable faces from hit BBC series I May Destroy You - Danielle Vitalis, Lewis Reeves and Franc Ashman – will also appear, while other guest stars include Gbemisola Ikumelo (Famalam), Patrick Robinson (Sitting in Limbo), Laura Aikman (The Split), Steve Edge (Benidorm), Luke Bailey (Noughts + Crosses),  Lia Williams (The Crown), Eleanor Fanyinka (Masters of Love), Richard McCabe (Poldark), Bryony Hannah (Call the Midwife), Faye McKeever (Des), Jim Caesar (Grantchester), Adrian Schiller (The Last Kingdom), Niamh Cusack (The Virtues), Shalisha James-Davis (Alex Rider), Delroy Atkinson (Luther), Sean Gilder (His Dark Materials), Kellie Shirley (In the Long Run) and Karen Bryson (Shameless).

Key said he was delighted with the stars he managed to get on board for the new series.

“Every episode features some amazing performances from a host of famous guests who were all a pleasure to work with and we can’t wait for our viewers to try to work out which one of them dunnit!”

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

Don Warrington, who reprises his role as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson, loves the suspense of not knowing which actors will turn up for each series.

“I tell you what’s really exciting – we never know who it’s going to be and it’s wonderful,” he revealed.

“Sometimes you meet people who you know of but haven’t worked with, and sometimes you work with people who you worked with years ago. It’s really nice to see them and to engage with them in this way.

“We tend to all hang out together. You don’t know them in the way you get to know them on the island. That’s what’s wonderful about this – you get to know them pretty intimately and it’s great fun.”

Death in Paradise plot: What else do we know about series 10?

DI Parker and the team have their work cut out with even more baffling murders to solve – from a local news journalist found dead in her pool to a murdered lottery winner whose body has vanished.

And newly-promoted sergeant JP has his hands full training up new officer Marlon Pryce (Tahj Miles), a former young offender who’s trying to make amends.

Little said he was hugely impressed with the newcomer.

He joked: “I’m not a fan, FYI. I’ll do three pages of dialogue trying to explain a case, Tahj does one look at the end and that’s all that anyone’s going to remember. I’m furious about it – he’s way too good.”

Where is the new Death in Paradise filmed?

As with previous series, the show is being filmed in Guadeloupe – and the stars have been having an amazing time filming.

Jobert said: “It’s fantastic. You’re away from friends and family for quite a long time, but you make friends here.

“On the weekends, you can go and see waterfalls, see dolphins, see turtles or just chill around the pool all day long. What else do we need?

“I feel so blessed.”

How was Death in Paradise filmed during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Production company Red Planet Pictures said it worked closely with industry bodies and the BBC to ensure the safety of all staff.

Measures including social distancing, face coverings, temperature checks and Covid checks were implemented as part of a detailed policy to minimise risk of infection.

There was also a full-time Covid supervisor on set.

Key says the quality of the new series is testament to everybody involved.

“We are lucky in that we are a show that can work through Covid in a way that other shows might not be quite so fortunate," he explained.

“We film outside. We’re on an island… we’re not filming in a city centre, we’re not using public transport, we don’t have a lot of sex scenes, we don’t have crowd scenes, we have lots of scenes of one or two people interviewing one or two people.

“You won’t see any signs of any restrictions on screen whatsoever, but backstage it’s been very complicated and it’s down to our cast and crew who’ve worked so hard to abide by the rules and still deliver performances as if the last year never happened. It’s been a privilege to be part of it all.”

Will there be any more series?

Yes! The show has been recommissioned for two more series on BBC One.

Key said: “We are hugely proud of series 10 and delighted we’ll be heading back to Saint Marie to continue the story.

“Our amazing cast and crew have delivered against the odds this year and we can’t wait to get going again – we’ve got huge plans for the future, with lots of surprises to come.” 

How to watch season 10

The 10th season will kick off at 9pm on Thursday, January 7, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Catch all the shows you love on BT TV

Watch the latest shows and sport from Sky with a NOW Membership, Netflix, and Discovery+ all in one place.