Actress Pippa Haywood talks filming in tropical storms, overcoming her fears and working with Ardal O'Hanlon as she guests in next Thursday's Death In Paradise

Actress Pippa Haywood, who has starred in The Brittas Empire, Scott and Bailey, Mr Selfridge and Green Wing, was delighted to get the chance to fly out to Guadeloupe for this latest series of Death In Paradise.

She plays Charlotte Hamilton, the secretary of Saint Marie’s Yacht Club who becomes a murder suspect when the body of one of her friends is found next to the club.

Here she  tells us all about filming in tropical storms, working with Ardal O’ Hanlon and reveals how she overcame one of her fears…

Pippa Haywood’s What’s On TV interview

What’s On TV: Tell us about your character Charlotte…

Pippa Haywood: “She’s the secretary of the Yacht Club and organizes a lot of the charity events there. She’s highly efficient, a real socialite and she adores the ex-pat life but her past is tinged with sadness. Her husband was an alcoholic who drank all their money away before dying of cancer.”

WOTV: How does she know the victim, Daisy?

PH: “Through the Yacht Club. Daisy is a member and joined a couple of years ago when she and her husband first moved to the island. Charlotte welcomed Daisy with open arms and they became good friends.”

WOTV: Why does Charlotte find herself being questioned about Daisy’s murder and on the list of possible suspects?

PH: “Mainly because Daisy was found dead near the Yacht Club where Charlotte was hosting an event that same night and because the two of them knew eachother. Plus Charlotte has fallen on hard times and is short of money which is linked to the reason she becomes a suspect.”

WOTV: What was it like filming in Guadeloupe?

PH: “Amazing! It was last August that I went. I got the call on a Monday and was out there the same Saturday. It’s one of the best phone calls I’ve ever had from my agent.”

Adam Warner (RORY FLECK BYRNE), Hugh Davenport (JOHN SESSIONS), Charlotte Hamilton (PIPPA HAYWOOD), Finn Anderson (DANNY RAHIM) are all suspects

WOTV: Did you enjoy the sunshine?

PH: “Yes, but it was incredibly humid. I had to wear a long evening dress for most of my scenes and I don’t think there was one natural fibre in it! As soon as I put it on I had instant rivulets of sweat running down my cleavage. Somehow the costume department managed to keep us all looking fresh. The men did all their rehearsing in vests and then popped on their shirts at the very last minute for filming.”

WOTV: What was it like working with Ardal O’ Hanlon who plays DI Jack Mooney?

PH: “Great. We’ve worked together before on a pilot for a sitcom in Manchester that never actually got made. I’d always adored him in Father Ted so it was wonderful to get to work with him again. He’s so funny, charming and professional. With someone like that at the helm it makes the whole show run so smoothly.”

Ardal O’Hanlon as DI Jack Mooney

WOTV: Did you get to explore the island?

PH: “Yes. I was there for two weeks and managed to squeeze in a snorkelling trip to look at the fish and green turtles.  I’m not a very confident swimmer, I really don’t like putting my head underwater and I was quite nervous but I thought I’m not going to let my fear stop me doing this. I’m used to meditating so I took a couple of deep breaths and went for it. When the turtles come up close to stare at you with their beady eyes it’s like your being looked at by prehistoric creatures from another age. Amazing!”

WOTV: People imagine the actors all sitting around drinking cocktails under palm trees at the end of a day’s filming. Is it really like that?

PH: “It was the start of the hurricane season so we had a few tropical storms which stopped play. I’ve got a photo of me huddled under an umbrella in the craziest downpour ever.  Some of the time was beautiful sunsets and moments of relaxing on the beach. Other bits were wading to work through river-strewn roads trying to get the location. But yes, there was one night when we had an impromptu party on the beach for one of the cast member’s birthday’s. The palm fronds were blowing in the breeze, we had a bonfire, shooting stars and one of the location drivers made the most fantastic mohitos to drink. That was a pretty special night! The sunsets out there are incredible.”

Death In Paradise is on Thursdays, 9pm, BBC1. Pippa’s episode airs Thursday Feb 1