Before the opening credits have rolled in the new series of Death in Paradise detective Richard Poole is murdered. How did you react to this shocking plot twist?
“I thought it was a fantastic idea to kill off Richard and I said ‘yes’ instantly when I first heard it. It’s completely unexpected, but at the same time feels right. It’s very much tongue-in-cheek and in keeping with the show. The shock value is good too – it grips people from the start.”
Did you feel it was a fitting end for Richard?
“I did. I particularly like that he’s killed with an ice pick, it’s very neat. It was brilliant for me because I finally had the experience of being a guest on Death in Paradise, which is one of the best jobs in television! While Kris [Marshall, who plays his replacement] was slogging his guts out, I disappeared off to tour the island!”
What was behind your decision to leave the show after two years of playing Richard?
“It was family really. When I first got the job and was out there [in Guadeloupe filming], with almost comical timing, my wife discovered she was pregnant. So when my son was born I didn’t see much of him at all, as I was filming series two. I didn’t feel I could do that again for series three. I’m very sorry to leave but we’re wondering if there’s a possibility of Richard having a twin brother – or it all being a dream in a couple of years time!”
Did you give Kris Marshall any advice for his new role as DI Humphrey Goodman?
“I was hoping to but he took to it like a duck to water! In the first series I went to the island because my predecessor was murdered and it’s exactly the same thing for Kris. Will Humphrey be killed in about two series’ time?”
What will you miss most about the show?
“I’ll miss the people I worked with, we had great fun. I’ll also miss the character, he was great to play and I’d never done murder-mystery before.”
What are you happy to give up?
“That suit. I wanted to burn it on the beach but unfortunately we had to keep it for a photo shoot. I tried to get hold of it afterwards but they wouldn’t let me!”