Jason Manford on Death in Paradise: ‘I kept slipping up and calling it a holiday!’

The star reveals why he was excited to appear on Death In Paradise...

Jason Manford has landed a plum guest-starring role in the upcoming third episode of Death In Paradise season 10.

He plays Craig in an episode revolving around the suspicious death of lottery winner Cherry (Gavin And Stacey’s Laura Aikman) whose body mysteriously disappears. As a close friend of Cherry’s, Craig faces questioning from DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) and his team – but is he hiding any secrets from them?

We chatted to Death in Paradise guest star Jason Manford, 39, about his role on the show…

What can you tell us about your character?

Jason Manford: “I play Craig, whose friends have recently won the lottery – and where else would you go but the Caribbean? So he goes over there as a little holiday, really. But there’s also some underlying previous between us that is hopefully going to get resolved when my character arrives.”

How does he react to being questioned by the police about the murder?

JM: “He deals with it. He gets questioned a lot, which is fair enough – because when you look at who could do it, he’s suspect number one. There’s quite a lot going on, really!”

DI Neville Parker stands beside the pool to question Craig

Craig faces a grilling from DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) (Photo: BBC / Red Planet)

Is this the sort of dream job that you snap up as soon as it’s offered to you?

JM: “Yeah, pretty much – the best part must be getting murdered, I think, because it’s only a day’s filming and you’re done! It was literally a holiday, I actually felt bad a couple of weeks later when we got paid! After five months of lockdown and homeschooling and all that, I had such a good time hanging out on a beautiful island, with lovely people and fun scripts. It was a dream, to the point where we kept slipping up: you’d be chatting and you’d say ‘how long have we been on this holiday now? Not holiday – work!'”

Did you get to do much sightseeing while you were there?

JM: “We went scuba diving, we went up a volcano, it was lovely! At that time, in September, there were restrictions all over the world. If you think we were taking it seriously in the UK, they took it ten times more seriously over there! So it felt really safe, and everyone was sticking to the rules. Literally, if you’re out on the street without a mask on, the police stop you to ask why!”

What was the flight out to Guadeloupe like?

JM: “Obviously, with the unique way that the BBC is paid, you get the very basic of travel. Which is fair enough, the taxpayer’s paying for it! So if you want to go first class or business, you just pay for yourself. And I thought ‘do you know what, I’m gonna do it, I’ve not been on holiday, we’ve saved some money’ – so I spent, I think it was an extra £900 or something to go in the business seats, lovely.”

Kelvin Fletcher as Gavin and Hollie Edwin as Melea

Strictly 2019 champ Kelvin Fletcher plays Gavin in the episode (Photo: BBC / Red Planet)

“On the way back I mentioned it to Kelvin [Fletcher, who also guest-stars in the episode], I said, ‘I think I’m going to fly business on the way back, it cost me 900 quid there and 900 quid back, but it’s worth it, to just have a little lie down – what about you?’. And he said, ‘oh no, I’m not going to bother with that, I might ask when I get there if they’ve got anything’. Then I get on the flight and literally sat next to me is Kelvin. I’m like, ‘how have you managed this?’. He says, ‘oh, i went to the desk to see if they had any business seats, and they had one left just before the flight took off’. I said ‘what did you pay for it?’ and he was like ‘150 quid’ – I was absolutely livid!”

“The whole journey back, the food would come out, and I’d say, ‘what do you think of that?’ and he’d say ‘it’s nice, this – I’m glad I didn’t pay 900 quid for it, but it’s nice!’ So yeah, we had a good laugh.”

This time last year we were watching you on The Masked Singer as Hedgehog – have you been tuning in this year?

JM: “I have, yeah! I think I know three or four people on it. Last year I got a few phone calls from people  to ask me what it was like. I told them how great it was, so I’m not surprised at the level of names that are coming out. It’s a great fun show.”

Jason guest-stars in Death In Paradise on BBC1 at 9pm on Thursday 21 January.

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