The news that Kris Marshall has quit his lead role in the BBC’s hit show ‘Death in Paradise’ has caused a stir among fans of the police drama, set on a tropical island.
It’s a dream acting gig to be sure - six months on Guadeloupe filming between the palm trees, sipping on a rum when you get to the end of another day’s shoot, partying on the sand dunes at weekends.
Only a few weeks ago, Kris gave a good impression of a man who knew when he had it good, telling HuffPostUK: “Could I see myself doing this for ten years? Yes.”
However, it’s now clear that, behind the sandy scenes, for Kris, it had grown increasingly hard to be away from his family, particularly since the birth of his baby daughter last year. He has described how Skype sessions with his family left him feeling “empty and bereft”.
On that same occasion, he told HuffPostUK: “Other constraints come into play. It’s a long time away from family, real life gets in the way sometimes. The show’s bigger than me, obviously. We’ll see. How long is a piece of string?”
And he told ‘Good Morning Britain’ this morning of the decision to hand over the reigns to Ardal O’Hanlon: “Ardal is in this series. We meet him tonight. He arrives as our colleague in London and he’s fantastic.
“The handover was planned it wasn’t thrust upon him!”
Kris isn’t the first to have enough of Paradise. His predecessor in the show, comedian Ben Miller, was the first actor to assume the role of the British detective fish sent to tropical waters. Despite his success with the show - at one point attracting more viewers in its weekly evening slot than an England football match on the other side - Ben told HuffPostUK it was a hard decision to leave, but a necessary one, after three series.
“I’d really, really enjoyed it, I was very proud of it, it just felt right,” he said. “It had always been the agreement to do three, and – I don’t want to sound ungrateful – I didn’t want to be defined by it.
“At that point, I thought, I either leave now and there’s time to establish another character to take over, which had a nice rhythm because my character had taken over from someone in the story, or I’ll be in this until I’m kaput. And (fellow detective) Camille will be wheeling me around. To this day, I don’t know whether I made the right decision or not.
“The golden rule is, don’t quit the hit. At the time, I read about how critics thought I was crazy to leave the show, but I think it was the right choice. There were other things I wanted to do – including comedy again. It’s a different muscle and it’s really fun to think there are other things you might try.”
Both actors agree, however, that no actor is bigger than the show. Ardal O’Hanlon has been generally received as a favourable choice to step into the roles, and while the waves continue to crash, the music continues to play in Katherine’s bar, and Don Warrington continues to frown at the latest hapless Englishman to cross his path, there should be plenty more trips to Paradise for its millions of fans.