Why did Kris Marshall leave Death in Paradise might be the question on plenty of fans’ minds as he reprised his role as DI Humphrey Goodman in the Beyond Paradise spin-off.
Filled with sun, sea and brilliantly unique characters Beyond Paradise has captured the charm of long-running Caribbean-set Death in Paradise whilst being refreshingly distinct. Not only are the crimes not all murders but the solving of each case has its own flair, though there are of course some major similarities, not least DI Humphrey Goodman. Played by Kris Marshall, the character once solved crimes on Saint Marie in Death in Paradise but now Humphrey and his fiancée Martha Lloyd (Sally Bretton) have had a serious change of scene.
But why did Kris Marshall leave Death in Paradise, where is the spin-off he’s starring in set and why could there be trouble ahead for Humphrey and Martha? We reveal what you need to know…
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Why did Kris Marshall leave Death in Paradise?
Whether it’s watching Leonie Elliot’s Lucille leave Call the Midwife or Douglas Henshall’s exit in Shetland season 7, it’s only natural that curiosity arises whenever a cast member leaves a beloved long-running show. For those who can’t help wondering - why did Kris Marshall leave Death in Paradise? - the answer lies with him wanting to spend more time with his family and his son reaching school age.
When he first joined Death in Paradise as DI Humphrey Goodman his son Thomas was only six months old and he and his wife Hannah reportedly decided they’d go out to Guadalupe whilst he was filming until it became “impractical”.
Getting candid with RadioTimes in 2019, Kris said, “Every year except last year we took Thomas out with us. The only reason they didn’t come out last year was because my daughter was born and she was only three months old when filming started. Thomas has basically spent half his life in the Caribbean. Every year he went to the same nursery in Guadeloupe. But now it’s time for him to put on scholastic shackles and toe the line.”
“It’s something my wife and I discussed three or four years ago. When I was first offered the job, my son was six months old and my wife wasn’t working, so it was a very easy decision,” he elaborated. “We decided I would do Death in Paradise for a few years until it became impractical. It was always quite a finite thing. I certainly didn’t hide it from anyone I work with.”
Filming Death in Paradise reportedly took place over six months of every year so it’s perhaps no surprise that Kris Marshall felt at some point he had to make a big decision about his future on the hit drama. Now you know why Kris Marshall left Death in Paradise it also might make more sense why he’s happily reprised his role as DI Humphrey Goodman in Beyond Paradise despite leaving the main show.
Where is Beyond Paradise set?
The Beyond Paradise setting is Devon in the South West of England and whilst it’s a far cry from the tropical Caribbean location of Death in Paradise the sweeping countryside and coastal seascapes are every bit as beautiful. Six years after Kris Marshall left Death in Paradise, quirky DI Humphrey Goodman and Martha Lloyd are living in the fictional Devonshire village of Shipton Abbott where she grew up.
Already we’ve seen Humphrey embracing Devon life in Beyond Paradise, buying a houseboat for him and Martha to give them their own space rather than continuing to live with her mother Anne.
Kris Marshall is from the West Country (the term often used to refer to South West English counties) and has previously spoken about what it was like being back there to film Beyond Paradise. Speaking to Virgin Radio and other press outlets ahead of the Death in Paradise spin-off’s premiere he explained that it felt like coming “home”.
“I'm from South West anyway, from Somerset, so born and bred, and so I know that area of the world extremely well. You sort of feel a bit more at home, I guess,” he said.
However, whilst Beyond Paradise is set in Devon it was actually also filmed in the neighboring South West English county of Cornwall.
Opening up to RadioTimes.com, the show’s executive producer Tim Key explained that they’d known from the start the Beyond Paradise setting had to be as beautiful as Guadalupe which stands in for the fictional island of Saint Marie in the main show.
Discussing the fictional Shipton Abbey he said, “The town is beautiful, situated near the coast, full of character. It's set slightly back from the coast, so we have all sorts of story worlds to dive into, including the folklore of the town, which is touched upon in episode 1."
Beyond Paradise’s executive writer and producer Tony Jordan revealed that he took inspiration from his own childhood experience of spending time in the West Country when it came to setting and filming the spin-off there.
“I remember growing up as a kid and my family holidays were in Devon, staying in caravans in Westwood Ho. I love Cornwall and the West Country and lived in Bristol for a while, so it's very familiar to me. It is paradise in its own way, so was a perfect fit and gave me everything the show needed. It's not set on the seafront, but the sea is there.”
They filmed in Looe which is in Cornwall, as well as in Bere Ferrers, Weir Quay and Port Eliot House and Gardens, amongst other South West locations.
Why Humphrey and Sally could be in trouble in Beyond Paradise
Although DCI Humphrey Goodman and Sally Lloyd have thrown themselves into their idyllic new life, it seems there’s trouble in their Devon paradise. In episode 2 fans saw Martha struggling to persuade the bank to keep her overdraft which would be the only way she could pay the contractors hard at work getting her new café ready for its grand opening.
Whilst some might’ve expected Humphrey to come to the rescue, actually the well-meaning detective inadvertently made things worse when he surprised her with their new house boat, bought using their savings for a new house.
Seeing how smitten Humphrey was with the boat, Sally was determined to find some way to get the money she needed without him giving it back. Enter Archie - her incredibly handsome and charming ex-fiancé. A chance meeting proved to be her salvation when he agreed to provide her café with wine and cheese and the money in return for being a junior business partner.
Martha revealed this all to a stunned Humphrey mid-way through the episode and also ended up introducing him and Archie to one another. However, the awkwardness was palpable when the DI asked how they knew each other and both gave different answers - Archie’s being honest, Martha’s being that he was simply a “family friend”.
His behavior for the rest of the episode seemed to hint he still has feelings for her, with Archie even praising Sally for being “all about the detail”. He even told her he wasn’t the guy she’d known and had listened to her advice when they were together “more than [she] though”.
Meanwhile, Humphrey appeared to be unsettled by Archie’s presence and was perhaps worried that the successful businessman and Sally might reconnect when he saw this interaction going down. Looking ahead, Beyond Paradise’s trailer for episode 3 saw Humphrey asked outright by Archie if it bothers him that he and Sally are working together now after being persuaded to go for a drink with him.
“Should it?” the DI replied pleasantly, to which Archie said quickly, “Of course not.”
The look on Humphrey's face suggests that he's not so sure and although Martha doesn't seem interested in Archie, that doesn't necessarily mean that Archie's presence is easy to bear - or that he's not going to try and win Martha over. DI Goodman always felt his first wife Sally (played by Morven Christie in Death in Paradise) was too good for him before their marriage broke down. But hopefully he trusts that he and Martha are truly what romantic dreams are made of no matter how the situation with Archie develops.
Beyond Paradise continues at 8pm on BBC One on Fridays.