Death in Paradise review: Ralf Little returns in BBC's long-running crime drama - the familiar old pal which brightens up your life
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This long-running series clocked up its 100th episode with this first show of the latest 13th series, making it one of the BBC's longest-running shows of recent times.
Which is remarkable really, given that each episode follows a familiar formula.
Some guest stars show up, a murder happens, then whichever red-faced, sweaty Brit playing the lead copper this series arrives. There are clues, red herrings and monochrome flashbacks to the murder, before the chief suspects are all gathered in one place and the detective shows us all how clever he is.
This series has left our current expat detective DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) without a love interest, so there's a will-they-won't-they relationship between young sergeant Naomi Thomas (Shantol Jackson) and rookie constable Marlon Pryce (Tahj Miles).
Unfortunately, it's more of a brother/sister thing, and really doesn't convince, which leaves us with DI Parker gazing wistfully at a photograph of lost love Florence.
Of course, this being Death in Paradise, pretty much everything is some sort of clue, so the we can almost certainly expect Florence – and her dog – to reappear on the island of Sainte Marie some time later in the series.
The central case followed the familiar pattern, but this time there was an event which – for Death in Paradise, anyway – counted as a twist.
I don't think it's giving away too much by saying that cuddly-but-stern police commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) finds his life hanging in the balance, and it's up to our gang of Caribbean crimestoppers to find out who was responsible.
There were the usual guest stars, among them Cathy Tyson and Sean 'Tegs out of Grange Hill' Maguie, the usual red herrings and the usual revelation which strikes DI Parker – this one revolving around a cufflink found in a place where it shouldn't be found.
Of course, the criminal is brought to justice and there's a shot of Neville and his oppos on the beach or in a bar.
This episode being the 100th, we also got a return for DI Camille Bordey (Sara Martins), glimpsed over a Zoom call while giving birth. It was nice to see her, but you did wonder why she was answering her phone in the middle of labour.
Her appearance made Neville reflect on his life, saying “whatever Sainte Marie holds in store for me, I guarantee it won't be boring”.
To which Camille suggests he write a blog about his experiences. Which, to be honest, a sign of how little Death in Paradise has changed since it launched in October 2011; these days, any middle-aged man with 'something to say' has a podcast, not a blog.
But it's this familiarity that really helps Death in Paradise.
You know it so well, it's like a well-liked pal who drops in once a year, the friend you can just pick up with where you left off, makes no demands on you, just entertains you and leaves you feeling a little bit better about the world.
There's a bit of 'ooh, that's that bloke from the thing' with the guest stars, and it's always fun trying to spot the clues which will trip the murderer.
And the Agatha Christie-esque revelation to the group at the end of each episode will always make you go 'Oh? Aah, of course!'.
Meanwhile, you can get lost in the views of beaches and palm trees and lush tropical forests and forget all about the rain and the wind and the rising cost of living.
Because we all need that bit of escapism in life, that moment when you can switch off and sit back and let something wash over you.
Death in Paradise knows that, and lives up to the task perfectly.