Saint Marie (fictional island)

Saint Marie is a fictional island in the Lesser Antilles which serves as the setting for the BBC crime drama television series Death in Paradise.

Saint Marie
'Death in Paradise' location
Deshaies.jpg
Deshaies on Guadeloupe, which is used for the town of Honoré in Death in Paradise.
Created byRobert Thorogood
GenreTelevision series
Information
TypeBritish Overseas Territory
Population10,000
CapitalHonoré
CurrencyEastern Caribbean dollar (XCD)

PremiseEdit

Saint Marie is described in Episode 3.3 as a "pretty island" that is "situated in the Eastern Caribbean Sea" and "one-tenth the size of its north-west neighbour Guadeloupe", which would make Saint Marie about 160 square kilometres (62 sq mi) in size. It is described in Episode 4.5 as being 70 miles (110 km) from Martinique.

The island is a British Overseas Territory, but was handed over to the British from the French only in the 1970s, so that about 30% of its people are French citizens, with the French language still widely spoken.

The back-story appears to be a blend of two real-world islands near to Guadeloupe, with size and location aligning with Marie-Galante (in real-life politically affiliated with Guadeloupe, not independent of it), and history and language aligning with Dominica. Another possible basis is Îlet Sainte Marie[original research?] "The Îlet Sainte-Marie is an island located on the northeast coast of Martinique, right in front of the small town of Sainte-Marie, known in the North Atlantic region. Very popular with tourists, it is a geological curiosity of nature, as connected to the rest of the island by a tombolo."[1]

In episode 4.5, it is mentioned that Martinique is "a good 70 miles." In Episode 5.2 a map can be seen with Puerto Rico in the northwest and Dominica in the southeast of the map, Saint Marie, in addition to another fictional island, Saint Robert, are present on the map, it would appear that there is significantly more distance between Guadelope and Dominica in the Death in Paradise universe, Saint Robert appears similar in shape, and slightly smaller in size than Dominica, although rotated by about 100-110 degrees anti-clockwise; although inconsistent with other in-universe statements Saint Marie appears about the same size as Dominica, and much larger than Marie-Galante. Marie-Galante, Saint-Marie, Spinner's Rock (a small islet relevant to this episode), and Saint Robert can be described as being on a straight line between Guadelope and Dominica in that order from the most northern to the most southern. Both Marie-Galante and Dominica are present, thus ruling out the possibilities of these two as candidates for Saint-Marie.

The island drives on the right hand side of the road,[2] and vehicles, including the police Land Rover Defender 110, have number plates in the same format as France, and are left-hand drive.

FeaturesEdit

Saint Marie's population is assumed to be around 10,000.[3] However, in series 10, episode 1, an audience figure of 85,000 is quoted for a programme on the Saint Marie Broadcasting Corporation (although this may include viewers outside of the island).

In the series, Saint Marie has a volcano, rainforest, sugar and coffee plantations, a fishing harbour, an airport, a university, a convent, multiple hotels, approximately one hundred public beaches, and a Crown Court. It also has its own newspaper, The Saint Marie Times. Honoré, the main town, has a leisure/commercial marina, market, bars, and restaurants as well as the police station. The neighbouring town to Honoré is named as Port Royal. Its main economic ties are to Guadeloupe, the UK, and France, but it uses the East Caribbean dollar as its unit of currency, as opposed to the pound or the euro. The island's main religions are Catholicism and Voodoo, with several religious festivals featuring in the programme, including the Saint Ursula Festival (in reality, a major festival of the Virgin Islands) and some Voodoo festivals.

LocationsEdit

The series is filmed on Guadeloupe, and Deshaies doubles for the fictional town of Honoré.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Le Guide du Routard - Martinique. Équipe du Guide du Routard. Hachette Tourisme. 1 January 2013. ISBN 9782012453982.
  2. ^ "Death in Paradise, Series 6, Episode 4". BBC One. Retrieved 14 January 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Graff, Vincent (8 January 2013). "Death in Paradise: Ben Miller on investigating the deadliest place on the planet". Radio Times. Retrieved 18 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)[dead link]
  4. ^ "Death in Paradise: Guadeloupe, the real-life St Marie". The Telegraph. 4 February 2016.