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The opening sequences of this yr’s Dying in Paradise Christmas Particular (BBC One) had been stuffed with promise. It was Christmas time on Saint Marie, which means Neville (Ralf Little) prat-falling over a Christmas tree and turkey by the seaside – tick. Don Warrington as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson was doing his absolute best grumpy crab impression and but it seemed as if a chilly case from the Nineteen Seventies would possibly give us a window into his inscrutable previous. Better of all, Derry Women’ great Siobhán McSweeney was our festive visitor star, taking part in a busybody true-crime podcaster known as Jennifer Langan who’d come to Saint Marie on a lead. 

After which, simply as I’d sat again with a plate of mince pies and put myself into vitality save mode, they solely went and killed McSweeney off. Now I realise that after Spooks, Sport of Thrones and all of the others, there’s a chapter within the ebook of fine screenwriting that claims killing off your greatest character early doorways is a neat trick. That audiences will ceaselessly be on tenterhooks questioning who you would possibly bump off subsequent. That if “nobody is protected” then everyone seems to be each suspect and goal, and so forth. 

However, to place it politely, Dying in Paradise just isn’t blessed with an enormous quantity of attention-grabbing characters, and McSweeney’s was certainly one of them. She ought to have been driving Neville and staff up the wall together with her meddling. As a substitute she was brown bread. 

That left us with greater than an hour of the televisual equal of the Lighthouse Household – center of the street, immediately forgettable, soporific pap. They threw nearly all the pieces at it in a bid to retain curiosity – similar twins; a love curiosity for Neville so underwritten that she would possibly as effectively have been sporting a T-shirt saying “love curiosity”; Les Dennis as a dodgy stage psychic – and it was nonetheless as uninspiring as an Austin Metro. 

By uninspiring I imply the drip-feed of data to swimsuit the narrative (“I’ve been going by way of the information and I observed…”), the infuriating behavior of characters pondering out loud with a view to dole out exposition, and plot twists so ridiculous I did marvel if this was alleged to be a meta-comedy. It wasn’t. It was alleged to be consoling, Boxing Day, always-sunny-somewhere mild leisure. Advantageous should you fancied a nap, boring as a January commute should you didn’t.

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