Death in Paradise Christmas special — release date, cast, plot, trailer, and everything we know

Death in Paradise Christmas Special 2021 Neville, Marlon, Dwayne and the Commissioner
'Death in Paradise' Christmas special sees Dwayne return! (Image credit: BBC / Red Planet / Denis Guyenon)

The Death in Paradise Christmas special 2021 will be shown on BBC1 on Boxing Day and promises to be one of the gems of the Christmas TV schedule.

And, it’s extra special because this will be the first-ever Christmas episode of the hugely popular show!

To make it even more brilliant for fans, favorite Office Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules) is also making a surprise return.

The BBC teases that it stretches "from a grey damp drizzly London all the way to the warm sparkling beauty of idyllic Saint Marie".

The makers have revealed that there’s been a plan for ages to make a festive special, but this time they’ve finally managed one!

Asked if he was excited about making the festive episode, star Ralf Little told us: "Very excited. It will be good fun. We shot it a while back. It didn’t feel very Chrismassy because we made it in like, July!"

Here’s everything you need to know about the Death in Paradise Christmas episode...

'Death in Paradise' Christmas special release date

Commissioner Selwyn Patterson in his Santa gear in the Death in Paradise Christmas special

Our favourite picture from the special. Yes, it's the Commissioner looking grumpy in his festive gear! (Image credit: BBC / Red Planet / Denis Guyenon)

The Death in Paradise Christmas special 2021 will be shown on BBC1 on Boxing Day at 7.30pm. See our Christmas TV guide for a pick of all the festive shows. Following Death in Paradise on Boxing Day on BBC1 is another big drama, A Very British Scandal

Meanwhile, in the US the festive episode will premiere exclusively on BritBox on the same day.

What’s the plot of the 'Death in Paradise' Christmas special 2021?

It’s Christmas time on Saint Marie and Neville is preparing to head to Manchester to spend the holiday with his family. But his plans are abruptly changed when a billionaire shipping magnate dies in mysterious circumstances.

Things only get stranger when a minicab driver in London receives a Christmas card with an ominous message inside that turns the entire case on its head. For Neville and the team, will this be a case they can crack together?

Following the series ten cliff-hanger that left everybody in suspense, Florence is jetting off for Christmas, leaving the team a member down. So, the Commissioner decides to enlist the help of retired officer, Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules).

Alongside Marlon, Dwayne employs his unique style of policing to help investigate the case. Left to their own devices, the pair struggle on the best plan of action for apprehending a suspect. As rain falls, tensions rise - but as Christmas Day approaches, will they realise they’re more like one another than they originally thought?

Also, Florence clearly returns at some point during the episode as the BBC has heavily hinted that the Florence/Neville romance saga will finally go somewhere. Quite where isn’t clear. But we do know that Neville will get an answer. We wonder what it will be?!

Talking about the Neville/Florence romance, Ralf tells us: "The fans absolutely loved the idea, in fact they coined the hashtag #Floreville which I was all about, I just thought that was a lovely idea."

Fingers crossed it works out for Neville...

Mathew Baynton in Death in Paradise

'Ghosts' actor Mathew Baynton plays Colin. (Image credit: BBC / Red Planet / Denis Guyenon)

Who’s in the cast?

Death in Paradise Office Dwayne Myers

Look who's back! (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet Pictures/Philip Volkers)

The biggest excitement is that Danny John-Julies is back as Officer Dwayne Myers. Danny John-Jules says: “It’s always a pleasure going back to the Caribbean. And after four years away, fitting back into the fold should be seamless as I know all the new leading cast members already. I look forward to bringing Dwayne and this tenth-anniversary special script to life.”

Dwayne is teamed up with Officer Marlon Pryce in the festive episode. Talking about their relationship, Danny says: "What Dwayne is seeing [in Marlon] is himself, that's the relationship there. He's like, 'this was me, the young copper who didn't want to be a copper, who was saved from a life of crime by his mentor'. If Dwayne is angry with Marlon, he's angry with himself, so that was a good relationship to play. It was something different for Dwayne — normally he's on the front foot, but in this one he's always catching up."

Meanwhile, the regular cast is back with DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little), Florence (Josephine Jobert), The Commissioner (Don Warrington), Catherine (Elizabeth Bourgine), and Marlon (Tahj Miles) all returning. There’s also a heap of guest stars: Mathew Baynton (Ghosts), Juliet Stevenson (Riviera), Stanley Townsend (Informer), Jocelyn Jee Esien (Jack & The Beanstalk: After Ever After), Anthony Calf (Poldark), Tessa Bonham Jones (The Trial of Christine Keeler), Elizabeth Tan (Emily in Paris) and Tariq Jordan (Law and Order: UK).

Talking about the guest cast, Ralf tells us: "We get incredible guest stars on this show. Wonderful people to work with. Juliet Stevenson is just amazing. Juliet has this amazing body of work and she came in and was incredibly professional and magical to watch her act but also totally lovely, totally easy-going. She was just great fun."

Florence in the Death in Paradise Christmas special

Florence in the 'Death in Paradise' Christmas special. (Image credit: BBC / Red Planet / Denis Guyenon)

Is there a trailer?

Not yet, watch this space!

How long is the 'Death in Paradise' Christmas special?

It's 90 minutes! So, 30 more minutes than normal. It's the first feature length episode of the show and it wraps up the show's 10th anniversary celebrations.

Meanwhile, Death in Paradise Season 11 will hit our screens in January 2022.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!