Why did Sara Martins leave Death in Paradise as Camille Bordey?

Sarah Martins as Camille Bordey in Death in Paradise
(Image credit: BBC)

Death in Paradise fans were thrilled that Sara Martins returned as Camille Bordey for the show's 10th anniversary. But why did Sara Martins leave Death in Paradise as Camille Bordey in 2015? And why did she leave again in 2021?

Here is an interview she gave to us at the time of her departure as Camille during series four, Sara talks about her decision. She also talks about what she’d miss about making the show. And it’s clear she missed it a lot as returned for Death in Paradise season 10! We also look at why she left again in 2021.

Sara Martins on why she left as Camille Bordey in Death in Paradise (interview given at time of her first departure)

Tonight DS Camille Bordey waved goodbye to the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, before disappearing into the sunset. Was it important to keep Camille’s shock departure a secret? “We like to have some big surprises in the show to maintain the audience’s interest! In Death in Paradise we always have a murder at the beginning and dénouement at the end, so it’s important to have collateral surprises with the regular characters in between. Like when Ben Miller’s DI Richard Poole was killed off — that was quite bold! There can only be so many stabbings, shootings and drowning!”

Richard Poole on a beach in Death in Paradise with Camille in the background

There was more than a hint of romance between Camille and Richard

Was it a hard decision to quit BBC’s hit whodunit? "Yes tremendously hard. I’ve loved everything about the show. But the only way to grow in life is to take risks, even if it means losing something you love, or leaving a place that’s comfortable. You should always go forward and take new challenges. The unknown is so seducing, although it’s scary!"

You’ve been working on Death in Paradise since 2011, what have been your highlights? "That’s tricky to answer because there have been so many, every day on set! I’ve loved working with such amazing people. Both the British and local crews are really talented. Being so far away from home, we’re more than just co-workers, we’ve really got to know each other and connect. And when you work on a comedy, work is fun. We’ve had some good times on set."

What do you think you’ll miss most about the job? "The joking around and playing of tricks! The scenes were so funny we were all in this kind of mood, so we had a lot of laughs. When you’re with friends, one joke leads to another! I think those vibrations between us came across on screen. I’m going to miss that most of all – and, of course, being in beautiful Guadeloupe."

That said, what will you not miss about the job? “Those 12-hour days, and then having to go home afterwards and learn lines in English! Sometimes, being away from home can be tough too. And also I won’t miss the sound of the cockerels!”

You mention Ben Miller’s departure. Did that change the job a lot for you? “Of course, yes. When I first arrived on the programme I was this French girl guest. The show was really on Ben’s shoulders and I followed him. I’m still really grateful to him for making this the best job. When Ben left I realised it was on me to try and be the locomotive he’d been, as I knew the show’s dynamic, my character, and everyone.”

How easily did Kris Marshall fit into the show? "Luckily with Kris, he’s a locomotive himself! When he arrived, as the new guy in town, he was under pressure. But he’s so energetic and warm he took his place — very easily and naturally — as leader of the show. It was great because we were really a team.”

When it came to your exit storyline did you want to be killed off like Ben? “We wanted to make the best exit, and they didn’t want to kill me off – there was no reason to. It was perfect for me because I wanted to say goodbye to Camille and the audience. And who knows, there’s always the possibility I can come back!”

Why did Sara Martins leave Death in Paradise as Camille Bordey for a second time?

Sara Martins returned to Death in Paradise to mark the show's 10th anniversary. She returned as Camille in episode five, which was the first part of a two-part special. Camille comes back when her mother, Catherine, is attacked. Camille is also in the second part of the special and enjoys a moving, ghostly reunion with her late former boss, DI Richard Poole (Ben Miller). But once Camille is happy her mother is safe, she again leaves Saint Marie. We can only hope she pops up in Death in Paradise season 12!

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.