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Death in Paradise star Elizabeth Bourgine reveals son's role in season 13 - exclusive

Elizabeth Bourgine joined HELLO! to chat about 100 episodes of Death in Paradise 

Elizabeth Bourgine - from Paris to Paradise
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
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Death in Paradise star Elizabeth Bourgine is one of the longest serving members of the cast - and now it looks like it is becoming a family affair as she revealed that her son, Jules Miesch, is joining the cast of season 13

In an exclusive interview with HELLO!, Elizabeth opened up about her family life in Paris and working away in Guadeloupe, and chatted about her husband and son. The actress lives with her husband writer Jean-Luc Miesch in Paris, but gets plenty of sunshine at her alternative base in the South of France, as well as while filming in Guadeloupe. “I love Paris because I have all my memories here: when I had my first bicycle, when I went to the theatre for the first time. I was very young, it was like guignol [puppet theatre],” she says in her delectable French accent. “I love Paris because I just feel at home. I love the colour of the light, the colour of the buildings, everything. I love it. I feel comfortable here.”

Elizabeth Bourgine: from Paradise to Paris © Sandra Fourqui
Elizabeth Bourgine: from Paradise to Paris

Their son Jules, 33, is also an actor, is based. “We’re all in Paris,” Elizabeth says. “My husband and I are near the Luxembourg Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. “Jules wanted to be a chef when he was young and worked with Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon,” she adds. “He worked in a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. He did this for two years and then he said: ‘It’s not my life. I want to stop. I want to be an actor.’ I said: ‘Oh, come on!’

WATCH: Death in Paradise is back for season 13

“He went to a famous school in Paris, Cours Florent, for three years and then worked on stage in different theatres for five or six years. Now, he’s been in [French TV series] Clem, Capitaine Marleau, Tout va Bien and he has a part in Death in Paradise! Series 13, episode eight!” 

Despite Jules visiting Elizabeth on several occasions during her time on the show, they missed one another when he was filming the new series. “When he went to Guadeloupe, I was gone. I left on the Tuesday, he arrived on the Wednesday. He was there until the end of the shooting – and he was invited to the party!

Elizabeth Bourgine and her son Jules Miesch © Pascal Le Segretain
Elizabeth Bourgine and her son Jules Miesch

“He knew the cast because he came very often. He knows Don [Warrington, who plays Commissioner Selwyn Patterson] very well. He was taking care of the guest cast on his episode and took them around Guadeloupe. He said those three weeks were wonderful.” So does he play the murderer? “I can’t say,” she replies, laughing. 

The longest-serving cast member of Death in Paradise – she first appeared in the second episode in 2011, and is in its 100th episode, which will screen this Sunday – Elizabeth travels to Guadeloupe’s coastal town of Deshaies, which serves as the fictional Honoré, at least six times a year for filming.

elizabeth bourgine© Photo: BBC
Élizabeth divides her time between Paris, the south of France and Guadeloupe

“The others stay for six months. I don’t. I come for a week, sometimes two, sometimes just four days. It’s like those members of your family who are always travelling; when they come back, you just want to be with them. So when I arrive in Guadeloupe, I always want to see my friends.”

She also enjoys exploring the island on the rare occasions she’s not working. “If I have to stay longer because of the schedule or the weather, I love taking my car and then heading somewhere. I think: ‘I don’t know that street,’ so I’ll go there and I get lost the same way. Then what I love is coming back to my hotel and writing.”

Death in Paradise 100th Episode, Darlene (GINNY HOLDER), Marlon Pryce (TAHJ MILES), Catherine Bordey  (ELIZABETH BOURGINE), Selwyn Patterson (DON WARRINGTON), Naomi Thomas  (SHANTOL JACKSON), DI Neville Parker (RALF LITTLE),100th Episode© Red Planet Pictures/Denis Guyenon
Elizabeth is celebrating the show's 100th episode

But what is she writing? A murder mystery novel, perhaps? A screenplay for a Death in Paradise episode? “No, it would be different,” she says. “It’s not a journal, it could be something for a novel – it’s just that I need to write things I feel.”

While she isn’t penning anything for the show, Elizabeth often speaks to the writers about scripts, especially if something feels out of character for bright and friendly Catherine.

“Sometimes they have to change things at the last minute and I’ll say: ‘Well, she wouldn’t say that.’ But usually the dialogue is really good. “Catherine is a strong character so she imposes things. She has a way of speaking her words, a way of thinking, so the writers usually have fun writing for her.”

elizabeth bourgine
Elizabeth has starred on the show since 2011

Elizabeth clearly adores playing Catherine, who is also the mayor of Saint Marie and mother of Detective Sergeant Camille, played by Sara Martins, who left after the last series. “I’ve loved Catherine since day one,” she says. “I love that woman and she gets stronger because through the series, it’s like she’s getting proud of her age, proud of her maturity, proud of being what she is in Death in Paradise, because I think she’s very important.

“Catherine is a dream of a woman. We say she’s the Queen of Saint Marie because she’s the one everybody is related to. We all need her. She is always wise to everybody, but she also has humour and style. And in this series, you’re going to discover a bit more of her past.”

Elizabeth Bourgine as Catherine Bordey and Doon Mackichan as Melanie Parker in Death in Paradise© Denis Guyenon
Elizabeth Bourgine as Catherine Bordey and Doon Mackichan as Melanie Parker in Death in Paradise

Does she see much of herself in the character? “Catherine and I can’t separate now. Through the different stories, you get the scripts and you imagine her. But I live with Catherine. “When you’re an actor, you give so much to a character. It’s so much of you. But Catherine gives you so much, too, so we’re much more like twins the more it goes.”

Giving HELLO! a teaser of the new series, she adds: “In season 13, Catherine will see one of her best friends from when she was a young woman. She will be embroiled in a murder because her friend will be a suspect. They will both have to share their past. “It’s a lovely episode because we’ll see what happened to Catherine when she was young and we’ll understand what happened to her friend, too. 

“It’s a very good episode for women because it speaks to women of Catherine’s age and for girls now. It’s an episode I love very, very much. I’m very proud of this episode.”

Élizabeth Bourgine plays Catherine Bordey in Death in Paradise© Denis Guyenon
Élizabeth Bourgine plays Catherine Bordey in Death in Paradise

As well as the return of Death in Paradise, a new series, its spin-off Beyond Paradise, in which former stars Kris Marshall and Sally Bretton reprise their roles as DI Humphrey Goodman and his fiancée Martha Lloyd, is entering its second run. A third show, Return to Paradise, which is set in Australia, has also been commissioned. Would Elizabeth be keen to get involved?

“Of course,” she says. “Catherine could go anywhere and give a little bit of energy if people need it. It was lovely seeing Kris and Sally when they came to Guadeloupe. We had a wonderful dinner; were laughing and having rum, so happy to see each other.”

As for a spin-off for her own character, she says: “It would be nice to see Catherine and Selwyn because they’re so different. It would be very funny; like black and white, positive, negative energy; humour and friendship. They love each other really.” But she has no plans to leave. “As long as Catherine is there, I’m happy to be there.

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