It’s not all smooth sailing for new crime drama The Good Ship Murder

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Friday: The Good Ship Murder (C5, 9pm)

It was hard to know what to expect from this new eight-part drama series from Channel 5 and featuring erstwhile Corrie co-stars Shayne Ward and Catherine Tyldesley.

From the outset it was billed as a crime drama, suggesting (if you ignore the slightly overt title) something gritty. But then promos were made available and what we saw was bright, colourful and camp enough to make Death in Paradise look like Cracker.

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Like Death in Paradise, The Good Ship Murder is pure entertainment, with a good amount of low-key comedy thrown in for good measure.

Cruise singer Jack and First Officer Kate team up to solve a murder in La RochelleCruise singer Jack and First Officer Kate team up to solve a murder in La Rochelle
Cruise singer Jack and First Officer Kate team up to solve a murder in La Rochelle

The two soap-star leads are perfect, Ward playing former detective-turned-cruise ship cabaret singer Jack Grayling, and Tyldesley as newly promoted First Officer Kate Woods – who is determined that everything runs as smoothly as possible, worried that any blip or hiccup might see her demoted.

Naturally it’s not all smooth sailing on the Mediterranean, and this week a new face joins the passenger list in the form of a famous crime writer, Stephanie St James (Terry Bamberger).

On telly, murder follows crime writers around almost as frequently as it does ex-coppers, so with both of those professions in the mix in this episode, you can be sure someone will meet an untimely end – and it will fall to Jack to ensure the mystery is solved swiftly, so Kate can get back to running a tight ship.

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Sure enough, in Lisbon, the author’s husband dies in circumstances that appear to be eerily similar to events in her own book. With a host of super-fans, hangers-on and writerly rivals all floating about, the pool of suspects is as deep as the Med itself.

It’s a bold decision to have a different, self-contained murder mystery in every episode, each in a different (and beautiful) port of call, but one has to wonder whether, by the end of the cruise/series, the ship is under some kind of a curse. Perhaps the vessel was designed in Midsomer?

And the murder detective-to-cruise ship singer career pathway is certainly an unusual one, but it’s perfect for Ward.

The actor explains: “I’m really excited to be taking on this exciting role in this brand-new drama, allowing me to combine my two passions: music and acting. It really is a dream come true!

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“Getting to work alongside my good friend Catherine again has been magical, and all while cruising around the Mediterranean… heaven.”

Ward and Tyldesley memorably played Corrie’s Aiden and Eva, a couple who endured more than their fair share of troubled waters.

Tyldesley also seemed to enjoy the reunion, saying: “I’ve loved taking on the role of Kate and keeping Jack in his place at sea.

"Being reunited with Shayne on a Mediterranean cruise has been so much fun and this series has been a joy to make and I’m sure will be a joy to watch – who doesn’t love a cruise?”

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