There's a Christmas murder mystery night for Madame Blanc Mysteries to solve

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Friday: The Madame Blanc Mysteries Christmas Special (Channel 5, 9pm)

With its ingenious murders, sun-kissed location, regular cast of eccentric characters, and a mix of romance and bickering between the sleuth and her sidekick, The Madame Blanc Mysteries certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes to light-hearted TV detective dramas.

But with that particular genre a crowded field, what makes the beloved Channel 5 series stand out?

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“It’s the antidote to horrible days,” creator and star Sally Lindsay told the Metro. “That’s what we wanted – clever mysteries and something to keep your mind entertained.

Caron, Dom and Jean attend a murder mystery night at the Hotel SanguinetCaron, Dom and Jean attend a murder mystery night at the Hotel Sanguinet
Caron, Dom and Jean attend a murder mystery night at the Hotel Sanguinet

“Just a lovely set of characters who you want to go and have a drink with, where there’s loads of sunshine.

“That’s what I want in a TV programme myself, which is sort of why I made it up. It’s like Lovejoy on Sea, or Bergerac.

“At the time, Escape To The Chateau was massive and I thought it would be great to set something in France based on a lovely antiques dealer called Jan. She’s a pundit on Dickinson’s Real Deal and I met her on holiday about six years ago.”

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Despite being set in France in the fictional village of Sainte Victoire (dubbed ‘the Cabot Cove of France’), The Madame Blanc Mysteries isn’t filmed there at all, but in a different part of the Med – Malta.

Sally explains: “That was a pandemic thing because France was more ‘shut’ than we were. We wanted to film it in 2021 and the only place that was remotely open was Gozo, which is a tiny island north of Malta.”

And what about the lead character – does Sally think the lead character is anything like her? “Well, Jean is definitely me,” she insists.

“I created her because I love the character. Our production company does like to create strong female roles for other actors as well. That’s my ambition. You always like to create work for yourself but I’m really interested in creating roles for other women.”

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In this second Christmas special, ahead of a full third series in 2024, Judith (Sue Holderness) and Jeremy (Robin Askwith) have arranged for their friends to attend a murder mystery night at a hotel with a spooky history.

So Jean, Dom (Steve Edge), Caron (Alex Gaumond) and Gloria (Sue Vincent) join them as they embark on a mini road trip to the Hotel Sanguinet approximately an hour away from Sainte Victoire.

Checking into the hotel they are met by Jeremy’s friends and hotel owners Martin and Lydia.

The couple are being financially crippled running of the hotel and are looking for new investors.

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Their only staff member is Johnson, the Butler, inherited from the previous owner, who has worked at the hotel for many years.

When a terrible storm arrives and heavy rain pounds the hotel, it comes as no surprise to Jeremy who had predicted it by getting a feeling in his big toe.

As the murder mystery night progresses, events take a deadly turn when an actual death takes place.

While everyone else is asleep, Jean, still haunted by spooking goings on, decides to look around the hotel for clues with Dom.

Will they discover who the killer is and explain the ghostly goings on that have haunted Hotel Sanguinet for so long?