Ralf Little named as new Death in Paradise detective

The Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps star will take over from Ardal O’Hanlon in the upcoming series

Death in Paradise S9 - early release

After quite a bit of speculation, the new fish-out-of-water detective headed to the sandy beaches of BBC1’s Death in Paradise has been revealed, with Ralf Little set to take over from Ardal O’Hanlon in the upcoming series.

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Little (who was on RadioTimes.com’s shortlist for the job) will take on the role of Detective Inspector Neville Parker, a Manchester detective dispatched to the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie when a woman from his home city is murdered.

“It took less than 0.005 seconds to say yes to playing the new DI!” Little said. “How could I not?

“Ardal has been wonderful in the last few series and to follow in his footsteps in a place as idyllic as Guadeloupe was a great honour and a dream come true.

“It is a joy to play Neville and I can’t wait for viewers to see him in Paradise this series.”

Little’s DI Parker will end up being the fourth British detective to find himself investigating murders on the beautiful Saint Marie, with the popular murder-mystery series originally starring Ben Miller’s DI Richard Poole, who was replaced by Kris Marshall’s DI Humphrey Goodman, who was in turn replaced with Ardal O’Hanlon’s DI Jack Mooney.

Little will join current regulars Don Warrington, Tobi Bakare, Shyko Amos, Aude Legastelois and Elizabeth Bourgine in the series, which films in Guadaloupe – and intriguingly, it won’t be his first visit.

You see, Little has actually appeared in the series once before, playing Will Teague opposite Ben Miller’s original detective Richard Poole in a 2013 episode, so who knows? Maybe some Saint Marie residents will recognise him…

“I am so pleased to welcome Ralf Little to the island, who we know will be brilliant in the role of D.I. Parker,” BBC Drama Commissioning Editor Tommy Bulfin said.

Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker in Death in Paradise (BBC)
Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker in Death in Paradise (BBC)

“Death in Paradise brings escapism and joy to BBC One and I can’t wait for viewers to see what’s in store in the new year.”

“We’re delighted to welcome Ralf to the team – he’s not only a great actor but also extremely funny and from the moment he stepped on set we knew the show was in safe hands,” executive producer Tim Key added.

“Neville is a true fish out of water and the island of Saint Marie is going to test him to the core. We’re hugely excited about the future and can’t wait for the audience to meet D.I Parker.”

O’Hanlon’s Jack Mooney is still set to appear in 2020’s new series, which will explore the mysterious storyline of how his character Jack ends up leaving Saint Marie behind (previously, the detectives have either moved away happily or been murdered, so it could go either way).

Little is expected to take over at some point during the new series, which airs from January.

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Death in Paradise returns to BBC1 on 9th January 2020 at 9pm