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Death in Paradise producer reveals real reason they chose Ralf Little as Ardal O'Hanlon's replacement

Death in Paradise is back with another series – with a new face coming to the island

Hanna Fillingham

Death in Paradise returns to screens on Thursday night – and fans can't wait! This series will see viewers say goodbye to Ardal O'Hanlon's DI Jack Mooney after three years of leading Saint Marie's police force, who is set to depart midway through the show. Ralf Little will be joining the cast in his place, as he takes on the role of Detective Inspector Neville Parker, who gets dispatched to the island to investigate the suspicious death of a woman from Manchester. Series producer Tim Key revealed he wanted Ralf on board as soon as his name came up, and noted that it was especially good that the actor had been in an episode before, so he knew what to expect from the show.

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Ralf Little is set to join Death in Paradise as Detective Inspector Neville Parker

He explained: "As a huge compliment, Ardal's character is very nice and very loveable, so we wanted a character who was a bit more challenging for people to bring a bit of friction into the mix and as we talked about it and who would fit the bill. Ralf's name come up, and we immediately said, 'Oh yeah, he would be great,' and he came and met with us about it and the minute his name was in the mix you think, 'Yes, he'd be perfect for it.'"

MORE: Death in Paradise star Ardal O'Hanlon reveals real reason he's leaving the show

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Ardal O'Hanlon is leaving series nine of the popular BBC One drama

Tim continued: "He has the familiarity with the audience but it's an opportunity with that a bit and show him in a different way and because he's been in an episode before he knew the environment, and he knew what to expect which is a big deal - it's good to go into it knowing!" On how Ralf was chosen, Tim joked that it was because the actor had said 'yes', before adding: "We knew broadly want we wanted to do with the character and we knew what energy we wanted the show to have - it's very hard to go, okay we had Ben and we had this then Kris and we had that, then Ardal was something different, he was older and in a different place in his life and we wanted to bring back some of the spike that the earlier series had."

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When it was announced that Ralf would be in the next series of Death in Paradise, he said of his new starring role: "It took less than 0.005 seconds to say yes to playing the new DI! 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."

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