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Death in Paradise star reveals clever trick writers use to keep audience guessing on murder-mystery

Death in Paradise season nine has come to an end – did you guess the plot?

Francesca Shillcock

Death in Paradise has reached the end of series nine which saw the departure of Ardal O'Hanlon's character DI Jack Mooney and the arrival of new detective DI Neville Parker, played by Ralf Little. The BBC show, which has been running since 2011, has remained hugely popular with its audience throughout the years despite the cast changes. And former lead star Ardal, who left the show earlier in the current series, revealed a clever trick that the writers employ to keep the viewers gripped on the murder-mysteries.

WATCH: Death in Paradise says goodbye to DI Jack Mooney

Speaking to HELLO! and other reporters in an interview prior to his departure from the drama-comedy, the Irish-born actor explained how the writers manage to keep the audience guessing on the perpetrators of the murders in the show. "They've experienced enough at this stage, so they kind of know that most of the audience are going to be guessing it's gonna be this [person] or that [person]," he said. "So they will always change it at the last second." Clever!

The actor, who is also known for role in hit comedy Father Ted, continued: "It's difficult as well because obviously you have such loyal fans, and so there's always someone that everyone thinks done it, and then there's someone that you think 'they won't think it's that person', but then it turns out to be someone completely different." Ardal explained the reasons why he felt it was best he stepped down. "I would be very worried about overstaying my welcome," he began, adding: "When I started, I thought I'd be lucky to last a summer, and I kind of always in the back of my head [thought] you do three series and that's kind of it."

MORE: Viewers point out flaw in Death in Paradise episode - did you spot it?

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Ardal left halfway through series nine

Since his departure from the long-running BBC programme, viewers have welcomed Ralf Little as DI Neville with open arms. Taking to social media, one viewer wrote: "I didn't think I would get over Jack but love Neville already. He's a great addition and already makes everything funnier." Another person added: "He'll be just fine! So glad all the inspectors play it slightly differently. Love @RalfLittle so far."

READ: Ralf Little reveals he was told to stop being chirpy on Death in Paradise set

And it seems, like Ardal, Ralf is also complimentary of the writers' tactic when it comes to planning the script. "It's an amazing thing, they've got this formula. So in every episode they do a setup of new characters, a murder, a whole puzzle, a really complex, complicated puzzle that has to be unthreaded, a red herring plot, comedy subplot, and our character overarching stories that go across the whole series. And they do all that in an hour… And the fact that they make it look easy makes it even more impressive. I just think the formula works beautifully. I just hope people like me doing it!"

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