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Death in Paradise's Ralf Little issues response as replacement revealed - details

Ralf left the show in series 13 after four and a half years

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
May 3, 2024
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After weeks of online speculation, Death in Paradise has unveiled Don Gilet as its new lead detective – and his predecessor Ralf Little was one of the first to react to the news on social media. 

Posting a video on Instagram, the actor shared his joy and wished his replacement the best of luck in his new role. 

 Ralf Little’s replacement on Death in Paradise is Don Gilet© Philippe_VIRAPIN
Ralf Little's replacement on Death in Paradise is Don Gilet

"Well, as of an hour ago on the Death in Paradise official social media, the news is out," Ralf began. "I have actually known for a couple of weeks but obviously couldn't say anything. 

"The new detective is the wonderful Don Gilet and I just want to say, from me to you Don, I hope you have the most wonderful time. It's the most magical experience and I hope you get everything out of it and wish you the best of luck. I'm absolutely sure you're going to be magnificent."

Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker on Death in Paradise © BBC
Ralf wished his successor luck

Signing off the message with a wink to the camera, he said: "Cheers, mate."

Ralf stepped down from the show after four seasons back in March, when his character DI Neville Parker left Saint Marie, finally getting his happy-ever-after with DS Florence Cassell (Josephine Jobert). 

Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker and Joséphine Jobert as Florence in Death in Paradise © BBC
Ralf's exit was revealed at the end of series 13

Speaking about his decision to leave the show, Ralf explained that it felt like Neville's story was finished. "If it was just a heart decision I would have wanted to do it for 20 more years," he said during an appearance on ITV's Lorraine. "But just for the show and for my character Neville it just sort of felt like his story was finished and his journey deserved to be completed. He deserved a happy ending and it just felt right."

WATCH: Ralf Little breaks silence over Death in Paradise exit

Ralf's replacement Don will be a familiar face to viewers thanks to his roles in EastEnders, Sherwood, and Shetland. The actor will make his debut as Detective Inspector Mervin Wilson in the 2024 Christmas special, which will be followed by a brand new season in 2025. 

On taking over as the new DI, Don said: "Being offered the new lead role in Death in Paradise feels like a deeply loved and incredibly precious jewel has been placed in my hands. This is a big show, with a big heart and the love continually grows for it."

Don Gilet attends the 50th Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 2024 © Joseph Okpako
Don has previously appeared in Sherwood, EastEnders and Shetland

The 57-year-old continued: "It is my intention to never lose sight of that and to remain grateful, humbled and dedicated. Even during those testing times when every sinew is screaming at me to run off the set and dive into the sea, swimming pool or an ice-cold beer – whichever happens to be closer at the time!"

The actor will join series regulars Don Warrington, Shantol Jackson, Ginny Holder, and Élizabeth Bourgine. 

Death in Paradise cast celebrates show's 100th episode© BBC
Don will join the show's regular cast in the upcoming Christmas special and new series

Fans were delighted with the news of Don's casting, with one person writing on social media: "Oh wow!!! Good to see him back on our screens in a drama. 55 degrees North was brilliant!"

A second viewer penned: "So looking forward to DI Wilson meeting @DIPHarryLizard on Saint Marie."

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