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19 October 2019, 12:04
The Royle Family star has reportedly signed up to play the new D.I. in the BBC murder mystery show.
Ralf Little has been cast as the new detective in the hit BBC drama Death in Paradise, according to reports.
The 39-year-old actor is set to replace Ardal O’Hanlon as the crime show's lead detective inspector as the series makes its return next year.
The Royle Family star is expected to arrive in the Caribbean during season 10 to solve a string of grizzly crimes on the tropical Island of Guadeloupe.
Greetings from the Caribbean!— Death in Paradise (@deathinparadise) October 18, 2019
Here’s a sneak peek of the new D.I taking over from Ardal O’Hanlon to unravel the island’s murder mysteries.
Who do you think will be playing him? Answers on a postcard, please! #DeathInParadise coming to @BBCOne in 2020. pic.twitter.com/GgiOXMxqYj
Show bosses teased fans with a cryptic photo of the mystery new actor joining the line-up on social media and asked for their predictions.
Posting a snap of the brand new policeman sat on a beach hammock with his back to the camera, the BBC tweeted: “Greetings from the Caribbean! Here’s a sneak peek of the new D.I taking over from Ardal O’Hanlon to unravel the island’s murder mysteries. Who do you think will be playing him? Answers on a postcard, please! #DeathInParadise coming to @BBCOne in 2020."
Viewers speculated over who they thought the Father Ted star's replacement might be, with many guessing Hugh Laurie or the return of Kris Marshall.
But TV sources quickly silenced rumours it was anyone but Ralf, despite the fact he appeared in series two in 2013 as a completely different character.
An insider told The Mirror: “Ralf has already started work solving strange deaths on the show and we think fans will love him.”
A photo of the British actor, who went on to find success as Jonny Keogh in sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, was also posted on Twitter by a lady who was holidaying in Guadeloupe.
Next to a snap of herself huddled between Ralf and Death in Paradise cast member Don Warrington, she wrote: "@RalfLittle hi Ralf, you're my very 1st tweet, lol. Wanted to share my photo with you from my recent trip to Guadaloupe, the chatty one in Deshaies patisserie. Thank you for making my holiday there special. X"
@RalfLittle hi Ralf, you're my very 1st tweet, lol. Wanted to share my photo with you from my recent trip to Guadaloupe, the chatty one in Deshaies patisserie. Thank you for making my holiday there special. X pic.twitter.com/m4lWHqEhIq— Julie Marley (@JulieMarley16) October 18, 2019
Actor Ardal, who has played D.I. Jack Mooney in the beloved sun-soaked drama for the last four years, will step down from the lead role during series nine.
He said: "I’ve spent the last four summers in Guadeloupe playing DI Jack Mooney (solving over 20 murder cases in my time there!)
"It’s been a hugely rewarding and unforgettable experience, working with incredibly talented actors, directors and crew while discovering a magical part of the world.
"However, it’s time to move on and explore other opportunities - preferably nearer the Arctic Circle.
"I’m confident that Death in Paradise will go from strength to strength and viewers will share my enthusiasm for Jack’s successor.”
The crime-solving part has previously been played by Ben Miller and Kris Marshall.