Death in Paradise confirms EastEnders star will replace Ralf Little as new Detective Inspector - all the details

Virgin Radio

2 May 2024, 15:00

Ralf Little, Shontel Jackson and the cast of Death in Paradise

Credit: BBC

Death in Paradise officially has a new Detective Inspector on the way to Saint Marie!

Following the departure of Ralf Little at the end of series 13, EastEnders and Doctor Who star Don Gilet will take over the reins of the Caribbean crime team. 

The Shetland actor will make his Death in Paradise debut during the 2024 Christmas special later this year, before kicking things off properly for series 14 in 2025. 

Don will play Detective Inspector Mervin WiIson - who arrives on the idyllic island of Saint Marie from London, and isn’t overly pleased with his new surroundings. 

The Beekeeper actor has already begun filming in Guadeloupe, alongside Death in Paradise regulars Don Warrington, Shantol Jackson, Ginny Holder, Élizabeth Bourgine and Danny John-Jules.

Speaking in a statement, 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. 

“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!”

Tim Key, Executive Producer for Red Planet Pictures - behind both Death in Paradise and Beyond Paradise, added: “Don is an amazing actor and we’re delighted that he’s joining us as the show enters another exciting new era. We’ve got huge plans for the new series and beyond, and I can’t wait for the audience to meet Mervin and to see what we’ve got in store...”

Fans may recognise Don from EastEnders as criminal-turned-preacher Lucas Johnson. He made his first appearance in 2008, making on-off stints in 2010, 2016, 2020 and 2021. Don recently returned to Albert Square in January of this year. 

The telly star has also appeared in the likes of Silent Witness, Holby City and even appeared in an episode of Death in Paradise in 2015!

Don’s announcement comes just a few weeks after former DI Neville Parker, played by Ralf Little, set off into the sunset with DS Florence Cassell at the end of the previous series. 

After four years – made up of thirty-six episodes, three feature-length festive specials (and a cheeky cameo in spin-off show Beyond Paradise) - Ralf confirmed season 13 would be his last, saying in a statement in March: “My time on Saint Marie has come to an end – what an end! New adventures await Neville, and he got to sail away into the sunset with his best friend. Who knows what happens for them next!”

Death in Paradise will return for a Christmas Special later this year, with series 14 set to start in 2025.