'Death in Paradise' star Ralf Little talks taking over from 'fantastic' Ardal O'Hanlon on BBC crime drama

Amy West
Contributor
Ralf Little says he has 'big shoes to fill' when it comes to replacing Ardal O'Hanlon in BBC crime drama 'Death in Paradise' (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Death in Paradise actor Ralf Little said he feels a “huge responsibility” taking over from fan favourite Ardal O’Hanlon.

Ahead of his character being introduced in tonight’s episode of the BBC crime drama, the Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps star admitted he’s “very honoured and flattered” to be coming aboard but he’s all too aware he’s got some “big shoes to fill.”

Read more: 'Death in Paradise' star Ardal O’Hanlon reveals what he’ll miss most about filming the show

“I think he’s fantastic,” Little told Express, referring to O’Hanlon’s performance as DI Jack Mooney before going on to recall his nerve-wracking audition process. “I read a dummy script, because they had a vague idea who the character was going to be but it wasn't really fully formed yet.

“Then, I sort of forgot about it because it was one that I really wanted,” he explained. “The ones you really want you’ve got to forget about or you’ll drive yourself mad. About 10 days later, I got a phone call from my agent saying, ‘You’re going to be the new detective in Death In Paradise.’”

O'Hanlon previously revealed that he stepped down from the role as DI Jack Mooney in order to spend more time with his family (BBC)

“There was not one part of me that was cool about it, you know there was no, ‘Well, you know, it’s just another day... another job.’ I was just absolutely delighted,” the 39-year-old gushed. “I love the show. I mean, it was a joy.

“I was out there for two and a half months [last] summer and I just had the absolute time of my life.”

Little is set to play Neville Parker, an allergy-riddled, Manchester-born detective inspector who’s tasked with travelling to Saint Marie following the apparent suicide of a British tourist.

Read more: Ardal O'Hanlon opens up about why he quit ‘Death in Paradise’

He’s the fourth DI to have descended on the picturesque island since Ben Miller’s original stint as Richard Poole between 2011 and 2013. Replacing him was Love Actually’s Kris Marshall in 2014, as Humphrey Goodman, before O’Hanlon joined the show three years later.

When asked whether there’s any truth to the rumours that Marshall might reprise his role at some point, Little remained coy but said it’d be a “nice idea.”

He concluded: “We would have a lot of fun. We worked together. I worked with Kris before, so we know each other pretty well.”

Death in Paradise continues tonight at 10pm on BBC One.