BBC Death in Paradise confirm Ralf Little's replacement: 'This is a big show with a big heart'

BBC Death in Paradise confirm Ralf Little's replacement: 'This is a big show with a big heart'

Ralf Little recalls embarrassing moment in DIP jacket

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 02/05/2024

- 16:12

Updated: 02/05/2024

- 17:10

Ralf Little confirmed he was leaving the BBC series after four years earlier this year

BBC Death in Paradise has confirmed that Don Gilet will be taking over from Ralf Little as the lead detective for the island of Saint Marie.

Little played DI Neville Parker and sailed off in the sunset with his love interest Florence Cassel (played by Jospehine Jobert) at the end of the latest series.

Now, former EastEnders star Gilet will be taking on the role of Detective Inspector Mervin Wilson.

Speaking about the role, Gilet 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!"

The announcement was made over on Death in Paradise's official Instagram account, where they captioned a photo of Gilet: "We've got some really exciting news... there's a new detective in Saint Marie!

"Please give a very warm welcome to Don Gilet who will play DI Mervin Wilson!."

The reveal was met with some mixed views from long-term watchers, as one user commented: "Was he not already in an episode where he murdered his wife - I am confused."

Commenting on the previous characters he has played, another added: "Hopefully he commits less murders than his previous character on the show."

Don Gilet

Don previously starred in EastEnders as Denise Fox's abusive and killer husband Lucas


Giving him a chance, a third said: "I haven't watched him in anything so I can't comment on his previous acting. I'll obviously give him a chance, it's Death in Paradise!"

"Excellent choice - remember everyone he's an actor not the person he's played FFS," one quipped before a fifth penned: "Very cool. Although I would have loved to see a woman on board in the lead."

Death in Paradise

Death in Paradise: Ralf Little's replacement has been confirmed


Gilet will be making his debut as Mervin Wilson in this year's Christmas special after he arrives on the island of Saint Marie in an unexpected manner and is immediately thrown into the chaos.

The show’s executive producer, Tim Key, said he was thrilled to welcome him to the series and said: “Don is an amazing actor and we’re delighted that he’s joining us as the show enters another exciting new era,” he said.

“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.”

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