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Who will replace Ralf Little in Death in Paradise? Our theories as we investigate...

 Florence and Neville hug in Death in Paradise season 13 episode 8.
Florence and Neville hug in Death in Paradise season 13 episode 8.

Fans are debating who will replace Ralf Little in Death in Paradise? After four years on the BBC One hit, Ralf has officially left the show, sailing into the sunset at the end of Death in Paradise season 13 with Florence.

Ralf said: "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!

"I want to say an enormous thank you to everyone who watched and supported the show when I arrived four and a half years ago. Coming into a series beloved by millions was a huge responsibility and I had no idea whether viewers would take to my interpretation of Neville's character, and indeed to me.

"It was quite a relief that the response has been overwhelming, and it's been an absolute privilege and a pleasure to bring Neville Parker to all of you and to share his quite profound journey with you. I can't thank you all enough for the support over the last four and a half years."

But the big question now is who should replace him? We strongly wanted Josephine Jobert to take over as Florence, but now she's headed off with Neville this seems unlikely.

The show feels like it could do with a bit of a refresh having clocked up over 100 episodes and perhaps the makers will go in a slightly different direction. Perhaps a female lead character? Maybe one of the current team could be promoted to lead detective?

However, it's more than possible that the show will stick with its tried and tested formula and have a male officer from the UK come over as the lead detective. Looking at the past actors for more clues, they've all had a comedy background. We've ruled Not Going Out's Lee Mack out as he previously said he didn't like flying, so not sure this would be a great show for him! Here are some front runners for the job on Saint Marie...

Simon Bird

Simon Bird smiling
Simon Bird smiling

The Inbetweeners star has emerged as the strong favorite to take over from Ralf. Simon, who starred in Friday Night Dinner and Everyone Else Burns, looks an obvious fit for Death in Paradise. We could imagine him being similar to Humphrey in having that chaotic style while being a brilliant cop.

Martin Clunes

The Doc rushes to a rescue.
The Doc rushes to a rescue.

Martin Clunes looks like a safe pair of hands choice. He's a well-established star and proved he could lead a show with Doc Martin. He has now finished Doc Martin and he'd bring the right mix of humour and drama to the show. We could just imagine him on Saint Marie, cracking cases!

John Thomson

John Thomson
John Thomson

The Fast Show star has a long comedy background and proved in a recent episode of Silent Witness that he was rather good at playing a detective. His Silent Witness part also illustrated how capable he was of playing a more serious role and Death in Paradise would give him a greater chance to show off his comedy skills. He actually popped up before as a cop on Death in Paradise in a guest spot, but that was so long ago it could be brushed over!

Miles Jupp

Miles Jupp
Miles Jupp

We're putting Miles on our list as we reckon he'd be great as the lead detective. We certainly could imagine him as a madcap genius cop and reckon he'd be similar in character to Ben Miller's DI Richard Poole. Anyone who remembers him as Nigel in Rev, will recall how much fun he can be as an actor. He was also great in The Durrells and has made numerous appearances on panel shows.

Diane Morgan

Diane Morgan
Diane Morgan

The Mandy and Cunk on Earth star has also been linked to the series. Death in Paradise is yet to have a female lead and Diane would certianly be an unsual choice. Something about her part in Motherland suggests she’d bring a delicious dry wit to the part and it could see Death in Paradise go in a slighty different direction.

Matthew Horne

Matthew Horne at Nan screening
Matthew Horne at Nan screening

Matthew Horne has actually already been in Death in Paradise, appearing during Ben Miller's time on the show. However, Ralf Little was also previously in the show before being cast as the lead, so that won’t stop him from having a shout. The Gavin & Stacey star almost seems too similar to Ralf though and perhaps the makers will want to shake things up a bit more.

Romesh Ranganathan

Romesh Ranganathan smiling at a movie screening
Romesh Ranganathan smiling at a movie screening

The comedian obviously has the humor for the part, but would the makers want to go such an obvious comedy route? Perhaps after all the recent drama the show needs some comedy!

Jodie Whittaker

Jodie Whittaker begins regenerating in Doctor Who
Jodie Whittaker begins regenerating in Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker would seem in many ways perfect for the part, displaying a mix of humor and mad genius in Doctor Who. Having now left Doctor Who, might it be the perfect time for Jodie?

Josephine Jobert

JOSEPHINE JOBERT PLAYS FLORENCE CASSELL IN DEATH IN PARADISE
JOSEPHINE JOBERT PLAYS FLORENCE CASSELL IN DEATH IN PARADISE

Josephine Jobert is a long shot to be the new detective as she's now headed off with Neville. But it might not work out and she could return?! In our opinion, she'd be great. It would bring a whole new dynamic to the show if a detective came over from the UK as the deputy rather than the lead.

Perhaps a young officer could come over from the UK and Florence could mentor him/or her?

Indeed episode seven of the latest series felt like Florence advertising that she could quite easily run a case by herself. She was the one to gather the suspects and declare who the murderer was, which looked like a way to prepare viewers for the fact she might be taking over.

It would also make sense in terms of her career. She has the right experience and has proved herself more than capable.

Every show needs to reinvent itself once in a while. Look at how successful Shetland's been with Ashley Jensen taking over lead detective duties from Douglas Henshall.

Shantol Jackson

A shot from Death In Paradise showing Shantol Jackson as DS Naomi Thomas, leaning against a palm tree
A shot from Death In Paradise showing Shantol Jackson as DS Naomi Thomas, leaning against a palm tree

Shantol Jackson could take over lead detective duties as Naomi Thomas. Naomi has been watching and learning from Neville and we know she's ambitious. Why couldn't The Commissioner give her a chance as the chief detective? Again this pick would be a chance to send the show in a different direction and give it a refresh.