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Ralf Little unveiled as new Death In Paradise detective to replace Ardal O'Hanlon

Actor Ralf Little is the new murder-solving policeman joining the BBC hit drama Death In Paradise.

Show bosses revealed a cryptic photograph earlier today showing an actor sat on a hammock with their back to the camera.

The Mirror can reveal it is the former star of the sitcom The Royle Family Ralf who has signed up to replace Ardal O 'Hanlon.

Ralf is 39 and the fourth actor to take the lead DI role since the show began.

Ardal O'Hanlon is leaving his role as DI Jack Mooney

Ralf Little is the new cop on the island

A show source said: "Ralf has already started working on solving strange deaths on the show and we think fans will love him."

O 'Hanlon, 54, previously joined the sun-soaked detective series as D.I. Jack Mooney, when the Caribbean police team followed a lead to London and ended up taking him back to the fictional island of Saint Marie.

However, after four years of leading the squad in solving the idyllic Island's murder mysteries, O'Hanlon made the decision to stop filming on the sunny shores of Guadeloupe to explore other opportunities, including continuing with his career as a stand-up comic.

Ralf Little will join the Death In Paradise cast

O 'Hanlon said: "I've spent the last four summers in Guadeloupe playing IN 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."

Ardal will leave screens during series nine which transmits on BBC One from January 2020 and Ralf will also join in this series.

Since launching in 2011, Death in Paradise remains one of television's highest-rated dramas with eight pulling series in an average of over seven million consolidated viewers.

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