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Death in Paradise’s Ralf Little says Neville has ‘to repair his damaged heart’

The actor and his Death in Paradise co-stars tease what fans can expect in the new series

Death in Paradise (BBC)
Death in Paradise's new series sees Neville Parker facing his 'trickiest journey' yet. (BBC)

Death in Paradise will see Neville Parker struggle "to repair his damaged heart" following a tumultuous year on the Caribbean island of Saint Marie, Ralf Little has teased.

Speaking with Yahoo and other publications, the actor admitted his character is about to embark on the "trickiest journey" he's ever faced in the BBC drama. This is namely because of his experience with Sophie Chambers (Chelsea Edge), who he had a romance with in series 12 only to learn she was a criminal using a fake name and none of their relationship was real.

This has had a knock on effect on Neville, who is going into series 13 with a whole new outlook on life. Little explains: "I've noticed since I've been in the show that every year the creative team —the writers, producers and ourselves— we're all really trying to push the envelope more and more... they've really made great strides in trying to give the characters background and development and most importantly, challenges and hurdles for the characters to overcome.

"I think every single one of the the principal characters has something going on in their personal lives and something that they have to overcome and last year, of course, Neville's [story] was a real whirlwind. It was really tough, everything that went on with Sophie and the Christmas special we saw... his confidence and belief in finding love and all of those things has been really knocked.

Death in Paradise (BBC)
Ralf Little said Neville's 'confidence and belief in finding love... has been really knocked' since last season. (BBC)

"So it's about him, a lot of it's trying to recover from that and and to learn to believe again, learn to be open to new experiences again, which is an ongoing theme with Neville from when he arrived on the island. There's a few twists and turns as well, a few surprises for him, a few surprises for the rest of the characters.

"I think this series is about Neville trying to repair his damaged heart and soul this series and, in many ways, that's the trickiest journey he's ever had to embark on yet."Ralf Little

Don Warrington, who has been on the show since its first series as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson, explains how it's "very important" for the BBC crime drama to do more with its characters than just present them with a new case each week. Series 13 does so in its premiere, the show's 100th episode, which delves deeper into Selwyn's backstory after he is left fighting for his life after being shot.

"It's very important if one wants to sustain these characters that we gives them a history, we give them an emotional base to work from," Warrington says. "I think everybody said it, but that's began to happen in the last series.

"I think, because of the longevity of the thing we have to expand the characters. We have to take them places that they haven't been before, we have to try to surprise the audience and I don't know yet [but] hopefully that will continue."

Death in Paradise season 13 sees Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington, centre) fighting for his life after being shot by a mystery assailant. (BBC)
Death in Paradise season 13 sees Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington, centre) fighting for his life after being shot by a mystery assailant. (BBC)

The actor goes on: "The thing about this particular crime in this episode is that [it] emotionally involves everybody. And I think that's what gives it a degree of importance really, that everybody cares, and I think as we go along we'll see that happen more and more."

"What Don's saying is exactly right," Little concurs. "We're really trying hard, harder every year, to give the characters background and challenges. A lot of shows in this genre have 90 minutes per episode to do this, and we have to do all that within an hour and still have a satisfying mystery and puzzle. I've said it before and I'll say it again, a lot of hard work goes into making this show seem as easy as it is to watch.

"I think I'm more proud of series that every year, every series that we've done I feel more and more proud of that, I think we take it a step further every year. And hopefully this year will be no exception."Ralf Little

The growing development goes for supporting characters too in the new season, like Naomi Thomas (Shantol Jackson) and Darlene Curtis (Ginny Holder). Both actors reflected on their character arcs in the forthcoming series, sharing what fans can expect from their characters in the long run and the challenges they face.

Shantol Jackson and Ralf Little star in Death In Paradise. (BBC)
Shantol Jackson and Ralf Little's characters Naomi and Neville will work tirelessly to find the culprit whilst dealing with their own personal battles in Death In Paradise. (BBC)

Jackson's character, for example, is still trying to contend with the events of the Christmas special after she shared an unexpected kiss with co-worker Marlon Pryce (Tahj Miles).

"I love the back story," Jackson explains. "I always say, obviously the show it's about drama and resolving crimes but we're also human beings and we're trying to navigate our lives while being police officers, so I was very excited that there was so much character development.

"There's a lot of drama in the 100th episode, and so you'll see the team trying to navigate that whole situation, but also Neville having this long standing situation with trying to find love."Shantol Jackson

"Naomi goes on this journey as well from the Christmas episode, she's so committed to getting her job done and getting it done right and she has to realise this is not all there is to life. She's young and... it's been two years and she hasn't been on a date, like what's going on? So I was very excited to see that and it was across the board for all the characters, and it gives us more to do."

Death in Paradise (BBC)
Ginny Holder's character Darlene will be integral to Neville in the new series, as the actor said she helps 'guides him a lot throughout'. (BBC)

Holder adds that Darlene is "still quite feisty" as she prepares to go from trainee to "officer extraordinaire" in the new series, with the actor revealing: "She has so much support for Neville and his drama, and the things that he's going through. She tries to encourage and support him, which is nice.

"She's guiding him, she guides him a lot throughout series 13. She has a bit of a moment in one of the episodes where she gets duped by someone she knew quite a few years ago, so that was quite challenging for her. She doesn't quite like things like that to happen, she likes to be in control does our Darlene."

Holder goes on to tease: "There's a lot of exciting things, there's a lot of fun. There's a lot of laughter and excitement towards the end of this series, I think you're gonna be nicely surprised."

Death in Paradise series 13 premieres on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday, 4 February at 9pm.

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