Death in Paradise star Don Gilet's Newcastle past uncovered after role in 'forgotten' BBC drama

DON GILET as Nicky and DERVLA KERWIN as Claire in 55 Degrees North
DON GILET as Nicky and DERVLA KERWIN as Claire in 55 Degrees North -Credit:BBC

He maybe the new lead star of Death in Paradise, but Don Gilet has already played the lead in another BBC crime drama, starring in an often 'forgotten' show filmed in Newcastle.

Viewers were left gutted in March, when Ralf little made his Death in Paradise exit as DI Neville Parker, having been in the cast for four years. After 36 episodes and three feature-length festive specials, Ralf sailed off into the sunset quite literally at the weekend as Neville sailed away with DS Florence Cassell, played by Josephine Jobert, after their ‘will they, wont they’ storyline reached its emotional conclusion.

As soon as credits rolled on Ralf's final episode, speculation started on who would come into replace him. And after many rumours and predictions, including one that Doc Martin's Martin Clunes would get the job, it was announced last week that former EastEnders star Don will lead the next series.

READ MORE: What happened to Vera's former stars? Tragic death, shock return, famous wife and Barbie movie

Get all the latest TV and showbiz news and gossip from Chronicle Live with our free newsletter

Over the moon at getting the part, Don commented: "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."

Don has already started filming with his co-stars and is due on screen in a Christmas special later this year, but viewers with a good memory will recall that he already has TV detective experience under his belt, having starred alongside Dervla Kerwin in Tyneside based drama 55 Degrees North.

The show, sharing its name with a well known apartment complex in Newcastle city centre made a much hyped debut on BBC One back in the summer of 2004, with its launch attracting an audience of over five million, as the action was centered on fictional force Tyneside Police. The main protagonist in 55 Degrees North's plot was Don's character DS Nicky Cole, who was sent packing to the North East, after blowing the whistle on a senior police officer guilty of corruption in London.

Filming on the show took Don, Dervla and co-stars like Dinnerladies' Tony Dunn, all over the region to the likes of Gateshead, where the set of Tyneside Police HQ was based and Holy Island, before ratings dipped and the final episode aired in 2005 to an audience of three million.