Death In Paradise star Ralf Little has said it was a “Herculean effort” to get the show finished in time for its usual winter broadcast.
The actor, 40, returns as DI Neville Parker in the new series of the BBC One detective show, which is filmed on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
He told BBC Breakfast the cast and crew worked to ensure filming wrapped in time for the show to air in January.
Production on the 10th anniversary series started late with additional safety measures, including social distancing, face coverings and temperature and Covid-19 testing.
Little said: “We only finished a couple of weeks ago which seems insane now to say it because it seems like a lifetime ago.
“I think I left the island on the 20th of December just in time for Christmas. It has been very hard work, if I may say, quite an achievement, to have got it all done in time.”
Little said the production started more than two months behind schedule.
He added: “We made a commitment and the company made a commitment to try and get the show broadcast at the same time this year as any normal year.
“So it has been a real Herculean effort to get it done on a real time crunch. And yet here we are and we seem to have managed it.”
— Death in Paradise (@deathinparadise) January 4, 2021
Appearing alongside co-star Don Warrington, Little said the escapism of Death In Paradise was more important than ever after the Prime Minister ordered a new national lockdown across England.
He said: “I think that has always been one of the programme’s greatest strengths, that it is on in January just after new year.
“That slight slog where everyone feels cold and miserable and they have to get going for the year again and back to work reality.
“And then Death In Paradise comes along with a taste of sun.
“That is as important now as it has ever been when we have been getting some pretty depressing news in terms of lockdown, so hopefully it is going to lift people’s spirits more than ever.”
DS Florence Cassell, played by fan favourite Josephine Jobert, also returns to the show.
Little replaced Ardal O’Hanlon in the lead role on the tropical detective series.
Death In Paradise airs on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One.