Death in Paradise fans react to Ralf Little’s emotional departure as DI Neville Parker

Death in Paradise fans have been left “devastated” after actor Ralf Little, who plays DI Neville Parker, left the series for good.

In the final episode of series 13 of the BBC drama, DI Neville Parker’s love interest DS Florence Cassell (played by Joséphine Jobert) returned to the show and the pair rekindled their budding romance. Neville had been quietly pining for Florence since she left the island during season 12 following a dangerous gunpoint situation.

The show, which is set in the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, focuses on the detective inspector from the UK and his team of local police as they solve murder mysteries that continue to shake the island.

After a romantic walk on the beach, Florence and Neville decided that she would join him on his travels. The final frame of the series saw the pair sailing off into the sunset while holding hands.

When the episode ended, fans were uncertain if this meant that Little had definitely left the series, but in a video shared on social media, the actor confirmed that he would be leaving the programme after four a half years of playing DI Parker.

Neville and Florence on ‘Death in Paradise’ (BBC)
Neville and Florence on ‘Death in Paradise’ (BBC)

“There you have it. Secret’s out. My time on Saint Marie has come to an end but what an end,” he said in the video.

“New adventures await Neville and he got to sail off into the sunset with his best friend and uh…you know, who knows what happens for them next.”

“I just wanna say an enormous thank you to everyone who watched and supported the show when I arrived four and a half years ago. I knew I had big shoes to fill, and coming into a series beloved by millions, including me, was a huge responsibility.”

“As Neville heads off for new challenges and adventures, and I head off for new challenges and adventures, when I look back on the time I spent on Death In Paradise and the way people took Neville into their hearts, it really has been one of the most magical experiences of my own entire life.”

“What’s next for the show? I couldn’t even tell you if I did know. But I don’t know. But I do know that the the team that makes it know what they’re doing the future is in good hands. And I’ll be watching series 14 along with you guys and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Ralf Little in ‘Death in Paradise’ (BBC)
Ralf Little in ‘Death in Paradise’ (BBC)

“Thank you to every single one of you. It’s been the ride of a lifetime,” he concluded.

Fans have said they are “devastated” by Little’s departure, though they were pleased his character eventually found love.

“Neville had his happy ending but we’re all going to miss him so much,” said one fan, as another added: “My favourite DI ever. I’m gonna miss him forever.”

“This is bittersweet –  I’m so delighted Neville and Florence have FINALLY got together and I wish them both all the best. But the goodbyes don’t get any easier,” one person wrote.

Someone else commented: “Goodbye Neville. You’ve been an absolute joy. Please come back & visit with Florence at some point. @RalfLittle we’ve loved you as Neville. Thank you for your time on Honoré. You’ll be missed!”

The BBC have not yet announced who will stepping into Little’s shoes. If the show’s directors continue to follow the past format, then viewers will see a new British detective arrive on the island and join the Saint Marie police force.

Ben Miller portrayed DI Richard Poole for the first three series of the BBC show with Kris Marshall taking over as DI Humphrey Goodman from seasons three to six. Father Ted star Ardal O'Hanlon then served as the lead through to season nine.

Death in Paradise is expected to return in the winter.