Ralf Little’s time as DI Neville Parker on Death In Paradise has come to an end after almost five years.

The 44-year-old aired his last scenes on the Caribbean-set detective show last night (March 24) after taking up the role in 2020, making him the “longest serving detective inspector” of the series so far, the BBC said.

Sunday’s episode saw his character depart to join DS Florence Cassell, played by French actress Josephine Jobert, following encouragements from his colleagues to run after her.

But now in a video shared on @deathinparadiseofficial’s Instagram account, Ralf has said an “enormous” thank you to fans and spoke about how the response to him taking on the character of Neville has been “overwhelming” and an “absolute privilege”.

Ralf Little said 'I knew I had big shoes to fill' on Neville Parker role

He explained: “So there you have it, secrets out, my time on Saint Marie has come to an end. But, what an end. New adventures await Neville and he got to sail off into the sunset with his best friend, and, you know, who knows what happens for them next.”

Ralf went on to thank BBC viewers, adding: “I just want to say, just 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. Coming into a series beloved by millions, including me, was a huge responsibility.

“I had no idea if viewers would take to my interpretation of Neville's character and indeed to me, so it was quite a relief the response has been overwhelming and has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to bring Neville Parker to all of you and to share his really quite profound journey with you.”

The actor went on to say: “I can't thank you all enough for the support over the last four-and-a-half years and as Neville heads off for new challenges and adventures and I head off for new challenges and adventures.

"When I look back at the time I spent on Death In Paradise, the way everyone took Neville into their hearts, it really has been one of the most magical and profound experiences of my entire life. If it wasn't for all of you, I'd have never of got to do it. So thank you, so so much!”

Speaking about the future of Death In Paradise, Ralf revealed: “What next for the show? Well, I couldn't even tell you if I did know but I don't, I don't know.

“But what I do know is that the team that makes it, the producers, the writers, directors, all the crew, guest cast and of course my absolutely magnificent co-stars. They know what they're doing and the future is in good hands. So I'll be watching series 14 along with you guys with the same excitement you all will. I can't wait to see what happens next!"

Ralf said he also has four-and-a-half years worth of behind-the-scenes footage to share, so viewers should “look out for that”.

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Commenting on Ralf’s time on the series, Tim Key, executive producer for production company Red Planet Pictures, said: “Joining a successful show like Death in Paradise as the lead is a daunting and risky prospect, but Ralf’s confidence and talent shone through from day one and the audience response to Neville and his journey has been amazing.

“I can’t thank Ralf enough for everything he has brought to the show, on and off screen, and wish him all the very best for the future.”

Although the casting of Death In Paradise’s new lead actor will be announced in due course, the show is set to return for a Christmas special this year and a new series in 2025.