If news that Peter Capaldi is quitting Doctor Who isn’t enough earth shattering news to take, the BBC has also announced that Kris Marshall will be stepping down as the detective inspector in Death In Paradise. His replacement will be none other than comedian Ardel O’Hanlon in a move of ingeniously unexpected casting and he took his bow on the show last night (02/02/17) as the team set out for London for the two-part episode half way point of Series 6.
He’ll then be taking over the reigns for the rest of the series, before picking things back up for a stint of his own in Series 7 next year. If you’ve missed the series, there’s still time to catch up on iPlayer ahead of the closing half of the two-part episode on the 9th February 2017.
Incredibly, the show has been going since 2011 when Ben Miller had the leading role as D.I. Richard Poole, until he was written out with a murder that Marshall went on to investigate. Kris has been in the role since Series 3 in 2014, but revealed on This Morning that he had decided to leave the show to spend more time with his family.
The first episode in the Man Overboard two-parter last night introduced O’Hanlon as D.I. Jack Mooney with the Death In Paradise team in London as they investigate the murder of a man found five miles out at sea back in Saint Marie. However, with Humphrey’s love dilemma, it’s pretty clear that things were always going to reach an impasse for him at some point.
Ardel O’Hanlon is best known for his role as Father Dougal McGuire in Channel 4’s Father Ted back in the 1990’s, which was comedy gold, so we’re pretty excited at the prospect of seeing him back on TV. His last significant appearance was his championship winning run on Celebrity Mastermind, which is pretty impressive in itself, but the appointment to the detective show will be his toughest challenge yet. There’s much more serious content than anything he’s done in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see how he plays the character.
It continues the show’s left-field casting tradition, but also provided the closest thing you’re ever going to get to a Father Ted / Red Dwarf mashup with Danny John-Joules the longest serving cast member on Death In Paradise. Seeing Cat and Dougal together on a desert island has been well worth the wait and the good news is that there’s a whole lot more of it to come. If there isn’t a brilliant “drunk on rum” scene somewhere in the wings then we’ll be very surprised. We’ve also got our fingers crossed for references to milk floats, house bricks and looking gorgeous.