Ralf Little and the gang are back to solve another Caribbean murder mystery this Christmas as Death In Paradise returns for its second festive special.
This year's story involves true-crime podcaster Jennifer Langan (played by Derry Girls star Siobhán McSweeney), who is murdered while in Saint Marie researching a cold case story involving a missing boy that she intends to cover on her show — which also happens to be one of the first cases that Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) worked on when he started out in the police force.
A recording that Jennifer made shortly before she died seems to suggest, inexplicably, that her killer was the ghost of the missing boy — but DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) doesn't believe in ghosts, and is sure there must be a more logical explanation.
We caught up with Ralf to find out what we can expect from the Death in Paradise Christmas special 2022...
Ralf Little interview for the Death In Paradise Christmas Special 2022
Last year's Christmas special was the first one in Death In Paradise's 11-year history. Are you excited to get to do another?
"Yes! I still think there is something particularly special about Christmas TV. It's when the family is most likely to be all together, the grandparents, the parents, the kids, and you're all going to sit and watch stuff together. Obviously our first one last year went down well enough that they wanted to do it again! It does feel special, being on TV at Christmas — I've been lucky enough to do it a few times now, with The Royle Family and so on, so I'm very very happy to be doing it all over again!"
What can you tell us about this year's festive special?
"This Christmas special is an old-fashioned traditional Christmas ghost story, it's got Dickensian overtones. Obviously we can't suddenly set it in Dickensian times, but in terms of its tone and messaging, it really has a Christmas ghost story feel. It's really ambitious and bold by the writers, and I think people are really going to like it. It's not got jump-scares, it's not something that the kids can't watch, but it has an unsettling, slightly unnerving tone, like A Christmas Carol."
You've got great guest stars in this one including Siobhán McSweeney and Les Dennis. What was it like having them on the show?
"I'm a huge fan of Siobhán's, it was great to have her out, and she was just absolutely fantastic. Les and I have crossed paths a couple of times over the years and he's absolutely lovely, and what's great about this show is that my generation knows him for specifically one thing, which was hosting a gameshow [ITV's Family Fortunes].
"Obviously, if you do a bit of research you know that he's a very accomplished stand-up and comedy performer, but I just love the fact that this show went, 'let's get Les Dennis out to do this slightly unlikeable character, let's trust him'. This show really isn't afraid to cast against type in a really exciting way, and what it means is you get people like Les Dennis coming out and being absolutely brilliant. I think he had a lot of fun, and I think the audience is going to really enjoy seeing him in this!"
There's also a possibility of new romance for Neville this Christmas, isn't there?
"Yes, love is possibly in the air for Neville! It's complicated — there's a character, Sophie, played by Chelsea Edge who is absolutely brilliant, and she arrives on the island like a bombshell. Neville's immediately smitten, and we'll see how that plays out, but he still misses Florence terribly, and that complicates things. It's not all smooth sailing for Neville, but Chelsea is fantastic and funny and I hope we have good chemistry on screen!"
- The Death In Paradise Christmas Special airs on Monday December 26 on BBC1 at 9pm in the UK
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Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com (opens in new tab), who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.
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