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Ardal O’Hanlon explains why he's leaving Death in Paradise

Death in Paradise star Ardal O'Hanlon as DI Jack looking thoughfully into the distance
(Image credit: BBC/Red Planet/Denis Guyenon)

Death in Paradise star Ardal O’Hanlon reveals why he's departing the BBC1 series…

All good TV things must come to an end, and sadly for fans of BBC1’s hit crime drama Death in Paradise, it’ll soon be time for DI Jack Mooney to leave the sun-soaked (fictional) island of Saint Marie...

When leading man Ardal O’Hanlon (opens in new tab) announced he was packing up as DI Jack Mooney, he joined the ranks of predecessors Ben Miller and Kris Marshall.

Fortunately Death in Paradise is robust - like Trigger’s broom in Only Fools and Horses it successfully survives change. And with Ralf Little already announced as O’Hanlon’s successor, the big question now is – will Jack leave Saint Marie alive or dead?

We chatted to the very funny Death in Paradise star Ardal O’Hanlon, 54, for more…

Death in Paradise series nine Ardal as DI Jack Mooney

Ardal is leaving as Jack during series nine

Why do you feel it’s time to leave Death in Paradise?

Ardal O'Hanlon: "To be honest with you it was always on the cards. It’s a tough old station out there, being away from family for so long. There’s only so much you can do, no matter how much you love it – and I really do love it. I’ve been involved in four series and solved over 20 murders!"

MORE: Silent Witness star Emilia Fox on why she's gone brunette for the new series

Will Jack be going out with a bang?

AOH: "I can’t tell you very much about my exit storyline. I’m under strict instructions not to reveal anything! I can tell you I’ve filmed four episodes for the new series and there might be the odd flirtation for Jack. All the key plot ingredients are there against the fantastic backdrop of the island. I’m sorry to wield my power in this way but I don’t want to give anything away, or I might never be allowed to work in television again!"

Comedy legend Don Warrington returns as Commissioner Patterson

Recommssioned. Comedy legend Don Warrington returns as Commissioner Patterson (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet/Philip Volkers)

What about this week’s opening episode?

AOH: "There’s a big festival in Saint Marie – they have a lot of festivals given the island’s high murder rate! Our guest stars include Samuel West and Ade Edmondson, and it’s about a family-at-war. When Aaron’s (Elliot Cowen) wife Vanessa (Amanda Hale) is stabbed by a man in a devil mask suspicions fall upon his estranged brother. I love the villains in Death in Paradise. You often have very posh, bickering families and sometimes don’t have much sympathy for the victims either!"

Adrian Edmondson in his Death in Paradise guest role

First look: Adrian Edmondson in his Death in Paradise guest role (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet/Denis Guyenon)

We also hear that Jack goes to dance classes…

AOH: "Yes he does, but I don’t think I’ll be doing Strictly any time soon. I’m a dancer trapped in the body of a tree!"

When Jack departs Ralf Little is set to take over as DI Neville Parker. Did you have any advice for him?

AOH: "We’ve been in regular contact and I’ve given him general notes, but it’s funny… I remember when I started there was nothing Kris could tell me to prepare for it. Specific advice doesn’t land until you get there. I mainly told him about things to do in his spare time because Guadeloupe is a magical place. I’m really going to miss it."

What was the best advice you received?

AOH: "When you’re working from 7am until 7pm it can get a little hot under the collar. Keeping cool is really important. The best piece of advice I got was to wear as little as possible. Within a week or two of starting the job I lost all shame and was stripping down between takes!"

Death in Paradise returns to BBC1 on Thursday 9 January at 9pm.

Elaine Reilly
Elaine Reilly

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.