DI Neville Parker, played by Ralf Little, spent the last series of Death In Paradise harboring strong feelings for his colleague, DS Florence Cassell (Joséphine Jobert) — finally plucking up the courage in the finale to let her know how he felt.
But the Death in Paradise Christmas special has revealed that things didn't quite go to plan for Neville's grand declaration of love, but is there still a possibility of romance between him and Florence?
We chatted to Ralf to ask him that very question, and to get the lowdown on what else we can expect from series 11 of Death In Paradise...
Ralf Little on what's next for Neville and Florence
"That conversation didn't go how he hoped it would go, and after that kind of conversation, it's very difficult to just carry on as though things are normal. It's going to affect the dynamic between them in a way that they're going to have to figure out in some way — whether they figure that out by ignoring it and hoping it goes away, or by confronting it directly, I can't tell you!"
"As an example, my other half [writer Lindsey Ferrentino] is American, and Americans deal with this kind of conversation bizarrely frankly, it's amazing — they say things like 'I've really got feelings for you', and somebody goes 'oh I'm sorry, I don't feel the same way' and they go 'oh okay, no worries' and they go about their day. I was trying to explain to her that that's not how the Brits work, and she just couldn't wrap her head around it — she was like, 'so how do you deal with anything?' and I was like 'well, broadly speaking, we don't'."
"The best example I could give her was when Joey started to develop feelings for Rachel in Friends, and everyone in America was going 'yeah, you gotta tell her how you feel' and everyone in Britain was going 'DON'T DO THAT! That's the last thing you should do, that's a terrible idea!' because it could go the way you hope it's going to go, but if it doesn't, you're going to have to deal with, like, feelings, and of course to us Brits that's a horrible idea. The best thing I can say about the Florence/Neville dynamic is it doesn't go quite according to plan for either of them..."
What do you make of the possibility of a romance between them?
"The fans absolutely loved the idea, in fact they coined the hashtag #Floreville which I was all about, I just thought that was a lovely idea. It would be some really fun character stuff to explore, and more interesting stuff to do with Josie as an actor, who's absolutely fantastic, beautiful, charming and funny. I love working with her, so why wouldn't we want to explore those storylines as much as possible? So yeah, I'm all for it, and luckily so are the fans!"
What can you tell us about the mysteries in series 11?
"We have a fair few fun things! We've got a skydiving episode, there's a kidnapping, there's a death in the middle of a concert which is great, there's a case at a rehab clinic, and we have a whole episode centred around a chess match! They're as ambitious and diverse as ever, these cases — every time you read a new episode, you slightly marvel at it. It's very easy to be quite cosy, but they're very ambitious with the scope of things they like to tackle on Death In Paradise, so it always keeps us on our feet, always keeps us guessing."
You've also got a new team member joining — Sergeant Naomi Thomas, played by Shantol Jackson. What can you tell us about her?
"She's taking over the position that was previously held by JP, played by Tobi Bakare, and she arrives very nervous. She's from a very small island where not a lot goes on, and she hasn't worked any really big cases. By the standards of fictional Caribbean islands, Saint Marie is quite big, so she's coming to quite a bustling island from a smaller, quieter place. She's pretty nervous that she's not going to be up to speed or fit in professionally — she wants to prove her intelligence and show that she's up to the job. Brilliantly, because of that, she's incredibly meticulous and professional, and goes above and beyond regularly to show that she's worthy of the job."
We had that lovely arc last year of Neville trying to broaden his horizons and really embrace life in Saint Marie — is he still carrying on with that?
"Oh yeah, this year he starts his own rum distillery and joins a reggae band! No — that would be amazing though, wouldn't it? It was lovely, it was a wonderful arc to play. Neville arrived on the island as a man who, through necessity really, had chosen to limit the number of experiences he was willing to have in his life, because it was too difficult to cope with the repercussions of what that might mean in terms of his mental and physical health."
"Slowly but surely, he's grown into this idea — he's slightly shifting his paradigm to deciding that sometimes when he's pushed out of his comfort zone, it is going to be uncomfortable but with the help and support of his colleagues and his friends, it's going to be worth it. It's never complete, it's never finished — there's never a point where Neville's like '[brightly] and now I'm fine with everything!', because that's not reality, that's not how the world works. But it has been a wonderful journey to work through, and see what the next phase of it is — and that's what happens in series 11."
- Death In Paradise returns on Friday January 7 on BBC1 at 9pm.
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