Last night saw the concluding episode to series 10 of Death in Paradise. In a series that marked 10 years since the show first aired, viewers watched DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) overcome huge challenges, facing his fears and stepping out of his comfort zone to embrace island life.
As well as Neville developing over the series, the arc also saw him grow feelings for his colleague DS Florence Cassell (Josephine Jobert), and in the final scenes of last night’s episode, Neville decided to take the ultimate leap out of his comfort zone and tell Florence how he felt about her.
Viewers were on tenterhooks watching Neville try to find the words to tell Florence he liked her, but just as he went to speak, the credits rolled, meaning viewers will have to wait until next series to find out what happened next. Luckily, Metro.co.uk already spoke to Executive Producer of the series Tim Key, where he teased us with what’s to come.
‘All I can tell you is when the show comes back viewers will absolutely find out what happens next, when it’s back we will let everybody know. With situations like Neville and Florence’s it’s very hard, if you get people together it can be the end of a partnership in dramatic terms, but at the same time you can’t stretch things out for too long because the audience get frustrated. We’ve got a really cool plan, we know where it’s going and the audience will be very satisfied with it, there’s a story to tell and I think we needed the time to tell it.
‘We’re being a bit devilish hooking how we’ve hooked but it’s not because we don’t know where the story is going, we know exactly where it’s going and it’s really cool.’
Tim has enjoyed the audience growing to love Neville, as well as plans to explore his character further and find out more about him.
‘We’ve not met Neville’s mum in the show yet and maybe we will, maybe we won’t,’ he continued. ‘I love the idea in my head that she’s not the sort of comedy overbearing mother she’s just someone who wanted the best for her son and everything they tried didn’t work. It’s quite sad really. You hope the audience will see beyond the shell of the character and become intrigued by them and wonder what makes them tick and wonder what their secret is really. To me, that seems to have happened this year, there’s been some lovely warm moments with Neville and there’s been some insights into his life and his history, we learnt he had a girlfriend and he lived with her for a few years which perhaps isn’t what you might expect from Neville, but he’s clearly had a life, there’s just a bit more depth to him and that’s what the audience have warmed to and responded to, I’m very pleased they have embraced him more.
‘I think it’s been heartening when we’re able to play a bit more depth to the character and the story, that’s when the audience start to fall in love with him because they think, “Oh, we’re not just doing a cheap gag. Here is a guy who’s got issues he’s been living with for all his life.”
‘We’ve talked a lot about his upbringing and his family, and we’ve got ideas of things we can play out in the next series as well, the idea that he’s had to live on the side-lines and watched as his friends and family have gotten on with their life and he’s not been able to and not out of any cowardness on his part just that every time he’s taken a step forward something has slightly wrong footed him.’
Over the course of the series, we’ve seen Neville overcome some huge challenges.
In series nine, the thought of changing his routine and not completing his rituals sent him ‘out of whack’ but this series, we’ve watched him face his fears like never before.
‘I think it’s always difficult to bring a new lead into a show,’ Tim explained. ‘I think the audience get to know and love the previous person and there’s always a sort of kickback when the new one starts.
‘We have to all find the character together, we knew who Neville was meant to be, when we knew Ralf was playing the character we knew what that meant, it takes a while for the audience to get to know him and we always felt very clear about what we wanted to do with Neville.
‘I don’t want to say it in a blasé way, but we were hopeful the audience got to know him they would take him to their hearts, he’s got elements of characters we’ve seen before, there’s a slight Richard Poole about him, but at the same time he’s his own person and his challenges are very different to other peoples’.
‘I feel when you create a character to be in a show like ours, you can’t just have them happily existing in their own environment, they need to be challenged by it and they need to sort of be broken in some way and need healing, and all of those lead detectives have been broken in a sense.’
According to Tim, everything about Ralf’s seamless arrival into Death In Paradise has gone to plan.
‘I can honestly say it’s all creatively gone as we’d hoped it would,’ he said. ‘We didn’t compromise on anything, the series that’s gone out is exactly the series we set out to shoot.
‘The response has been a real joy and privilege to be associated with, we felt everything we hoped had happened, the audience have really enjoyed it, I’m very happy with how it’s all gone.’
Death in Paradise is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.