Death In Paradise reveals lead detective as EastEnders actor Don Gilet

Don Gilet is the new lead detective of the hit BBC show Death In Paradise.

The British actor, known for his role as the villainous Lucas Johnson in the soap EastEnders, will play detective inspector Mervin Wilson.

His character will travel to the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie from London and will be not “overly pleased with his new surroundings”.

Broadcasting Press Guild Awards – London
Don Gilet at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

He takes over from Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps and The Royle Family star Ralf Little.

Gilet said: “Being offered the new lead role in Death In Paradise feels like a deeply loved and incredibly precious jewel has been placed in my hands.

“This is a big show, with a big heart and the love continually grows for it. It is my intention to never lose sight of that and to remain grateful, humbled and dedicated.

“Even during those testing times when every sinew is screaming at me to run off the set and dive into the sea, swimming pool or an ice-cold beer – whichever happens to be closer at the time.”

He has also starred in Holby City, Silent Witness, Doctor Who, Shetland and The Stranger.

Gilet was congratulated by Little in an Instagram video, where he said he hopes that it is the “most magical experience”.

Little added: “I wish you the best of luck. I’m absolutely sure you’re going to be magnificent.”

Gilet made a guest appearance in series four Death In Paradise episode Stab In The Dark as Andre Morgan when Kris Marshall as DI Humphrey Goodman was the lead detective on the island.

He has recently begun filming in Guadeloupe and will appear in a feature-length Christmas special in December before a 14th series in 2025.

Tim Key, executive producer for Red Planet Pictures, said: “Don is an amazing actor and we’re delighted that he’s joining us as the show enters another exciting new era.

“We’ve got huge plans for the new series and beyond, and I can’t wait for the audience to meet Mervin and to see what we’ve got in store.”

Others who played the main DI role include Father Ted star Ardal O’Hanlon and Bridgerton actor Ben Miller.

Lindsay Salt, director of BBC Drama, said: “We could not be happier to welcome Don to the series.

“Already known to BBC viewers from the likes of Sherwood, EastEnders and Doctor Who, he’s long been one of the UK’s most exciting actors. Death In Paradise is in brilliant hands – roll on Christmas.”

An Australian spin-off, called Return To Paradise, has also been commissioned by the BBC and a spin-off Beyond Paradise featuring Marshall as DI Goodman in the UK has been renewed for a third series.