EastEnders star revealed as new Death in Paradise lead

Don Gilet has landed Death in Paradise’s new starring role credit:Bang Showbiz
Don Gilet has landed Death in Paradise’s new starring role credit:Bang Showbiz

Don Gilet has landed a starring role in ‘Death in Paradise.

The 57-year-old actor - who played the evil Lucas Johnson in ‘EastEnders’ - will be joining the beloved BBC crime drama as Detective Inspector Mervin Wilson, which the TV star has likened to being given an “incredibly precious jewel”.

In a press statement, he 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!”

Don has taken the role of lead detective following Ralf Little’s (D.I. Neville Parker) departure from the programme, and has begun filming in Guadeloupe with returning ‘Death in Paradise’ regulars Don Warrington, Shantol Jackson, Ginny Holder, Élizabeth Bourgine and Danny John-Jules.

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.”

Mervin Wilson will debut in this year’s Christmas special, before taking the reigns to the programme for its 14th series in 2025 on BBC One.

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!”