Reports suggest Ralf Little will replace Ardal O’Hanlon in the lead role for Death In Paradise.

The Irish actor is leaving the light-hearted BBC detective series, with the former star of The Royle Family due to take his place.

If confirmed, Little will be the fourth actor to inhabit the role of the lead detective solving crimes on the fictional island of Saint Marie.

Ben Miller originally played DI Richard Poole in the first two series of the show, before his character was killed off at the start of the third.

Kris Marshall then stepped in as DI Humphrey Goodman, whose character initially investigates Poole’s murder. Marshall left the role with his character resigning during series six, and was replaced by O’Hanlon, who plays DI Jack Mooney.

The Mirror has reported that Little has already begun work on the show, filmed in sunny Guadalupe.

Ardal O'Hanlon
Ardal O’Hanlon (Ian West/PA)

On Twitter, the BBC has teased the identity of the potential new lead actor on the show, with a picture being posted of an unknown figure from the back.

Social media images have since shown Little with a fan in the French Caribbean.

The BBC has so far declined to comment on casting for the show.

The actor had success with Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps alongside Sheridan Smith.

Death In Paradise is due to return to TV screens in 2020.