Jodie Whittaker ‘to replace’ Death in Paradise’s Ralf Little after Doctor Who exit

Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker returns for season 12

Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker will be reportedly leaving the TARDIS after three seasons as the lead in the BBC sci-fi drama. The actress made history when she became the first female Doctor and it looks like she may break BBC records again and take over from Ralf Little as the first woman lead detective in Death in Paradise. 

Earlier in the year, reports emerged Jodie will step down as the Doctor after the series returns for a third time under her tenure later this year. 

Meanwhile, in a recent interview, executive producer Tim Key revealed he would like to see a woman detective take on the key role in Saint Marie. 

Bookmakers Ladbrokes have already begun to price up which actresses they think are most likely to join the tropical island and Jodie has come out on top. 

The Doctor Who star is the frontrunner at 6/1 while Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge is close behind at 7/1.

Read more: Death In Paradise’s Ralf says therapists would have field day with him

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The Thick of It’s Joanna Scanlan and Michaela Coel are both priced at 8/1.

Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes commented: “It’s about time a female took on the lead role in Death in Paradise as there’s plenty of comedic actresses who would suit being Honoré’s DI. 

“The early betting points towards Jodie Whittaker could be heading to Saint Marie once her days as the Doctor are over.”

Will Jodie make history and become the first woman to take charge of the Saint Marie force?

Although Ralf hasn’t announced his departure from the BBC drama, executive producer Tim teased it could be time to say goodbye to a male lead. 

In a recent interview, he said: “Our intention in having the detective solve the crimes [and] it’s to show that that’s sort of the only thing that character can do effectively.

“Because he’s an incredibly broken character, and socially inept. There’s no rule it always has to be a man,” he told The Guardian.

The BBC series first aired in 2011 and has only ever seen male actors leading the Saint Marie murder team. 

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Richard Poole (Ben Miller) was replaced by Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) who was later substituted with Jack Mooney (Ardal O’Hanlon).

Ralf’s character Neville Parker is the latest DI on the island having arrived in Saint Marie last year. 

Although bookmakers Ladbrokes’ have tipped new actresses to take over the role when Ralf departs the show, there are plenty of opportunities for existing characters to be promoted. 

Every time a DI has left Death in Paradise – or in Richard’s case be murdered – a new detective has arrived from England to replace their predecessor. 

However, season 10 will see the return of DS Camille Bordey (Sara Martins) and the anniversary series has already seen Joséphine Jobert resume the role of DS Florence Cassell.

Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) called on Florence to return to the island to assist the Saint Marie police force. 

Could either of these detectives find themselves in charge of investigations if Neville has to step down?

Death in Paradise continues on BBC One on Thursday at 9pm.

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