Bury actor Ralf Little has said that in his heart he wanted to continue starring as the main detective in Death In Paradise.

The 44-year-old left the Caribbean-set BBC crime show at the end of last month after four years on screen.

Little, also known for Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps and The Royle Family, had been the longest-serving detective inspector of the series so far as Neville Parker.

His character departed to join his romantic interest DS Florence Cassell, played by French actress Josephine Jobert, on a journey outside of the fictional island of Saint Marie.

Bury Times: Undated BBC Handout Photo from Death In Paradise. Pictured: Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker  and Shantol Jackson as Naomi Thomas. PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV  Death In Paradise. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV

He told BBC Breakfast: “This last series was always going to be my last series, I had talks with the BBC, and with Red Planet, the production company and we all agreed that it just felt… if it was in my heart, like if it was just a heart decision, I’d have wanted to do it for 20 more years.

“But just for the show, and… for my character Neville, it just sort of felt like his story… it deserved to be sort of finished and his sort of journey… sort of deserved to be completed and he deserved a nice happy ending and so it just felt right.”

Bury Times: Ralf Little at Bolton School(Ralf Little at Bolton School)

Little took over from Father Ted star Ardal O’Hanlon in 2020.

Read more: Ralf Little and Will Mellor going on tour for Two Pints Live

Other actors who played the main DI role include My Family star Kris Marshall, whose character Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman features in the spin-off Beyond Paradise, and Bridgerton star Ben Miller.

Death In Paradise will return with a Christmas special at the end of this year and a new series is set for 2025.

The BBC said the next lead actor will be announced in “due course”.