Ardal O’Hanlon has announced that he is waving goodbye to BBC crime drama Death In Paradise after three sun-soaked years.
The 53-year-old actor joined the popular programme as DI Jack Mooney in 2017, but said it is “time to move on and explore other opportunities”.
He will make his final appearance in the forthcoming ninth series of the programme, which is filmed on the French-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
O’Hanlon said: “I’ve spent the last four summers in Guadeloupe playing DI Jack Mooney (solving over 20 murder cases in my time there!)
“It’s been a hugely rewarding and unforgettable experience, working with incredibly talented actors, directors and crew while discovering a magical part of the world.
“However, it’s time to move on and explore other opportunities – preferably nearer the Arctic Circle.”
“I’m confident that Death In Paradise will go from strength to strength and viewers will share my enthusiasm for Jack’s successor!” he added.
Death In Paradise, which is set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, launched in 2011 with Ben Miller in the lead role.
Kris Marshall took over for series three to six, then O’Hanlon joined the show for the sixth season.
DI’s Mooney exit storyline has not been revealed.
Tommy Bulfin, commissioning editor, BBC Drama, said: “We will be sad to say goodbye to DI Jack Mooney when the time comes. Our audiences have loved the joy and humour he has brought to the Saint Marie police force over the last four series.
“Everyone at the BBC would like thank Ardal for his time on Death In Paradise but it’s not the end just yet; as one door closes another one opens, and we are very excited about what’s to come in the next chapter.”
Red Planet Pictures executive producer Tim Key said: “They say never meet your heroes but working with Ardal is everything I could have hoped for.
“He’s a fantastic actor and a lovely man and we will all miss him enormously.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for his time as our lead detective and his story isn’t over yet – viewers will have to see how, why and when Jack Mooney leaves, but I don’t think there will be a dry eye in the house.”
Series nine airs on BBC One from January 2020, and a 10th series has already been commissioned.