The actor on his first leading role, giving up a career in medicine for The Royle Family, and his new year resolutions

Greater Manchester born and bred, Ralf Little, 40, was studying to be a doctor at Manchester University when he was offered the role of Antony in The Royle Family and abandoned his medical studies. His subsequent TV credits include Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, The A Word, Inside No 9 and Doctor Who, along with film and stage roles. He recently took over the starring role in BBC One’s hit detective drama Death in Paradise, which returns this week for its 10th series.

The BBC have been rerunning The Royle Family. Do you ever tune in to old episodes?
I did when I started seeing my girlfriend [he’s engaged to US playwright Lindsey Ferrentino], to show her my history. She loved it, but had to watch with subtitles. I suppose an American’s main experience of scouse accents is the Beatles, which is much softer and more relaxed. [Slips into frighteningly accurate Jim Royle impression] “A very different bloody thing to Ricky Tommo, you shithouse!” Her family couldn’t understand a word of it either.

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