Kris Marshall has quit the BBC television series Death in Paradise after acting on the show for four years, and there is already a replacement.

The 43-year-old – who made his name for playing Nick Harper on My Family – left the programme after it was revealed that he found it tough spending long periods of time away from his family.

Father Ted star Ardal O'Hanlon has been cast in the show to replace him, playing a new character.

It is not yet known how Marshall's character Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman will bid farewell to the series, as it's been claimed that the hectic schedule in the Caribbean has prompted the move.

A source told The Sun: "Despite shooting on one of the most glamorous locations on the planet, being apart from wife Hannah and their two young children for most of the six month filming schedule has proved too tough for Kris."

The source added: "It's been a hard decision as he's helped draw in huge figures since taking on the role, but after 17 years in the business he wants to spend more time with his family. That's his priority now."

The father-of-two, who has been married to Hannah Dodkins since 2012, joined the show at the beginning of the third series of Death of Paradise following the exit of Ben Miller, who played DI Richard Poole.

kris marshall
Marshall starred on the show for four years BBC

The welcoming of Marshall's character as accident-prone Humphrey helped reel in more viewers, with an average of 8 million people tuning in.

Ardal, 51, is set to appear in his first episode of the seventh series on BBC1 this evening (2 February).

Marshall lives in Long Barton near Somerset with his wife and two children, son Thomas and daughter Elsie, and recently spoke about starring in the hit show.

He said: "My one concern about taking this job was that I didn't want to turn a show that gets nearly eight million viewers into a show that gets four million viewers. That's not going to look good for me."

Death in Paradise airs tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.