Death in Paradise star Shantol Jackson auditioned for a very different role on show - details

Shantol landed the role after auditioning previously
Shantol landed the role after auditioning previously (Christopher Fenner)

Death in Paradise star Shantol Jackson has opened up about her time on the hit BBC show since landing the gig in 2021 - but it wasn’t all smooth sailing! The Jamaican actress revealed to HELLO! that she auditioned for a different role beforehand - but didn’t land it.

The star, who plays Naomi Thomas in the hit show, revealed that she originally went for the role of Ruby Patterson, but was unsuccessful. She explained: “I auditioned a year after getting my agent and I didn’t get the job. They said: ‘We really like your tape; you’re just not the right fit for this particular role.’ “At the time, I couldn’t understand it, so I cried. My manager in Jamaica got so excited and then it didn’t happen. I was so disappointed.”

She continued: “Then, a few years later, my agent said: ‘So you remember that audition you did for Death in Paradise? They think they have a role that’s good for you now.’

“I said: ‘What?!’” Her 'chemistry read' audition had to be done from her home near Kingston, the Jamaican capital, over Zoom – not helped by the fact that building work was going on nearby. “I had to go next door and ask the men please to kindly stop their work. I said: ‘Could you just give me ten minutes?’

Shantol Jackson as Naomi
Shantol Jackson as Naomi (Amelia Troubridge)

“They were very kind and gave me about eight minutes. We managed to get it done and I’ve been on the show ever since. It’s been a lovely learning experience. I’m so grateful.”

The Ruby Patterson role eventually went to Shyko Amos, who left the show ahead of season 10 after two seasons. At the time, BBC bosses confirmed that Shyko wouldn't be returning to the show in a statement which read: "After two series bringing law, order, and joy to the streets of Saint Marie, we’re sad to say goodbye to Ruby Patterson who made such a massive impact in such a short time!

Shantol Jackson plays Naomi Thomas in Death in Paradise
Shantol Jackson plays Naomi Thomas in Death in Paradise (Christopher Fenner)

“DS Madeleine Dumas will also be departing Saint Marie’s sunny shores and we would like to thank [them] for bringing Ruby and Madeleine to life and wish them all the very best for the future."

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At the time, Shyko said: “Thank you for giving Ruby a chance because at first you really didn’t. You were rough on me the first couple of episodes. I remember one of the articles, ‘Ruby slammed, she’s awful.’ My little heart almost broke. I was like, ‘Oh my god, they hate me.’ I read all the comments, ‘She’s so annoying,’ ‘She’s so boring,’ ‘I can’t stand her,’ ‘She’s really annoying.’”

Death in Paradise 100th Episode, Darlene (GINNY HOLDER), Marlon Pryce (TAHJ MILES), Catherine Bordey  (ELIZABETH BOURGINE), Selwyn Patterson (DON WARRINGTON), Naomi Thomas  (SHANTOL JACKSON), DI Neville Parker (RALF LITTLE),100th Episode
Naomi with the cast for the 100th episode (Red Planet Pictures/Denis Guyenon)

Shantol joined the show in season 11, where she was a police officer before being promoted to a sergeant. However, she missed her police uniform after swapping for some gorgeous outfits for the show.

She said: “I won't lie I did love my uniform. I did enjoy my uniform but our designer Lisa Phillips-Dodsworth was the one who introduced me to bright colours and how bright colours complement my skin. I am not a fashionista at all!”