Death in Paradise star had ‘breakdown’ after getting rejected from BBC role ‘I cried’

Death in Paradise star had ‘breakdown’ after getting rejected from BBC role ‘I cried’

Death in Paradise: Ralf Little addresses his future on show

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Series 11 of Death in Paradise saw the arrival of new police officer Naomi Thomas (played by Shantol Jackson). The newcomer replaced Sergeant JP Hooper (Tobi Bakare) who decided to leave Saint Marie to spend more time with his wife and children. However, when Noami arrived, she was horrified to learn that her colleague Marlon Pryce (Tahj Miles) used to be a criminal himself. The officer was also super keen to impress detective Neville Parker (Ralf Little) and Florence Cassell (Josephine Jobert).

However, speaking in a new interview with her co-star Tahj, the actress who plays Naomi opened up about how she landed the role.

She admitted she originally auditioned for the BBC series in 2018, but got turned down for the role at the time.

Despite balling her eyes out, Shantol remained optimistic and last year, she finally bagged her dream job on the show.

She went on to add she felt the “chemistry” wasn’t quite right the first time around.

“I did five auditions and they kept saying ‘Hey, we love your performance, but you need to change this and change that,'” Shantol recalled.

The actress explained at the time that she and her agent felt confident she’d got the part after doing five auditions.

However, one day, she remembered receiving an email informing her she hadn’t been successful.

“Tahj, I won’t lie, I balled,” the Naomi Thomas star explained. “I was so devastated and I cried, I was like ‘This industry is so awful, why am I doing this?'”

Shantol explained she had a “proper breakdown” following the rejection, but was optimistic about her future.

“That was 2018 and I got my agent in 2017 when I came here,” she added in Tahj’s podcast The Table Read.

“And every year since then I’ve done 1,545 self-tapes, I am going to round it up to that.

“Every year I would send them an email saying, ‘Thank you for still being here with me’ because nothing was happening.”

Despite the setback, in 2021 BBC bosses approached Shantol for a different role in the police drama.

“I sent my gratitude email like I do every year,” she laughed. “And my agent said to me, ‘You know what? The journey is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, and we’re still here because we believe in you, we know you can do it.’

“I said, ‘Well, oh this is nice but still…’ And, literally, after that, his assistant messaged me and said, ‘You know what we have heard from Death in Paradise, they want you to audition for something again.’

“This was in January and I didn’t hear back from them until March/April so I was like, is this really happening?”

She explained she managed to skip through the audition stages and did a chemistry read with the cast.

However, when it came to reading the script, she said things didn’t go to plan.

“The chemistry read with you guys on the Thursday, that was hilarious,” she detailed.

“There was construction happening next door, do you remember? I had to go and ask the guys I was like, ‘Could you just stop hammering for, like, 20 minutes so I can do this tape?'”

Death in Paradise is available to watch on BBC iPlayer and BritBox.

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