Ashley Jensen (Mayflies, After Life) and Alison O’Donnell (We Are In Time, Holby City) have begun filming a new series of acclaimed BBC murder mystery drama Shetland with further casting announced.
Shetland - a Silverprint Pictures production (part of ITV Studios) - will film in locations around Scotland and on the Shetland Isles over the coming months with the series debuting on BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.
Joining the cast of Shetland for the eighth series are Phyllis Logan (Guilt, Downtown Abbey), Jamie Sives (Guilt, Annika), Dawn Steele (Holby City, Granite Harbour), Don Gilet (EastEnders, Sherwood), Ann Louise Ross (River City, Katie Morag) and Lorraine McIntosh (Outlander, My Name is Joe).
The guest cast will star alongside series regulars including Steven Robertson (playing DC Sandy Wilson), Lewis Howden (Sgt Billy McCabe), Anne Kidd (Cora McLean), Angus Miller (Donnie), Conor McCarry (PC Alex Grant) and Eubha Akilade (PC Lorna Burns).
Originally based on award-winning novels by crime writer Ann Cleeves, the new series sees Met Police Detective Inspector Ruth Calder (Ashley Jensen), return to her native Shetland to retrieve the vulnerable witness to a gangland murder. Tosh (Alison O’Donnell) must pause her investigation into a string of mysterious animal deaths to help DI Ruth Calder find the witness before it’s too late.
However, Calder’s hostility to Shetland will challenge Tosh’s view of her adopted home and their journey into the darker recesses of Shetland's past and present will test this fragile, new partnership.
Gaynor Holmes, Commissioning Editor for the BBC says: “We couldn’t be more delighted to see Shetland return with such a stellar cast and a brand new, taut and thrilling murder mystery to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. We’re very excited to see the show embark on this fantastic new chapter, with its unique blend of haunting atmosphere, rich character and emotional storytelling.”
Kate Bartlett, Executive Producer for Silverprint Pictures says: “We're so excited about this new series of Shetland with Ashley and Alison and all our wonderful returning and guest cast. Paul Logue has created a distinctive and emotionally complex story, set against the stunning and evocative landscape of the Shetland Isles. We're thrilled to be making this new series with such incredible Scottish talent.”
Paul Logue is the lead writer of the new series of Shetland, alongside Denise Paul and Vivienne Harvey. The series is produced by Louise V Say and directed by Andy Newbery and Giulia Gandini. Executive Producers are Gaynor Holmes for the BBC, Kate Bartlett and Denise Paul for Silverprint Pictures
Shetland is loved by millions of fans on BBC One and iPlayer, with the last series averaging 7.2 million viewers across its run (30-day all-screens figure).