The return of ‘Shetland’


Douglas Henshall in Shetland

DOUGLAS Henshall returns to ITV Choice (DStv channel 123) this week in the fourth series of the award-winning detective series, Shetland, on Tuesday, October 16 at 8 pm.

Running for six weeks, the show is based on the bestselling books by award-winning crime writer, Ann Cleeves, with most of the storylines taking place on the eponymous Scottish archipelago.

Shetland, which won the award for best TV drama at the 2016 BAFTA Scotland Awards, stars Henshall as Jimmy Perez, a detective inspector working for the Shetland police.

The supporting cast includes Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson, Mark Bonnar, Lewis Howden and Erin Armstrong.

Asked what he believes fans of Shetland love about the series, Henshall, who won the best actor award for his role as Jimmy Perez at the BAFTAS, says: “I think first and foremost it’s the characters.

“Secondly, the place that it’s set in. Not only because it’s beautiful but because it’s like another character in the show. I think people are drawn to the place because they imagine themselves there.

“But I really have to give credit to the writers and producers because they are the prime reason. And the books, they’re incredibly popular. All those ingredients together work very well for us!”

Asked how he thinks Perez has changed since series one, he says he thinks the dedicated detective is a more disillusioned man than he once was.

He added: “Shetland’s a lot more violent than he thought it was going to be — people seem to get murdered there a lot!

“And I think he’s finding being without his wife a lot harder, and the idea that he is still alone 10 years after it happened is as much of a surprise to him as everyone else.

“Bringing up a young daughter has been very difficult and reminds him of the loss he’s had and how he can’t be with anyone that’s not good for her.”

Henshall thinks he has a lot in common with his character, saying: “When I read the script at first, the things that sprung at me were that he seemed to be quite kind, empathetic and wanted to find the best in people.

“ Also his relationship towards the women in his life, such as Tosh — he seems to genuinely like women — which I thought was quite unusual in a police show.

“All of those things drew me in and similarly I try to put my own self in there as well. I felt Perez was far removed from a typical police television character!”

So, what can viewers expect from the latest series, which begins when a human hand washes up on a Shetland beach.

A few hours later, more body parts are discovered in a hold-all that has been dumped at sea.

“The victim is identified as a young Nigerian man, spotted in Lerwick a few days before,” says Henshall.

“What was he doing on the islands? In investigating his murder, Perez becomes involved in the search for a vulnerable young woman, leading him to uncover a complex network of human trafficking across Scotland’s remote rural communities.”


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