ⓘ Shetland (TV series)

Shetland (TV series)

ⓘ Shetland (TV series)

Shetland is a Scottish television crime drama television series, made by ITV Studios for the BBC and broadcast on BBC One, that first broadcast on 10 March 2013. Initially based upon the novels of Ann Cleeves, the series was brought to screen by David Kane, who has remained a principal writer through all five series.

The series stars Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, a detective inspector working for the Shetland police, Alison ODonnell as Detective Sergeant Alison "Tosh" Macintosh, and Steven Robertson as Detective Constable Sandy Wilson. Mark Bonnar, Lewis Howden, Erin Armstrong, Julie Graham, and Anne Kidd are also credited as principal members of the cast.

The story takes place largely on the eponymous Scottish archipelago, although much of the series filming takes place on the Scottish mainland, with only some location filming actually taking place in Shetland. Five series have been broadcast as of April 2019. Douglas Henshall won the 2016 BAFTA Scotland award for best actor for his role as Jimmy Perez, and the series received the award for Best TV Drama.

On December 2, 2019, BBC One announced that Shetland would return for two further series airing respectively in 2020 and 2021. Henshall is confirmed to return to his role, along with O’Donnell.


1. Production

The first series consists of two episodes; a single two-part story based on the novel Red Bones by Ann Cleeves. This series was broadcast across two nights on 10 and 11 March 2013 and was produced by Sue de Beauvoir. Subsequently, a second series was commissioned by the BBC. Series two was extended to contain six episodes. These were filmed in 2013 and screened in 2014. This series features three two-part stories based on Cleeves novels Raven Black, Dead Water, and Blue Lightning. This series was produced by Peter Gallagher.

Filming began in April 2015 for a third series, which began screening in January 2016. This series saw a change in format; with all six episodes covering a single story, written exclusively for television. This was the first series not to adapt any of Cleeves novels. Ciaran Hinds and Anna Chancellor were among the new cast members for this series. A fourth series was announced by the BBC in July 2016. Again, this series is a single story played out across six episodes and written exclusively for television. Stephen Walters and Neve McIntosh were among the new cast members announced for the series. It was broadcast on BBC One beginning on 13 February 2018.

In July 2018, Henshall confirmed that filming for series five would take place over the following four months. Series five was broadcast on BBC1, starting on 12 February 2019.

During the filming of the programme, the cast and crew are usually based in Glasgow and other areas of mainland Scotland. Filming often takes place in areas with landscape or buildings reminiscent of those in the Shetland Islands, such as Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire, Barrhead, where Henshall was born and grew up, Ayr and Irvine, North Ayrshire. "My character’s house is actually in Kilbarchan, the interior of a couple of crofts are here in Irvine, Ayrshire and the police station is in Barrhead", Henshall said in a 2019 interview.

Filming locations on or near Shetland have included Lerwick, the main port of the Shetland Islands and on the NorthLink ferry approaching Lerwick as well as the village of Wester Quarff south of Lerwick. Some filming was done on Fair Isle for series 2 while the Hillswick wildlife sanctuary was featured in series 4.


2.1. Cast Main cast

  • Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, detective inspector series 1–
  • Steven Robertson as Sandy Wilson, detective constable series 1–
  • Stewart Porter as Billy McBride, police sergeant recurring series 2; temporarily replacing Lewis Howden
  • Erin Armstrong as Cassie Perez, Jimmys stepdaughter series 4–, recurring series 1–3
  • Alison ODonnell as Alison "Tosh" MacIntosh, detective sergeant series 1–
  • Anne Kidd as Cora McLean, forensic pathologist series 5–, recurring series 2–4
  • Julie Graham as Rhona Kelly, procurator fiscal series 2–
  • Lewis Howden as Billy McCabe, police sergeant
  • Mark Bonnar as Duncan Hunter, Cassies biological father series 1–

2.2. Cast Series 1

  • James Greene as Andrew Haldane
  • Sooz Aitken as Young Mima Wilson
  • Geraldine Alexander as Gwen James
  • Lindy Whiteford as Jackie Haldane
  • Jim Sturgeon as Ronald Haldane
  • Claire Rafferty as Anna Haldane
  • Alexander Morton as Joseph Wilson
  • Sandra Voe as Mima Wilson
  • Martin Wenner as Professor Paul Berglund
  • Gemma Chan as Hattie James
  • Sophie Rundle as Sophie

2.3. Cast Series 3

  • Jamie Michie as Lowrie
  • Mark Cox as Tommy Monro
  • Anna Chancellor as Phyllis Brenan
  • Benjamin Cawley as Edison
  • Kate Donnelly as Grace
  • Archie Panjabi as DS Asha Israni
  • Struan Rodger as Alec
  • Andrew Rothney as Robbie Morton
  • Sara Vickers as Leanne Randall
  • Saskia Reeves as Freya Galdie
  • Ace Bhatti as Calvin Sarwar
  • Ciaran Hinds as Michael Maguire
  • Jack Greenlees as Craig Cooper
  • James Cosmo as Arthur MacCall

2.4. Cast Series 4

  • Eleanor Matsuura as DI Jessie Cole
  • Arnmundur Ernst Bjornsson as DS Lars Bleymann
  • Amy Lennox as Sally McColl
  • Sophie Stone as Jo Halley
  • Michael Moreland as Benny Ray
  • Neve McIntosh as Kate Kilmuir
  • Sean McGinley as Drew McColl
  • Julia Brown as Molly Kilmuir
  • Allison McKenzie as Gail Callahan
  • Gerard Miller as Alan Killick
  • Carolin Stoltz as DI Anke Strom
  • Hannah Donaldson as Meg Hamilton
  • Joi Johannsson as Andreas Hagan
  • Fiona Bell as Donna Killick
  • Stephen Walters as Thomas Malone

2.5. Cast Series 5

  • Robin Laing as Gavin Laird
  • Kate Dickie as Sam Boyd
  • Jenni Keenan-Green as Claire McGuire
  • Robert Cavanah as Graeme Benson
  • Conor McCarry as PC Alex Grant
  • Lorn Macdonald as Jamie Hayes
  • Frances Mayil McCann as Niki
  • Gail Watson as Mary Hunter
  • Emma Mullen as Rosie
  • John Kazek as Paul Kiernan
  • Ryan Fletcher as Calum Dunwoody
  • Kirsty Stuart as Morag Dunwoody
  • Owen Whitelaw as Prentice Hayes
  • Derek Riddell as Chris Brooks
  • Rakie Ayola as Olivia Lennox
  • Meghan Tyler as Mags
  • Ayanda Bhebe as Daniel Ugara
  • Angus Miller as Donnie
  • Titana Muthui as Zezi Ugara
  • Therese Bradley as Andrea Doyle
  • Tracy Wiles as Carla Hayes
  • Catherine Walker as Alice Brooks

3. Episodes

Series 3 2016

The broadcast of Episode 6 was delayed due to coverage of an FA Cup replay being broadcast. In contrast to Season 2 3, 2-part episodes, Season 3 is one 6-part story.

Series 4 2018

The broadcast of Episode 3 was delayed by 24 hours due to the broadcast of an FA Cup replay.


4. International broadcasts

  • New Zealand: The programme began airing in New Zealand on Vibe in January 2016.
  • Italy: The series began airing on Giallo in March 2018.
  • Spain: The programme began airing in Galicia on Television de Galicia in October 2015.
  • Finland: Viewers in Finland were able to start watching the show from August 2015 on public broadcaster YLEs main TV1 channel, where the show was titled Shetlandsaarten murhat."
  • Denmark: Danish network DR 1 began showing Shetland in October 2015.
  • Sweden: Swedish public broadcaster SVT started airing the 3rd series in January 2016 on their primary network SVT1.
  • Canada: The series is broadcast on British Columbias Knowledge Network and streamed on Netflix.
  • Slovenia: The programme began airing in Slovenia on public broadcaster RTVSLO in July 2015.
  • Norway: Shetland is aired on public broadcaster NRK.
  • Ireland: The series began airing on Virgin Media in February 2019
  • Portugal: The programme began airing in Portugal on Fox Crime in August 2016.
  • Germany: The series began airing on Das Erste at the end of March 2016.
  • United States: The series is broadcast on many stations of the Public Broadcasting System.
  • Australia: The programme airs on BBC First and ABC in Australia. Series 1-3 is also available on Netflix.
  • Belgium: The programme began airing on Flemish public broadcaster VRTs main channel, een, in October 2015.
  • Netherlands: Shetland is aired as part of the "Detectives" series from KRO-NCRV on NPO 1.
  • The series became available on Netflix in 2016. In 2018, the Britbox streaming service acquired the exclusive rights to Shetland’s Series 4, releasing new episodes weekly. Similarly, Series 5 has been released one episode per week beginning April 30, 2019. In April 2019, Netflix dropped the series from its streaming service in the USA. Amazon has Series 1-3 available for fee purchase by episode or by season but is not included in its Prime streaming subscription. Note that Series 1 are essentially bundled into one season for purchase.