Scottish actress Ashley Jensen stars in new series of BBC drama Shetland

BBC drama Shetland is set to return next week for its eighth season as Scottish actress Ashley Jensen appears as the new detective.

The six-part season introduces Jensen after Douglas Henshall announced last year that he would not return as Detective Inspector Jimmy Pérez.

Jensen, 53, from Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, will be playing a new detective named DI Ruth Calder, a native Shetlander who returns to the Isles after 30 years working for the Met in London.

The new series follows her as she returns home to Shetland looking for a young woman who witnessed a London gangland murder.

She teams up with Tosh (Alison O’Donnell) on a case that will test their fragile, new partnership.

‘Everyone from the cast and crew were very welcoming from the start and genuinely excited to be back, as much as I was delighted to be there, playing this wonderful complex, complicated and yet confident character,’ Jensen said.

‘Alison and I got on immediately and I hope that chemistry translates on screen.

‘The introduction of Ruth Calder creates a different energy for the original cast members and so we see new and different aspects of their characters, as we get to know DI Calder herself.  

‘I feel that Shetland is as much a character as the drama itself. 

‘Shetland is one of those places that I never, ever thought I would go or get a chance to work there. 

‘It was such a privilege to be there and rendered me speechless when I stepped off that wee plane the first time. 

‘There were Shetland ponies and puffins – it’s got its own identity which is quite exhilarating actually.

‘And then there’s the weather. One minute we had this horizontal rain and the next, a heatwave and it was like the tropics and everyone was going wild swimming. 

‘I felt like I was on my holidays.

‘There’s this sort of idea that when we’re British we have to go far afield to get away. 

‘After living in America for years, I’ve got this pull to visit Scotland more, so when Shetland came up I couldn’t resist.’

‘I feel you can watch this new series of Shetland never having watched any of the others – you don’t need to know the back story. 

‘Bringing in a new character like Ruth Calder, it shines a light on the established characters like Tosh and Sandy which the fans of Shetland know and love. 

‘I think that when something has been around as long as Shetland has, there’s a familiarity about it but this time around, we’re looking at the same show from a different angle.’

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