Mark Bonnar’s always happy to head to Shetland

Scots actor Mark Bonnar admits that reading the scripts for the new series of Shetland was tough to do.

Mark, who grew up in East Kilbride before moving to Edinburgh, plays Duncan in the hit BBC Scotland crime series.

The series was originally based on Ann Cleeves’ novels, before becoming original tales written for television.

Mark said: ‘I’m consistently amazed how they come up with these fantastic storylines – be’s brilliant, and this time around, it’s really dark. It’s really hard to read the scripts – and to watch.

‘It’s pretty grim fayre, but it’s such great writing, and this is such a dramatic storyline.’

The fifth series began last week, when a severed hand washed up on a Shetland beach, with further body parts discovered in a holdall that has been dumped at sea, so DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and the team began a complex murder investigation.

In this week’s episode, there’s a horrifying discovery at the Hayes house that changes the course of the investigation when Carla and Prentice Hayes are found murdered in a violent knife attack. Jamie Hayes is missing, initially leading the team to speculate that he could be responsible. But Perez is convinced that Jamie could not have mutilated his mother in this way.

Mark continued: ‘What they’ve done is great – I’m kind of pleasantly surprised by how massive Shetland has become. People in the States really love it and it’s really gripped people’s attention. It’s fantastic to be a part of it.

‘Although we don’t shoot the whole series there, it’s become a great thing for the people of Shetland, and for the islands as a whole, as there’s a lot of people who will visit there specifically because of the show.

‘The population can double when the cruise ships come inland, with people mainly there to see where Shetland is filmed.

‘They are even putting up a plaque on the street where they film the exteriors.

‘From my point of view, it’s been great that we’ve keep most of the crew all the way through, as I like working with people I know. It’s like a proper family.

‘It’s always a great joy to do Shetland.’

Perez is played by Douglas Henshall, Jamie by Lorn Macdonald, Olivia by Rakie Ayola, Calum Dunwoody by Ryan Fletcher, Paul Kiernan by John Kazek and Sandy by Steven Robertson. Also starring Alison O’Donnell as Tosh, Erin Armstrong as Cassie and Julie Graham as Rhona.