TURNING one of Ann Cleeves’ Shetland crime novels into a powerful two-part murder mystery for BBC One is now under way.
Acclaimed Scots actor Douglas Henshall, as well as Shetland’s own Steven Robertson and Sandra Voe are now in the isles for the 10-day shooting.
The TV drama Shetland, based on Ann Cleeves’ Red Bones, the third book of her Shetland Quartet, is being produced by ITV Studios for the BBC and due to be screened in November this year.
The production for prime time television is the most important Shetland has ever seen.
Filming has been taking place in Lerwick, Bressay and on board the ferry Leirna on Tuesday, and is due to move to Whiteness on Wednesday.
When the young archaeologist Hattie James (Gemma Chan) discovers a set of human remains, the island community is intrigued to know if it’s an ancient find or a contemporary mystery.
When an elderly woman is shot on her land in a tragic accident, detective Jimmy Perez (played by Douglas Henshall) finds himself at the centre of two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness has divided the surrounding community.
Perez is described as possessing a bone dry sense of humour and an idealistic desire to protect his beloved Shetland from inevitable change.
Written by David Kane (The Field Of Blood, Taggart, Rebus) and produced by Sue De Beauvoir (Merlin, Waterloo Road) Shetland is directed by Peter Hoare (Vera, Silk).
Head of marketing at Shetland Islands Council, Neil Henderson, said that his department aimed to make filming in Shetland as simple and straightforward as possible.
“We have been working closely with the team involved with this project since April this year and everything is now in place for a busy couple of weeks filming.
“The Shetland production is an incredibly exciting project since it is simply the biggest drama based production ever to have been set in the islands and backed by a major studio with a highly professional production team.
“The team here are using a large and diverse number of local service suppliers which are already directly benefitting the Shetland economy.
“The main benefit however for projects of this nature is the longer-term economic gain, achieved through exposure of Shetland through positive representation on screen to a large audience on a prime channel.”
Ms Cleeves added: “Shetland is a pilot, so hopefully it will be well received and then the other books in the series will be filmed too.
“I’m delighted that my old friends from ITV Studios have teamed up with the BBC to create a television adaptation of the Jimmy Perez book Red Bones.
“I couldn’t be in safer hands. And it’s brilliant that the UK now has its own Nordic TV drama.”