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Fourth series of BBC drama gets go-ahead

Lead actor Douglas Henshall and Steven Robertson on set during filming for the last series. Photo courtesy of BBC.Lead actor Douglas Henshall and Steven Robertson on set during filming a few years ago. Photo: Shetland News

DETECTIVE Inspector Jimmy Perez is to return to TV screens after the BBC confirmed filming for a fourth series of popular crime drama ‘Shetland’ is due to start in early 2017.

The third series of the show, inspired by Ann Cleeves’ crime novels, enjoyed an average of 5.8 million viewers over its six episodes. It has also enjoyed strong viewing figures worldwide.

Douglas Henshall will return as Perez, with other regular cast members also returning, for another six hour-long episodes of the drama.

While Cleeves’ characters provided the initial inspiration for the show, the last season was the first not to be directly based on her novels.

David Kane, who was showrunner for the programme’s first series, will also write this series and it will be produced by ITV Studios through BBC Scotland for broadcast on BBC One.

Executive producers will be Gaynor Holmes for BBC Scotland and Kate Bartlett for ITV Studios and the BBC said filming would start “early next year”.

Gaynor Holmes, the BBC's executive producer for series four of 'Shetland'.

Holmes has just been appointed as the BBC’s acting drama commissioning editor in Scotland.

‘Shetland’ was first broadcast with a two-parter, based on Cleeves’ novel ‘Red Bones’, back in March 2013.

It was followed by a six-episode series in March and April 2014, while the most recent third series was broadcast between January and March this year.

Shetland born-and-raised actor Steven Robertson has featured in all three series to date as police constable Sandy Wilson.

Cleeves told BBC Radio Shetland on Monday that the response to the last series was “so astonishing” and she “always felt there was a very good chance that it would come back”.

She added that the six-episode format worked well and that, with a setting like Shetland, having “a different murder story every week” would “stretch credibility a bit far”.

  • Read Jordan Ogg’s review of the last series’ finale here.
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