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Arts / Henshall exits crime drama – but eighth series planned with new lead role

Series seven will hit screens in August and a follow-up series – without Henshall – will film in 2023

A first look at series seven. Photo: BBC/Mark Mainz

JIMMY Perez actor Douglas Henshall has announced that he will be stepping down from the role in crime drama Shetland, with the upcoming seventh series set to be his last.

Series seven begins this August on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

But despite Henshall exiting the show, Shetland will continue with an eighth series, due to film in 2023 with a new lead character.

Henshall debuted the role of DI Perez on BBC One in 2013 in the first TV adaptation of the award-winning novels by crime writer Ann Cleeves.

However, after nine years in the role, Henshall has made the decision to depart Shetland to explore other acting opportunities.

He said: “After series five of Shetland David Kane and I decided we wanted to do two more series to complete the story of Jimmy Perez.

“So series six and seven were commissioned together to give us time to wrap up Perez story to a satisfactory end.

“It’s been one of the privileges of my career to play Jimmy Perez for almost ten years and to work with so many wonderful people both in front of and behind the camera, and also to spend so much time in Shetland.

“The isles were so much a part of our show and of Perez himself. I’ll miss him and the place. I wish everyone involved much luck with whatever happens next.”

Douglas Henshall’s last outing as DI Perez features in a “thrilling” new six-part series of Shetland which sees the team investigate the mysterious disappearance of a vulnerable young man.

Douglas Henshall in an early series of Shetland. Photo: BBC

The investigation draws Perez into the secret past of a family new to Shetland, revealing an unimaginable threat to the community. 

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Written by David Kane, Paul Logue and Denise Paul, the seventh series features guest stars the likes of Shauna Macdonald (The Cry, The Descent), Laurie Brett (Waterloo Road, EastEnders), and Patrik Robinson (Death in Paradise, Casualty).

Series regulars are Alison O’Donnell (Tosh), Steven Robertson (Sandy), Mark Bonnar (Duncan), Anne Kidd (Cora), Lewis Howden (Sgt Billy McCabe), Erin Armstrong (Cassie), Angus Miller (Donnie) and Anneika Rose (Maggie Kean). 

Series seven of Shetland also sees the return of Julie Graham as Procurator Fiscal Rhona Kelly.

BBC Drama producer Gaynor Holmes said: “It has been an absolute privilege to work on Shetland over the past few years and watch the show go from strength to strength – in no small part thanks to Douglas’s sensitive, intelligent and memorable portrayal of DI Jimmy Perez.

“We will miss him enormously but he leaves the show in rude health and we’re extremely excited about the plans we have for bringing more of this much loved drama to audiences far and wide.”

Silverprint Pictures executive producer Kate Bartlett adds: “It has been amazing to have the opportunity to complete the story of Jimmy Perez and Douglas Henshall is outstanding in the role.”

Series eight of Shetland will start filming from spring 2023 in locations in Shetland and across Scotland.

Casting for this new series will be announced in the coming months.

Last year a plaque was unveiled outside the ‘Jimmy Perez’ lodberry in Lerwick in honour of Henshall and the impact the TV show has had on Shetland.

However, it was removed and due to be relocated after representation from the owner of the lodberry.

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