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Community / Two more Shetland series ‘fantastic’ news for local tourism

Ashley Jensen as Detective Inspector Calder. Photo: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Jamie Simpson

THE RENEWAL of the Shetland crime drama for another two series has been warmly welcomed by the local tourism industry.

VisitScotland’s local development manager Steve Mathieson hailed it as “fantastic” news and added his hope that the “enduring popularity” of the programme will see it commissioned for more series in the future.

Meanwhile new chair of the Shetland Tourism Association Amanda Hawick said it was “wonderful news” and added that 2024 stands to be another “bumper year” for tourism in Shetland.

The BBC announced earlier this week that it has commissioned series nine and ten, with filming due to start later this month.

The BBC One show, based off characters created by author Ann Cleeves, first aired in 2013 as a two-part series.

It has since run for a further seven six-part series, with Ashley Jensen joining the cast for season eight after the departure of original lead Douglas Henshall.

Despite its often grisly content, the series has been credited with bringing Shetland invaluable exposure to millions – not just in the UK, but across the world too where it is also shown.

This has in turn had a positive impact on bringing visitors to Shetland, and has turned Jimmy Perez’s lodberry house in Lerwick into something of a local landmark.

Mathieson said: “When it first aired in 2013, the visitor survey for that year counted just under 27,000 leisure visitors, while in 2019 (the year of the last survey) that number had jumped to just under 41,000.

“Over half said that they had been inspired to visit Shetland by something they had seen or read and the vast majority of those mentioned the ‘Shetland’ series, and the books by Ann Cleeves.

“That increase isn’t solely down to the series, of course, but the programme has certainly brought the islands into focus for a whole new audience globally – and the interest keeps growing.”

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He noted how film and TV also brings economic benefits during production, with the additional spend from crews and visitors supporting local shops, services and facilities.

Meanwhile Hawick said the Shetland series is “hugely popular and has a very positive impact on tourism which is very important to our economy and business growth”.

“People from all over the world are flocking here to see for themselves the scenery and beautiful locations shown during the series,” she said.

“I’m a huge fan myself and very much look forward to what comes next.

“Shetland has so much to offer every kind of visitor and going by previous years this year’s indications show another bumper year for tourism.”

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