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Arts / New documentary series about ‘wondrous’ Shetland starting this weekend

Photo: Channel 5

THE FIRST episode of new TV series Shetland: Scotland’s Wondrous Isles is scheduled to air on Channel 5 this weekend, celebrating the “community spirit, resilience, independence and tradition” of the islands.

As the success of the BBC show Shetland keeps capturing the imagination of people across the world, the premiere of five-part series Shetland: Scotland’s Wondrous Isles is taking place on Sunday (26 May) at 9pm, embarking on a journey to explore the island’s landscapes, wildlife and vibrant community.

From the world famous ponies to the rugged cliff faces, the series showcases the natural beauty of the islands as well as the people who inhabit them.

In fact, the documentary also highlights the diversity of inhabitants through intimate interviews and storytelling ranging from native Shetlanders who live according to centuries of tradition, to newcomers who have simply been captured by the allure of the islands.

The first episode will begin on the island of Noss, where wardens Jen and Sally live an “off-grid existence with some of Shetland’s most spectacular wildlife”.

With no mains water, electricity or gas, they even grow their own food in case they remain stranded due to the weather, Channel 5 said.

The journey then continues on the mainland, where the renowned pony breeder Carole presents the newest addition to her stable of Shetland ponies before leaving for the annual Unst show, as she speaks of the prestigious trophy first won by her father over 40 years ago.

In Lerwick, some newcomers introduce themselves, including Elizabeth who arrived from Canada and never returned home.

Photo: Channel 5

As many others in Shetland, she wears many hats, combining her passions for cooking and catching food on a mackerel fishing boat.

The inaugural episode also showcases the creative spirit of the islands, introducing artist Janette who captures seascapes on paper before returning to her studio to complete them.

It also points to Shetland’s distinct musical culture that combines elements from Scotland and Scandinavia, preserved by local fiddle-maker Ewen.

This series will be narrated by the voice of Shetland actor Mark Bonnar.

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