Shetland will be the backdrop to a small-screen murder mystery based on the work of award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves.
Scottish actor Douglas Henshall will take the lead role of Detective Jimmy Perez in the two-part drama, Shetland.
It has been written by David Kane, whose previous works have included two telly detective greats, Taggart and Rebus.
The powerful crime story sees the main character return home to his native isles after a long spell away from home.
Based on Cleeves’ Red Bones, the story focuses on the discovery of human remains by a young archaeologist. Envy, greed and bitterness quickly unfold as Perez and his team find themselves at the centre of two feuding families.
Perez is shown to possess what is described as “a bone dry sense of humour and an idealistic desire to protect his beloved Shetland Isles from inevitable change, making him a fascinating detective to watch and work”.
Director of Shetland Arts Gwilym Gibbons said he was pleased to hear Cleeves’ work would be televised.
“Shetland Arts is delighted to see the highly popular Ann Cleeves Shetland novels dramatised for prime time TV. We have always believed that Ann Cleeves’ characters, borne out of her deep understanding of our seascapes and landscapes, have the potential for the creation a high quality TV drama set in Shetland. Shetland also has new facilities like Mareel and local talent and expertise that makes the isles a very attractive place to set a new TV drama. We are very excited to be working with the Shetland production team.”
Shetland is produced as part of a collaborative effort by ITV Studios through BBC Scotland. Its producer Sue De Beauvoir has also been responsible for Merlin and Waterloo Road. The drama is directed by Peter Hoare. It is due to start filming in Scotland and will be shown later in the year.
Douglas Henshall said: “I am very much looking forward to working with David Kane, filming in Scotland and being back on BBC One.”
Elaine Collins, executive producer, ITV Studios, added: “We are delighted to be working with the BBC on this commission. Shetland combines eccentric yet warm characters and a classic murder mystery story with the beautiful landscape and rich history of the Shetland Islands and we believe it will be hugely popular with viewers.”
Christopher Aird, head of drama, Scotland, and executive producer for the BBC said: “Shetland has a fantastic combination of writing, acting, directing and producing talent. It is a hugely exciting story and part of a project to bring the very best drama to BBC Scotland in the coming years.”