The BBC One television drama Shetland, partly filmed in the isles last year, is to be broadcast at 9pm on Sunday 10th March.
Senior producers say the two-parter requires a UK-wide audience of five million for a series to be commissioned. The second episode is expected to be shown the next night, Monday 11th March, at the same time.
Shetland, which is adapted from the Ann Cleeves novel Red Bones, stars Douglas Henshall as detective inspector Jimmy Perez. Shetlanders Steven Robertson and Sandra Voe also have key parts.
Hundreds of people in Shetland turned out for a re-enactment of Up-Helly-A’ during filming in July last year. It was the biggest drama production filmed in the isles.
Ann said: “It’s very exciting now that the date for Shetland has officially been announced.
“Anticipation has been building with the trailer having been on for a couple of weeks.
“The producers are keen to do a series based on the Shetland novels, so I just hope all my friends in Shetland remember to watch and tell their friends to tune in as well!”
In a BBC publicity interview for Shetland, Dougie Henshall said: “It’s such a beautiful place, so stark and unique – the sky is huge, the air is fresh, the sea is clear… it’s a lovely place. I’d never been before but I’d love to go back. Everyone worried about the weather but we really didn’t have it that bad – it was lovely actually.
“Everybody was incredibly helpful and they honestly couldn’t do enough for us. Shetland was the biggest film production to ever be shot on the islands so I think everyone was really excited about us being there.
“We didn’t leave any mess behind so hopefully they’d be happy for us to go back.”
He added: “I always thought of Shetland as being a place that was so remote it was always in a wee box during the weather. Sometimes I wonder if people really know where it is or what it’s like, what the people are like and what goes on there. As a curiosity it’s worth taking a look at Shetland and you’ll discover it’s a truly beautiful place. But, above all else, Shetland is a really good crime story.”