Mixed reviews for BBC’s crime drama Shetland

The two-part BBC television drama Shetland began last night and attracted a mixed response from viewers.

Based on the books by Ann Cleeves and starring Dougie Henshall along with isles actors Steven Robertson and Sandra Voe, over six million people tuned in to programme, which concludes tonight at 9pm. More are expected through iPlayer apparently.

Many have commented that the drama showed Shetland’s scenery off in a positive way but that the story lacked a cutting edge. One reviewer mentioned that sub-plots kept cropping up like “fairground ducks” while another was highly critical of the under-use of local accents with even Robertson having to adopt more “Scottish-like” tones.

What do you think? Feel free to comment below or email us at editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk


Add Your Comment
  • Vivienne Rendall

    • March 11th, 2013 16:11

    We’ve been visiting Shetland for forty years, looked forward to the programme (I have read and enjoyed all Ann Cleeves” Shetland’ novels, but we felt that the programme lacked authenticity. There were a couple of genuine accents but the rest were all over the place. Apart from one long shot of Bressay much of the scenery, though beautiful, was not familiar. So rather disappointing.

  • David Wilson

    • March 11th, 2013 18:18

    I’m not a resident of Shetland (more’s the pity), but as an annual visitor for most of the last twenty-odd years have come to know and love the place like no other. Yet try as I might, I can’t figure out where the bar is outside which one guy got beaten up in the first episode. There seems to be a Masonic lodge next to it, but it looks nothing like the one in Queens Lane. Can anyone enlighten me – or is it just that some of the show was actually filmed elsewhere?

    As for what I thought of the show, I quite liked it in its “Vera” sort of way (I’m from the same part of the world as Ann Cleeves) but it was a bit disjointed, and even I could sense a distinct lack of Shetland accent. But I’ll be watching again tonight, to be sure.

    • Marlyn Pollock

      • April 1st, 2016 13:16

      Hi David
      I`ve been going round in circles trying to find out where I can get a CD of John Lunn`s haunting tune at the beginning of Shetland and getting no-where! For some reason I ended up here !
      I can answer your question about the bar where the guy is beaten up. It`s in Kirk Close in Dalry, Ayrshire where I was brought up and where Dalry Burns Club hold committee meetings.

      Now—–if I could just find that tune!

      Marlyn Pollock

    • Alan Bain

      • March 23rd, 2018 17:16

      It’s also not a masonic lodge next to it. It’s actually the Masonic Arms pub, commonly known as Tarries in Dalry.

  • Grant Bellingham

    • March 11th, 2013 20:50

    We lived on Unst for 2 1/2 years when I was in the RAF. Missed the place and the people terribly. My family had high hopes for the drama. The story is okay but where are the accents from because they are not from the Shetland we know. From what we remember there were alot of very good local actors who would have made the programme feel alot more realistic. Mind you we will still watch it tonight…

    • Fiona Johnston

      • May 15th, 2016 17:50

      I think it is brilliant and the leading actor,Douglas Henshall, likewise. Has nobody hear of suspending belief?

  • Andrew Bethune

    • March 11th, 2013 23:04

    I haven’t yet visited Shetland (that will happen later this year), but I do know several people from Shetland, and like both Vivienne and David, I felt the accents were mostly from further south. There’s a kind of Glasgowish accent that seems to predominate on Scottish TV dramas, and that’s what came over to me with most of the characters.

    What time of year was the filming done? The drama was supposed to take place in January but there seemed to be an awful lot of daylight about, the grass was greener than I’d expect in winter, the trees and bushes had green leaves on them and there were flowers in some gardens.

    It was an intriguing plot though.

  • Steven Roper

    • March 11th, 2013 23:44

    Like a lot of BBC dramas Shetland had a gentle atmospheric feel about it. If it lacked anything it was more of the beautiful coastal scenery the islands are renown for.

  • T. Bain

    • March 11th, 2013 23:47

    What a load of old rubbish, I lived in Shetland for 16 years and never once saw Norway on a clear day, has this character got X-Ray vision or what? My Husband worked on Heather Platform and couldn’t see Norway either. For God’s sake there are better waysto promote the the Islands next time try using the Tourist Board…………

  • Nic Davies

    • March 12th, 2013 0:23

    If the BBC are going to set a drama in Shetland in January, the least they could have done was to film it in January in Shetland.

    Anyone north of Glasgow knows full well that you don’t get that much light at that time of year. The sun was relatively high in the sky and the days seemed rather endless. People were wishing each other “goodnight” and you could still see the outdoors. Check out the shadows.

    The production team (ITV, what a surprise) appear to have spent any part of January outdoors on Shetland (except clearly the Up Helly Aa), when the days are 6 or 7 hours long and the sun never gets past 12 degrees high.

    I think they missed a trick. Wouldn’t the oppressive half-light at that time of year have added to the dark atmosphere?

    Shame on BBC Scotland for being involved in this deception. We’re watching a detective programme, we notice stuff like this!

  • John Fry

    • March 12th, 2013 1:10

    Having spent two summers doing conservation work at various locations on the main island and Unst I couldn’t wait to watch the new drama. It was extremely nostalgic to see the sail loft at Voe where I spent so long and Da Lounge where I spent so much as well as a glimpse of Sumburgh. I think it was a good story but not a great story. I liked the character of Jimmy Perez but the accents spoilt the authenticity of the programme. That said, I think if they had spoken in a true Shetland dialect us South Mouths might have struggled to understand any of it. Shetland was indeed the star and it has made me long to return.

  • David Spence

    • March 12th, 2013 8:15

    Whilst I understand many people feel others are “nit-picking” about this show, I thin mr Davies hit the nail squarely on the head – for those of us who are fans of detective/crime shows – we *do* notice every little detail – those are the things that matter.

    I couldn’t care less about the location jumping or that the Lounge had moved to Barrhead or that the accents were generic (none of the main characters were supposed to be local anyway were they?), thats run-of-the-mill for any TV show – it was the awful writing and ignorance of any kind of forensics, forgetting about fingerprints one moment then remembering them the next, etc etc. Thats what ruined the show.

  • Allen Fraser

    • March 12th, 2013 8:26

    The most realistic character was Duncan Hunter ‘The Fixer’, the man Perez asked to cancel Up-Helly-Aa. Perhaps we will see a Shetland version of the TV soap ‘River City’ called ‘Muddy Bay’ where the ‘The Fixer’ arranges large grants to relatives from the Shetland Development Trust or ‘manipulates’ votes of Shetland Charitable Trust to pay £millions to a large windfarm development threatening the islands..
    But that would be just too unbelievable…wouldn’t it?

  • Vivienne Rendall

    • March 12th, 2013 8:31

    Now I’m adding a further comment. Why did Jimmy Perez called Mainland the main island all the time? And his pronunciation of Lerwick was bizarre-like Berwick-it is not! Our daughter works in Shetland, originally as an archaeologist. Her comment was-‘Why are they doing an archaeological dig in January?’ And just to promote Shetland she now works promoting Shetland’s geology.
    Vivienne Rendall

  • Andrea Barnes

    • March 12th, 2013 9:18

    I’m not from Shetland and I’m sure it’s a beautiful place (it looked it !) but the drama was far too slow and I did get bored about half way through, tried to watch part two but my brain switched off after 20 mins and so was the TV ! Sorry but bring back Spooks !!

  • Joe johnson

    • March 12th, 2013 9:30

    Its always the same in films and television. They never get things 100% accurate. but I thought the programme was ok and it could bring more tourists to the islands this year.

  • Christine Graham

    • March 12th, 2013 10:58

    I dont watch a lot of TV mostly because whats on does not appeal to me. But I tuned in on Sunday to watch Shetland.

    And I was not disappointed, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 part drama. And its a LONG time since I enjoyed anything on British TV.

    It wasn’t perfect I could nitpick about some things. But I understand some things have to be sacrificed in order to fit an entire novel into 2 hours of TV, and that others have to change for artistic licence. But overall it was a very enjoyable drama, and I liked all of the main cast. The location was stunning, the plot interesting and well paced. Interesting relationships all round but I really enjoyed the quirky working relationship of Perez and his young assistant, it made me smile on more than one occasion.

    I really do hope to see more of this. I would definitely tune in if they filmed another of the novels.

  • Jennifer Perry

    • March 12th, 2013 11:47

    Wouldn’t it be grand if someone wrote and televised a Drama set in Shetland -a Detective Fictional Drama, well researched, using distinctive local knowledge, people, history, dialect and landscape. A Drama which allowed the unique qualities of Shetland to underpin a thrilling tangle of baffling inter-weaving diabolical events which left us mesmerised and gripped as the story unfolded and we tried desperately to figure out ‘who-done-what’! A story with such a devious plot that it tricked and teased our calculations all the way through; a story with well developed, memorable and distinctive local characters; a story which effectively and imaginatively used documented historical events as hooks on which to attach parallel fictional events; a story which used local geography and weather to create the very special atmospherics of such a deadly scene (where Norway was relocated back to Scandinavia and did not lie twinned with( maybe) Foula, to be spied wistfully when the mist lifts). A story so well acted and directed (with a believable script) that you never wanted the story to end.

    As I said, wouldn’t it be grand if someone wrote and televised a Drama set in Shetland …..

  • mike perry

    • March 12th, 2013 15:18

    Oh do stop nit picking, and accept the storey for what it was, well acted, and well told, come on bbc, lets have another six or eight tales like this.
    Well done to every one who contributed to a good two hours entertainment.

  • Sandy Milroy

    • March 12th, 2013 18:34

    A bit of a disappointment, I kept being distracted (and annoyed) by poor detailing. I cant believe that the main character apparently a life long Shetlander talked about going to ‘Lerrick’, and the oldest cast member again supposed to be Shetland born and bred talked in pure western isles. A sloppy production.

  • Jonathan durham

    • March 12th, 2013 20:12

    Your all a bunch of idiots. Why can’t you take a television show as it is intended. A work of fiction that at least puts some kind of focus on your community. Perhaps unintelligible nit picking would make a terrible 2 hours entertainment. Grow up and get a grip. Shetland in January must represent the devils arse.

  • Fenella Pryce

    • March 12th, 2013 20:15

    Never been to Shetland, but got coaching from my husband who worked up there in the 70s. Maybe acents were not correct or time of year not quite right, but it was a mystery to entertain and a bit of escapism from the grim reality of the UKs problems. So please make another few episodes, the more such dramas we have, the more we can espace from depressing news and the never ending stream of cheap reality tv shows.

  • John Anderson

    • March 12th, 2013 21:04

    There is a lot of rubbish being talked about accents. Yes, many Shetlanders pronounce it ‘Lerrick’, and there are different accents within Shetland – which would be ‘correct’? Shetland is full of Scots and loads of other nationalities, and Shetlanders understand when to moderate their accents so they are widely understood. We are adaptable, and not stupid enough to put a prime time drama in dialect, even suppose we could raise the cash and air time for it.

    It is more offensive to hear folk mangling our dialect than to have it overlooked. And a drama filmed in all-dialect would not be a realistic picture of Shetland.

  • Maggie Williams

    • March 12th, 2013 21:45

    I enjoyed it, shame others didn’t but each to their own 🙂 if they had spoken in Shetland everybody would have moaned that they could not understand what they were saying, so a no win situation really.

  • john womaqck

    • March 12th, 2013 23:11

    Bit confused as to was it ‘coast’ a ‘subaru advert’ in between falling asleep, or a documentary regarding reception problems for mobiles in northern islands

  • David Gee

    • March 12th, 2013 23:28

    Erm, I’m fairly sure I heard “Lerrick/Leh-rick” used quite often when I stayed in Shetland, so for me that was actually one of the few bits I found authentic!

  • Shuard Manson

    • March 13th, 2013 0:24

    I didna realise it wis a documentary. I thought it was a work of fiction. Good to see you ir aa bigger pictir Folk!!!!
    I im da surprised dey didna film it in Old Norn.

  • ann henderson

    • March 13th, 2013 10:22

    My friends down south were primed to watch it but I wish I hadn’t mentioned it. ‘I thought you said Shetland was a nice place, its looks so miserable’ was the first comment I got back.

  • Margaret Mckinnon

    • March 13th, 2013 10:30

    It was more like “Van der Valk” than anything British

    “Everybody on Shetland is related” was the comment by one of the suspects…..

    So does that mean all the oil workers, etc etc were related to these families?

    Could not really see the point of getting all those local people to re-enact the Up Helly Aa – it did not fit in with the storyline !

    And the way the detective and his colleagues just managed to jump on ferries and be in places in matter of minutes and back on the mainland in the same hour or so……. author had not really done her research!

    I think the author based the story in Shetland knowing full well she would sell her books because of the “romance” of the islands………

    I shall certainly not want to watch another series.

    How about the Shetland Tourist Association getting together a proper programme about the history and geography and benefits of Shetland and letting the rest of the UK see what they are missing out on

  • ian tinkler

    • March 13th, 2013 11:21

    Much ado about nothing.

  • David Short

    • March 13th, 2013 13:32

    I’m posting this comment in a hope it will add balance to the opinions I’ve read so far. I’m English I’m afraid from just North of London, but love everything Scottish. However, I’m no expert on Shetland – and nor will be 95% of the viewers.

    I was able to enjoy the storyline, the acting, the accents and the scenary in all innocence – and enjoy I did! I am sure it will have nothing other than a positive influence on the local tourist industry and ensure (in the Summer at least) even LESS authentic accents than in the programme itself!

    Putting myself in the programme makers shoes, I wonder if the accents were moderated to assist the ‘listenability’ for those viewers without familiarity of the local accent? After all, if viewers switch-off because the diologue is difficult to understand, the experience has been a failure for them. I’m guessing that every tv programme is a compromise to a greater or lesser extent.

    I fully appreciate how lack of authenticity can grate, but please be assured that the vast majority of those watching will have enjoyed; with only positive consequences. From a personal perspective, it has increased my already considerable desire to visit.

    Please be proud.

  • Davie Gardner

    • March 13th, 2013 14:16

    There was a very simple film-related reason the programme was NOT shot in January (not including the greater risk of poor weather, delays to filming due to gales, snow etc etc of course) and that was that in July the production team could work and film their allotted 11 hrs per day due to Shetland’s extended daylight hours and not be restricted to a maximum of perhaps 6 hrs per day filming that shooting in Jan – with it’s very short days – would have allowed.

    Nice light (if in fact you got any at all that is) less greenery etc would have been one thing yes – and possibly great in themselves as regards detail and authenticity – but a spiralling budget due to a very large film ‘crew’ literally working ‘half days’ rather than full days (at the same cost) would quite probably have meant it would have been financially impossible to shoot the larger part of it here at all – while remaining within the allocated budget for what was, after all, simply a ‘pilot’ project.

    Sadly I’m afraid there are issues of reality and business behind ALL film projects – especially ones shot in very remote locations – which often don’t allow for things to be done as we ALL might wish them to be.

    I think on balance Shetland got the best of the deal in that respect – with a significant part of it being filmed on location up here as a result.

    I don’t think that many of the 5 – 6 million viewers throughout the UK would have noticed much of the detail mentioned above having never been near the place in the first instance. And perhaps they even got a BETTER ‘view’ of what Shetland looks like and has to offer compared to factual reality i.e. what can often be a pretty grey and drab landscape in winter-time.

    There have also been quite a number of documentaries (both good and bad) made about Shetland – especially in the recent past – but how many of those have achieved viewing figures of 5 – 6 million and been offered ‘prime-time’ BBC 1 slots? Very few indeed I would imagine.

    Sometimes we simply have to suspend reality and take this for what it is – minus the detail. A fictional ‘yarn’ that quite probably did the isles a lot more good than harm.

  • Andrew Buckle

    • March 13th, 2013 15:06

    Really hope the BBC film some of the other books, I thoroughly enjoyed the two episodes.

    I guess if anyone has written a book on crime in my hometown, Maidstone, and it gets filmed, certain many of the actors will probably sound like they come from Hampshire or Ireland etc but it wouldn’t worry me. It is a fictional tale and it was a real pleasure to watch.

    Very good cast as well.

  • Pádraig Floyd

    • March 13th, 2013 15:31

    Yes, there were lots of things wrong with the programme. Not least because it was an ITV production and while they have caught up with the quality of the look, there are always gaping holes in their screenplays. Continuity can also be peas-poor, but it’s done to a budget so it can be syndicated.

    You know they were never going to have broad Shetland accents, because they’d have to subtitle it everywhere. I don’t like the way they’ve played about with the stories too much, but it happens, even in (reverential silence) Rebus.

    But there were a few too many things wrong and daft about it. The pace, however, was more about introducing the environment and main characters. The original story is set in Whalsay unless I’m very much mistaken, but the wanted to establish that Shetland is an archipelago, something never very well done in Stockholm.

    However, the positioning of the action on Bressay must have been because it is convenient, near the police station and is striking looking. It also establishes there is more than one island other than Big Stone or whatever Henshall was calling it.

    The pace of these new series is always slow to start with and once you’ve been broken in and have an understanding of the scene they tend to expect a degree of knowledge.

    Was it any good? Classic curate’s egg. Good in parts, but they were few and far between and forgiven for the (little) scenery we saw.

    Will it be back? I hope so as no doubt does the SIC and Tourist Board.

    But they will have to do a lot better next time, as I won’t be watching it unless it delivers on all fronts and they tidy up some of those annoying threads.

  • Hannah Nelson

    • March 13th, 2013 16:41

    Just shedding a little insight
    Many folk are unhappy about the likes of Perez not speaking with a Shetland accent. Well from someone who as actually read some of the great books written by A.Cleeves you will understand that this is because there is a story to be told and unfold in future episodes, which adds to the mystery of the character….all will become apparent!
    Remember folks, this is fiction and as mentioned earlier not a documentary.

    Ok this is how it works
    The fact is that this was basically a pilot in order to guage interest on a limited budget, once a certain amount of interest is shown then they can throw more funds at it, adding the further quality it deserves. Therefore, think a little before being nagative so quickly.

    This has the potential to do wonders on so many levels, just be patient! 😉

  • sean jamieson

    • March 13th, 2013 21:02

    Scottish accents aren’t homogenous. I’m fed up with ignorant comments in the writings in the Times. The programme was a let down. The story was dull and slow. The reason they referred to the main island and not mainland was because if they said mainland the UK population will think they are talking about mainland Scotland not the “main island” in Shetland. Here’s the rub. This show is for the whole of the UK not just Shetland. In addition they would hope for international sales. This will also be why they stuck with Glaswegian accents throughout. They know people understand them. It is a problem that excludes a lot of accents from Scotland like the Shetland one on tv. They couldn’t use one local accent here and there for continuity reasons.

    All in all a boring who dunnit.

    Ps. I say Lerik. Everyone I know says Lerik and Henshall said Lerik. What was the probs with that.

  • Robbie Work

    • March 13th, 2013 22:15

    I was reasonably happy with the story as far as a crime drama goes, since it was very near the end before I realised who the killer was.
    Scenery OK, and will no doubt do wonders for Shetland from a tourist awareness point of view.
    But,from the point of view of an Ex-Shetland resident, the wrong use of locations was absolutely comical. Especially trying to pass off a house (The Punds, if I remember correctly) in South Whiteness as being in Bressay… LOL
    It was well worth a watch and I can’t see it doing any harm since it was ‘just fiction’.

    One point which did annoy me a bit was the title. I would have been happier to see the drama given the same title as the book.. Just in case somebody did think it was a documentary. 😉

  • Robbie Work

    • March 13th, 2013 22:22

    PS.. The pronunciation of Lerwick by Perez was just about the only proper Shetland pronunciation in the whole film. 😉

  • Davie Gardner

    • March 13th, 2013 23:38

    Well said Hannah

  • Sandy McDonald

    • March 14th, 2013 3:01

    It was a tv drama for goodness sake! There are some folk that seem to think it was missing some realism, but that TV for you. Even if every resident of Shetland hated it for its lack of detail that is still only 0.3% of the viewing audience! A figuire I am sure the makers would be happy with. I get the feeling we are like a bunch of airline pilots picking at an airplane disaster movie instead of accepting it for what it is, a bit of escapism. If it had been made totally true to life there would have been no murder and Perez would have spent the 2 hours investigating a collision between a car and a sheep whilst a sub plot involving two drunk 16 year olds fighting carried on in the background.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 14th, 2013 8:28

    I found it boring and went to bed, I think there are a few others should have done the same. Either that or get a life.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 14th, 2013 8:48

    Sometimes despair of humanity. V E polarising the Shetland community, school closures, community centres’ going. Cut backs threatening all the poor in our fragile community and people steaming up over a silly TV programme. Does that not say it all? No wonder our politicians are so idiotic, just look at the mentality that did or did not vote for them !!!

  • Margaret Mckinnon

    • March 14th, 2013 11:04

    Just find it so amazing that the author was of the opinion that a policeman thought he could stop Up Hella Aa just a few hours before it taking place!

    She obviously is not aware of the hundreds of people that travel from mainland UK (and who would be on their way from Aberdeen by this time!) and those already on the island making their way to Lerwick!

    It would be a bit like the local bobby trying to stop the Notting Hill carnival taking place!

    Had the murders taken place in Lerwick – I don’t think that would have stopped the event taking place!!!!

    I think she should have done a lot more research into the life of the Shetlanders – she presumably thought that life has to stop especially as “everyone is related to everyone on Shetland”……

    It is a shame the story had not been written by a Shetlander…………….with a lot more insight into how life is really lived here.

    I think the author should stick to Tyne and Wear (I believe she lives in Whitley Bay??) and update Catherine Cookson stories instead.

    Still think the Shetland Tourist lot should quickly jump on the bandwagon and produce a factual TV programme about life in the real north…………

  • Angela Carswell

    • March 14th, 2013 18:30

    I had a holiday in Shetland for the first time last summer. I really enjoyed the programme, and as some people have pointed out, the story line wasn’t great. But being a “Southerner” it wasn’t spoilt for me by the dialect, as I’m not that familiar with it. However, I mainly watched it for the scenery, and I think it will do the Shetland tourist industry a whole heap of good, as the programme put across the lifestyle and beauty of your wonderful islands. Many of your commentators here are locals or people who are familiar with the isles, but for a foreigner, I think it was lovely.

  • Lynda Page

    • March 14th, 2013 20:22

    I must agree with some of the comments but would like to say that as a visitor to Shetland it was worth it to see the scenery and be reminded of the great time we had at Up Helle AA in 2012 and would be happy to sit through any amount of programs to see more, although this was a crime drama it was good to not see unnecessary violence.

  • Shelley Johnson

    • March 14th, 2013 22:29

    Some people think that “the author… should have done a lot more research” however i think that pepole should get the facts right before they critisize. I have read all of Anne Cleeves Shetland novels and they are fantastic! Anne Cleeves lived in Shetland for a good few years so she does have a good insight into how life is here. It was not Anne Cleeves that made the TV programme it was ITV/BBC Ann Cleeves wrote the book which the programme was based on. Her book “Red Bones” did not have Up Helly Aa in it and the programme was verry different to the book.
    I also think they called the Shetland Mainland “the main Isle” so people outwith Shetland wouldn’t get confused over mainland Shetland and mainland Scotland. And I think Douglas Henshalls pronounciation of “Lerrick” was spot on 🙂

    Although the books are so much better I do hope they make a TV series out of it I did enjoy it, though they may do well to take on some of the critisizim.
    I think you would all really enjoy the books!

  • David Spence (Lk)

    • March 16th, 2013 0:44

    ‘ This has the potential to do wonders on so many levels, just be patient! ‘

    Well said Hannah.

    It was a tv drama based on the book by an author who adores these islands, and who is a frequent visitor. I would think many people who like her work may also visit the islands to get the inspiration that Ann gets…..one never knows.

    I understand that the viewing figures, as Hannah has stipulated in her comments, were used as a gauge in which to determine whether or not it was worth investing more money and time into a further drama. It could also be used as a means of doing further drama’s based on the books Ann has written. As far as I know the viewing figures were better than expected, so, as they say ‘ Watch this space ‘ .

  • Joe Hanson

    • March 16th, 2013 17:05

    The only thing that spoiled it for me was that this was based on the third book of a quartet for some reason. I like Ann Cleves’ books so looked them up. I have no doubt that if the first and second books had been shown first the characters (police) would have been more familiar to us. Because of this, some things niggled me: who was the man Perez’ assistant had been engaged to? Was it the man in the bar who kept calling her Tosh? I picked up an inference that it was …

    I hope they do dramatise more of these books but, please BBC put them in the right order.

  • Kerstin Fricke

    • March 17th, 2013 12:23

    I quite enjoyed it as much as the other European crime series (Spiral, Montalbano,The Bridge, The Killing, Singlehanded). I felt it very refreshing to have Scotland via Shetland represented on the map for this genre. Regarding regional authenticity they all have to be taken with a pinch of salt! Does anyone know who wrote the music and if it’s been published?

  • Stephen Shirmer

    • March 17th, 2013 17:54

    Having not seen the TV crime story about shetland, or most proberly never will as I dont own a TV,
    having read all the comments about how good it is or not,
    it can only be good for shetland-free publicity, and if you dont like it, turn your TV off and leave it to the folk who like it.

    Time to get off this subject and onto something else, fishing or crofting would make a interesting read for a change.

  • Alan Harris

    • March 17th, 2013 20:03

    Accents were generic Scottish, not Shetland. The plot and production seemed like a cross between Taggart and Wallander. It was ok, not great.

  • Julie Quantick

    • March 31st, 2013 23:16

    I thoroughly enjoyed the prog and the beautiful setting – has inspired me so much that I wish to visit, never having been to Shetland before.
    Unfortunately, I missed part of Episode 2 and therefore I am wondering if anybody would be able to send me a recording please please! My e-mail is juliequantick@googlemail.com.
    Thankyou for reading this.

  • Mark French

    • September 25th, 2013 19:08

    By way of a belated reply to Kestin about the music to the series, it is apparently by a Scottish composer, John Lunn, who has extensive credits for top TV series http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0526753/

    The playing was hauntingly beautiful I thought. For me, along with the landscapes it was about the best thing about the show.

  • Bernard Green

    • March 11th, 2014 14:50

    I do hope that when the new series airs this evening that Douglas Henshall, an otherwise fine actor, will at least sound as though he comes from somewhere near Lerwick.

  • Philip John

    • April 16th, 2014 0:29

    Have just finished watching Shetland and must say I thoroughly enjoyed all six episodes. Never having been to Shetland, or anywhere near it, I’m not as hung up about genuine accents as seems to be the main gripe of most posts before mine. I must remark that the format for Shetland to be almost a carbon copy of “Hinterland”, again another totally captivating programme about policing around rural Aberystwyth. Both programmes thoroughly deserve to have follow up series made and I thought the acting in both to be first class.

  • Philip John

    • April 16th, 2014 0:37

    Only just realized that the six programmes I have seen IS the second series. DOH! Still, if I can find the Red Bones episodes, I’ve got another two hours of a great show to see.

  • Peter Mannell

    • April 20th, 2014 19:42

    So desperately, pathetically boring we gave up watching after half an hour.
    2 episodes, 2 hours – NO WAY!!!!

  • Kathy Greaves

    • April 22nd, 2014 12:03

    So, who did kill Peter Latimer, and why?

  • Corey Whittington

    • May 11th, 2015 8:16

    I live in Idaho & discovered the show on PBS. As a massive fan of British television i really like the show. I have never been to the UK & TV will probably be the closest i will ever get unfortunately. The show introduced me to the Shetland Isles. Compared to American crime drama which is unrealistic & full of violence Shetland is much more cerebral & really draws me in. Having said all that, i do have one criticism. At the end of part two (season 2 episode 6) they never explained who killed Dr Latimer or what the cash was for. It’s very uncharacteristic of this show or any British drama I’ve watched. Maybe i zoned out & missed something but thought i was watching closely. Lol. Great show thought. Keep “em coming.

    • Mary Temple

      • May 5th, 2017 4:22

      We live in Idaho too and are wondering who killed Peter Latimer. Is it only us Idahoans who care about little details like this? I understand the tv series is very different from the book. Maybe the rewriting caused them to get a bit careless.

  • Corey Whittington

    • May 11th, 2015 9:08

    Hello, it’s me again. I left my earlier comment before reading all the others.I just wanted to address all the criticism about the lack of authentic accents. I know this show wasn’t intended for the American audience but as an American I’m glad the accents on the show were more accessible.

    Several years ago i saw a Scottish movie called “Sweet Sixteen”. I thought it was a great movie. So much so, i bought a copy. The movie was subtitled in America & I’m here to tell you thank God it was. The Scottish accents in that movie were so thick it didn’t sound like English to the American ear. I’ve watched the movie several times as an experiment to see how much i could understand without reading the subtitles. I can pick up some phrases obviously but i would have to spend time in Scotland to become fluent.

    I believe it does your region proud as an outsider & if i could afford to go i would love to visit purely based on what I’ve seen from the show. I hope i haven’t offended anyone. My intention is quite the opposite. Just one man’s opinion.

  • Barbara Lifton

    • November 17th, 2015 2:29

    Loved the series but after reading Ann Cleeves’ wonderful books, I must say that I am disappointed that the series mangles the plots, invents new characters, and even rewrites the endings of some of the stories. Also, one of the interesting parts of the book is Perez’s appearance and nationality: Spanish descent! And emotionally complex. As wonderful an actor as Douglas Henshell is, he is NOT Hispanic! I thought the landscapes were thrilling and the acting superb. Who cares about the accents?

  • Glenn Unstead

    • January 16th, 2016 16:56

    Just watching the new series on I player and there is a running commentary in the background as though it is for visually impaired folk. Has anyone else experienced this please? Is there any way to remove the talk over?

  • Karen Angus

    • January 17th, 2016 0:29

    Glenn I had that problem as well so just switched off, not able to ‘disarm’ the Audio Description.
    Hopefully be sorted for another attempt tomorrow?

  • Karen Angus

    • January 17th, 2016 22:10

    It’s sorted!
    Watched it tonight, no problems.

  • Frank Saint Clair

    • February 1st, 2016 13:12

    I don’t watch Shetland , the trailers put me off ! why any 0ne wants to portray a wonderful tranquil place as a drug ridden island completely baffles me ! if it was to increase tourism , i would think it would have the opposite effect .

    • Robert Duncan

      • February 1st, 2016 15:54

      Drug abuse is enough of a problem here that it has at least some basis in reality. Not that that’s really the fundamental aim of a fictional drama series, that owes no favours to the local tourism industry. I’m sure the vast majority of viewers are sensible enough to separate the fact from fiction.

      • Frank Saint Clair

        • February 2nd, 2016 11:00

        What a lovely refreshing comment , the word patronizing springs to mind ! .

      • Robert Duncan

        • February 2nd, 2016 17:32

        I’m not the one with so little faith in the average tourist as to think they would be put off visiting Shetland by a fictional murder mystery.

    • John N Hunter

      • February 1st, 2016 22:00

      Typing “drugs” into the search box at the top of the page brings up over a dozen drugs stories from the past twelve months.

  • iantinkler

    • February 2nd, 2016 8:45

    “Shetland police winning war on drugs”; in a pig’s eye: http://www.shetnews.co.uk/news/11374-shetland-police-winning-war-on-drugs
    Time to legalise soft drugs. Take cannabis out of the hands of criminals and let the police catch the real peddlers of poison. This problem is getting far, far worse. https://www.google.ca/search?as_q=drugs+shetland+2015&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=&as_occt=any&safe=images&as_filetype=&as_rights=

  • David Spence

    • April 2nd, 2016 16:40

    I reside right next to the Lodberries (Detective Perez’s home in the drama) and I have seen the tremendous work which goes into filming short sequences for the drama. It really does give you a small insight into the amount of work which is done (behind the scene’s) and the amount of technical photographic and sound equipment which is required for producing the best quality in terms of imagery and acting.

    One particular sequence involved, I think, around 30 production and technical staff shooting, as I found out later, about 20 – 40 seconds (This filming took the best part of 2 hours to do). The amount of attention to detail was quite phenomenal, and the number of takes taken at different angles was, from a photography point of view, interesting to watch.

    As for the cost of the equipment used, I was told one of the camera’s was over £250,000. It was, from a technical point of view, very interesting to see what was involved and the equipment being used to capture the acting or the sound.

    It certainly gives you an insight, albeit slight, into the cost of such productions.

  • derek wyllie

    • June 15th, 2016 23:39

    In series 2 episode 2 between the interview room scene and the beach where DI Perez asks for a custody extension He appears to of cut his head he has butterfly stiches above his right eye
    how on earth did he do it
    did he do it off camera as in is it a real cut or has something been missed out ?

    great series………..

  • Cathy Tracey

    • October 19th, 2016 16:32

    ‘Shetland’ was broadcast for the first time in New Zealand earlier this year (2016) and I have since bought the DVDs of all of the series. Many people have commented on the accents of the actors being generically Glaswegian in order to facilitate listeners’ comprehension. I find that when they speak fast I still have a lot of trouble understanding what is being said, and in frustration have used subtitles at times, causing my husband to laugh at me. Visiting Shetland is on my bucket list, and I defy the locals to understand everything that I say when I visit, Kiwi accent in tow.

    The barren beauty of Shetland and misty grey skies drew me in (having read more now, I realise that much of ‘Shetland’ was set in Scotland, but I am willing to suspend reality and enjoy it anyway)… Henshall adds to the aesthetics. Looking forward to the next series.

  • Maryse Helbert

    • December 2nd, 2016 3:49

    Shetland is very disapointing. It is so misogynistic. I have watched on and a half series and for each of the episodes, this is a woman who kills a woman, and the plot is so terrible. the last episode I watch was about a woman who killed another woman because she would not accept her boy to see his father. So unlikely, so weird and so badly written
    A woman killing a woman is the rarest thing on the planet.

  • Wendy White

    • May 6th, 2017 19:49

    I’m curious too. Who killed Peter Latimer? Rather frustrating to leave a serious murder like that unsolved. Or did I miss the answer?

  • christopher j freed

    • July 10th, 2017 16:49

    We in Rhode Island would also like to know who killed Peter Larimer after watching the last episode of season two. I believe the money was thought to be a payoff from the murdered women to prevent him telling her husband about their affair. But she was dead. I’m thinking that Perez knew but let it go due to feeling that Larimer got what he deserved. Both my wife and I were surprised by this lack of detail. Go Idaho.

  • sue smith

    • August 7th, 2017 9:11

    I understand one in ten words. They speak in a garbled and mumbled way. And in typical British style there’s too many suspects that all turn out to be innocent and it’s always some outside longshot that’s the guilty one. I watched the whole season and still don’t get it.

  • Bill Dawson

    • January 29th, 2018 17:54

    I have watched the first two seasons so far, and am two episodes into the third season. I like this show very much. Yes, the scenery is beautiful and contributes to my enjoyment of the show. The show depicts a relatively small population of good people, many involved in the farming and fishing industries. It looks like a beautiful and wonderful community and a great place to live.
    The cases usually involve wrongful deaths. And there is enough mystery involved to keep my interest. The writers don’t telegraph the ending or drop hints to reveal the guilty party before the police discover who he or she is. I like that style of police show writing.
    I think that the writers go a bit overboard in their effort to portray the police force in Shetland as sleuths who bring criminals to justice using only their wits and persuasive powers. What I mean is, they depict Perez as being almost completely non-violent. Even when he is assaulted by a criminal, Perez in season1 episode 1 fails to use a submission hold to detain the assailant, allowing him to escape. At the end of the next episode Perez is at the station when a report of some sort of incident involving gunfire comes in. When he is shown responding to the scene of the incident he appears to be unarmed. What officer leaves the station to respond to reports of gun fire without taking a rifle?
    This effort to depict the police as able to solve crime and keep the peace without ever using force is a bit over the top. I know of no law enforcement officer who elects to remain unarmed when responding to reports of gun fire.
    But aside from that criticism, which is a minor one, I really like this show.

  • Jennifer A Smith

    • June 13th, 2018 3:45

    Peter latimer. I’m so glad I’m not the only one wondering about this

  • David Spence

    • June 14th, 2018 0:07

    It may be the case in a more populated location, a large town or city, but one would also have to appraise the situation before armed officers were put in place. Shetland being isolated and a small population, it is more than likely the police may know of the person, and tried to persuade them to hand over the gun or to put it out of reach if thrown, rather than taking more serious action against the assailant?

    One would also have to take into account that the assailant would be known within the community they are in or within Shetland itself? This, of course, could be counter-productive or productive?

    I am sure the police in Shetland would try every method to diffuse the situation before more stringent methods were required?

    The beauty about the tv series Shetland, is it points out the closeness of the community within Shetland, but also emphasizes the overall bond within the people of Shetland for the islands as well as its natural beauty.

    • Ali Inkster

      • June 14th, 2018 20:08

      Previous actions taken over air rifles would suggest otherwise. heavily armed officers and gung ho tactics seem to be the order of the day.

  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • June 16th, 2018 8:29

    Previous actions taken over air rifles would suggest otherwise. heavily armed officers and gung ho tactics seem to be the order of the day. Really Ali. Did you not read the ST Editorial objecting to the proposal of Shetland Police Force being trained and armed with Tasers? What planet are you on ? “heavily armed officers and gung ho tactics ” what utter nonsense.

    • Ali Inkster

      • June 18th, 2018 12:44

      Helicopter full of armed police to deal with a teen carrying an old air rifle. When a parka and a dustbin lid would of sufficed. And again helicopter full of armed police arrives on the isles and proceed to Foula where they commandeer a private vehicle and proceed with guns drawn and a cop riding on the bonnet accross the isle where they proceed to break down doors in search of a rusty old air rifle. Utter nonsense indeed, no wonder you support it.

      • Christopher Johnston

        • June 18th, 2018 15:49

        This farce was most likely inspired by bored police who watched too many Hollywood crime movies and decided to have a try for sport. Are you certain they didn’t call in a SWAT team from doon sooth?

  • Richard Schumacher

    • August 17th, 2018 5:19

    Texas also wants to know who killed Peter Latimer. As for the accents, when the going gets a bit thick we turn on the closed captioning :_>

  • Robert French

    • August 21st, 2018 3:49

    Maryland public broadcasting is running Shetland. Also want to know who killed Dr. Latimer. Someone on the show said that he had a bruise on the back of his head that could only happen if he ran 30 miles an hour backwards into a tree. So it wasn’t an accident where he got drunk and set himself on fire. This point very poorly written; however I enjoyed the story and the series. Easier to watch with closed captioning to understand accents and local slang—google helps. Interesting when you Google “Shetland who killed Latimer” how many hits you get. I guess people all over the world want to know.

  • Paul Leduc

    • November 24th, 2018 21:11

    Everyone is asking… who killed Peter Latimer? Myself included! And what about the sack of money he hid? If it was blackmail money from Anna, why did he have to go with her to get it?

    Is there anyone with an answer?

  • David Spence

    • November 28th, 2018 10:36

    I was speaking to a friend on the da street, and they were telling me ‘ the fifth series is going to be the last series ‘ – I believe the fifth series is from the book ‘ Blue Lightning ‘ ?

    Is this the case ????

  • David Goff

    • September 4th, 2020 1:11

    Bill Warren killed Peter Latimer – that part of his confession was true.

  • Karen Robinson-Stark

    • November 10th, 2020 6:35

    I laughed myself silly with the post 3/14/13 by Sandy McDonald: If it had been made totally true to life there would have been no murder and Perez would have spent the 2 hours investigating a collision between a car and a sheep whilst a subplot involving two drunk 16 year-olds fighting carried on in the background. Even if Henshall sounds like a south Scotland foreigner, the premise of the crime series is over the top. A best-selling book series, The Cat Who…, set in a tiny town in Michigan, USA, has an astronomical murder rate for population density! Except crime noir, mystery series are imaginary situations in unlikely settings. An authentic setting, with good peripheral representation of local dialect, though most should wonder how the tortured protagonist even gets out of bed in the morning, let alone resists the inclination to throw himself in front of a train, you’ll love Hinterland. Only eternal optimism kept me watching to the bitter, tragic end. Perez has affectionate family relationships and warm collegial relationships, so he can get out of bed. BTW, if a Glaswegian accent is neutral, I doubt I’d understand directions to the nearest pub. God bless subtitles.

  • David Cuthi

    • October 26th, 2021 23:02

    This is a Glasgow drama populated by Glaswegian actors with one exception.
    Lovely views.
    Are there no actors on Shetland?
    Even if I wS a glaswegian, I think I might be able to drop the ubiqhitous glottle-stop and add a bit of lilt and precise diction.
    I’m trying to like it.

  • Gill Chapman

    • November 26th, 2023 21:10

    Can someone explain why the person described as the Procurator Fiscal has her/his office in the police station and appears to be Perez’s, now Tosh’s, Boss?

    Surely that’s not the role of a Procurator Fiscal? I understood that they are the equivalent of England’s Public Prosecutors and Wikipedia says there are only 11 in the whole of Scotland so it’s not likely that there is one based in Shetland -?


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.