A new series of the crime drama Shetland has been commissioned by BBC One, it was announced today.
The decision follows the success of the recent six-part series, which finished last night and claimed more than a quarter of the Scottish audience.
Produced by ITV Studios through BBC Scotland, Shetland will be filmed next year and return to the TV screens in the same format, with six one-hour episodes.
It will again feature Douglas Henshall in the lead role of DI Jimmy Perez, with the drama being adapted from the successful Shetland-based crime novels of Ann Cleeves. Local actor Steven Robertson, who plays the policeman Sandy Wilson, is also expected to be back, with further casting to be announced in due course.
Ms Cleeves said: “I was delighted by the portrayal of my characters by Dougie Henshall and Steven Robertson. Dougie has just that mix of compassion and authority that I hoped to portray in the novels. It’s very unusual to see a central male character, who’s kind but also strong and decisive. And I love Tosh [who plays Perez’s sidekick but is not in the books]. I wish I’d created her!
“There will certainly be more books. Thin Air will be published in September and we’re planning something a bit special to launch that in the islands – more details nearer the time.”
BBC head of drama production Scotland Christopher Aird said: “Shetland is a really distinctive crime series that has proved hugely popular with audiences both here in Scotland and across the rest of the UK. I am thrilled it has been commissioned for a third outing and rest assured we have some really exciting plans for viewers from DI Perez and his team.”
ITV Studios Elaine Collins, executive producer with Christopher Aird, said: “I’m delighted that Shetland has been recommissioned and proud to have made a distinctive Scottish show that is enjoyed all over the UK. It’s also been a pleasure to work with outstanding actors like Douglas Henshall, Alison O’Donnell and Steven Robertson, who have made Jimmy Perez and his close-knit team a regular fixture in the homes of millions of viewers.”
Shetland, which in this recently-ended second series received 29.5 per cent of the Scottish audience for the first four episodes, was commissioned by BBC One controller Charlotte Moore and BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson.