Henshall is hoping for another series of Shetland

Douglas Henshall, the actor who plays Jimmy Perez in the TV drama Shetland, was delighted with the public’s response to the programme, the third in the series written especially for the small screen.

Actors Alison O'Donnell and Douglas Henshall in the latest series of Shetland.
Actors Alison O’Donnell and Douglas Henshall in the latest series of Shetland.

The public had stuck with it, even though it had been given “a not particularly good slot” with gaps of two weeks between some episodes, ditched in favour of sport.

Speaking to The Shetland Times from Los Angeles, the 50-year-old said: “We have maintained and grown the audience, they’re a very loyal bunch of viewers, very patient, not what audiences are renowned for.”

In spite of this success, he said he had “absolutely no idea” if another series was planned. “I hope so”, he said. “There’s not much coming out of Scotland at present.”

And even if a new series would be using the same carefully-chosen scenic locations, this would not matter. He said: “I don’t see anything wrong with repeating yourself, to familiarise people is fine.”

Shetland continued to surprise him, he said. “I’ve been going to Shetland for four or five years and only discovered Meal Beach last time. Shetland is surprising, there are lots of hidden spots, I really like that, there’s a lot more to be gained.”

And, he said, not that many people had been killed – there had only been two series and a pilot, and there could be a “lot more to go, it’s at the behest of the writers, what they can come up with.” And given the nooks and crannies of the isles, it was a good place for a murder.

Addressing the criticism made of the accents used, he said: “The Shetland accent is a really difficult accent to get right, the last thing we want is a bunch of people sounding awful.”

And of the disconnect, scorned by locals, between locations (how did The Lounge have such a plush interior, and how did Michael Thompson get from Clavel to Eshaness in 10 seconds), he said: “We try to make the continuity as believable as we can for people who live in the rest of the UK, we’re not lazy.”

He added: “I wish there were more actors in Shetland but the population is small and the population of actors equally small.”

He would welcome more locals in the series, however, but the emphasis has to be on the story.

As for the brooding, intense Perez, he feels he has now got under his skin. He said: “Everyone will have their own idea of him, people personalise characters. I understand the one I’m playing.

“I feel I know him and I like him. I know exactly who he is, but I’m not entirely like him, I don’t have children and I haven’t been widowed. I’m sure that changes you. But as for sensibilities, I feel close.”

The important storyline of the after-effects of Tosh’s rape attracted much favourable comment from reviewers, and from the creator of the character, Ann Cleeves.

Henshall said: “It’s about time this subject matter was [treated sensitively], it’s been dealt with horrendously in the past in various productions, a subject like rape has to be filmed from the woman’s point of view.

“You don’t have to show rape gratuitously, this is much more powerful.”

He praised the writers Gaby Chiappe and Clare Batty for their handling of the subject, and actress Alison O’Donnell’s interpretation of the role.

As for Shetland, he said: “I adore the place and the more I go the less I want to leave. If we don’t shoot any more [in Shetland] I’ll still be going back there, I don’t know what it is, something about the landscape, the peace people find there.”

However, he did not know if he could stand a Shetland winter.

But he loved the wildlife and had seen whales in Fair Isle – “one of the most fantastic places I’ve ever been”.

The remote island is in complete contrast to LA, where he is taking part in the “meat market” of shooting pilots – and Henshall, who has had a varied career ranging from West End theatre to appearing in Taggart, has respect for American TV drama, which is in “rude health”.

“It’s a brutal process”, he said, with actors coming from everywhere in a spring migration for a chance of a part.

“The only consolation is that it’s sunny, and that softens the blow of rejection.”

He added: “I really like it here, there’s a lot of nice nature, it’s not just a big sprawling metropolis.”

Shetland or LA – it seems that Henshall could be happy anywhere.


Add Your Comment
  • Lynda Page

    • March 13th, 2016 20:43

    It has been a pleasure to watch Shetland and see some of the lovely places I have visited, Doug Henshall is right in saying that there is something about Shetland which draws you back and being able to see so many familiar places in the program has made me feel quite homesick although I am not a native. You need to visit at all times of year to appreciate the islands and I would love to return to see Upp Helle A again.

  • Kathy Stehwien

    • April 22nd, 2016 21:59

    I sure hope Shetland continues, and I sure hope that Tosh doesn’t leave. Looked like in the episode last night that she might be leaving because she asked for a transfer. I’ve grown to really love this show, although, I have to admit I sometimes have a time understanding what Tosh is saying because of the accent. I look forward to the program continuing on our PBS station. Please, let us have more new episodes.

  • sheila groonell

    • May 13th, 2016 15:06

    I live in the northeast part of New england in the US. I love the Shetland series and hope it will be back for a fourth season. The location is mesmerizing. The writing is superb. Special congratulations for the writers handling Tosh’s response to rape so realistically and without gratuitous violence. Doug Henshaw is great.

    Please, please, another series of Shetland, please !

  • Mark Gregory Ford

    • June 5th, 2016 1:49

    Just finished watching the latest “Shetland” series on TPT here in Minnesota. I never scheduled anything on Thursday night, as to not miss this fantastic show. I sincerely hope it will continue! (Please make the opening scene longer, so we can enjoy more of the brilliant music.) Best wishes to all…Mark

  • Tosi Hyvä Sarja

    • June 6th, 2016 18:36

    It would be great if this series continues! Here in Finland it was very popular, just like so many other British tv-series but in a personal way. Henshall is a great actor as well as O’Donnnel.

  • Carmen Riopel

    • July 2nd, 2016 22:56

    I absolutely love Shetland. Please bring us more episodes. I hope Tosh comes back, I love the chemistry between all the characters.

  • D. M. Diana

    • July 3rd, 2016 0:10

    We love the show. We live in the U.S., and we are very impressed with the acting, the music, the stories, the history and the beauty of Shetland. What a wonderful “advertisement” for tourism! Hopefully the show returns for many more seasons. We have to know if Tosh returns, and if there will be someone special in her future. And will Jimmy continue to risk putting his heart out there for happiness? Henshall is right – there are many more mysteries and stories that can be told. THIS is a quality program. Please keep it going.

  • Anne Thompson

    • July 26th, 2016 20:49

    I too fell in love with this series and am so glad they will be back for another season. I’ve pitched the series to my sister (not been shown yet in the Austin Tx market) as a great drama and the lead actor as the next “Father Clifford”- our last UK heart-throb. 🙂

  • Richard Billings

    • August 22nd, 2016 22:12

    I to had a hard time understanding the accent, here’s the answer turn on the closed captioning.

  • linda shaw

    • September 12th, 2016 6:08

    Love Shetland!! As a scot….born in Greenock and immigrated to Canada as a kid the wonderful scottish accents charmed my knickers off…hope there’s more to come 🙂 really awesome backdrop for a crime show looks amazing there.

  • George Young

    • September 12th, 2016 6:28

    I just binged Shetland on Netflix here in Montreal, Canada. What a great series!
    If this series has not been renewed I will weep. And if Tosh disappears the entire audience will weep with me.

  • Andrea Lindsay

    • October 2nd, 2016 16:52

    Having binged watched the entire series on Netflix here in Moose Jaw, Canada…Shetland and the lovely cast have charmed my woolly socks off so much that I hope to travel to Shetland and Scotland in the near future. I can’t wait to see the next series! “Shetland” has a large following right here in Canada!

    • Elizabeth Clarke

      • October 30th, 2016 1:32

      Elizabeth Clarke
      Absolutely loved watching ‘Shetland’ over the last while on Netflix here in Vancouver, Canada. Brilliant acting, great stories and amazing scenery! I can hardly wait for the next season.

  • Patricia (Trish) Kletke

    • October 31st, 2016 3:42

    I love this series SHETLAND. I want to see this area and visit. I wish I could be on a tv series. I’m from the United States and wish I wasn’t please email me or call me. 580 327 7893. patricia.states@hotmail.com wish I lived in SHETLAND. Oh my address is Patricia kletke 412 Myers Dr. Alva Okla. 73717.

  • Teri Trickey

    • November 6th, 2016 16:36

    I am so in love with the series Shetland and the place Sherland! I love the location and have even bought the first 4-5 books by the author Ann Cleeves. I sure hope they bring it back for several seasons to come!

  • Anne Driscoll

    • December 8th, 2016 3:57

    I loved the Ann Cleeves novels so I watched the first episode of Shetland with some trepidation. No need to worry. The series is fabulous. Henshall is terrific as Jimmy Perez. Please do bring Tosh back. I only hope there will be a Season 4

  • Cheryl Anforth

    • January 22nd, 2017 2:19

    I have put on a lengthy search before discovering this site to ask that the Shetland series be continued. I live in California. Please keep same characters; Tosh, too, wanting to leave. Douglas Henshall brooding and explosive, highly sensitive and subtly sexual leaves the viewer wanting to see more of Jimmy Perez catching the bad guys and finding love.


    • January 27th, 2017 6:28

    Please let us have another season. I loved the novels and Douglas Henshall is terrific as Jimmy Perez.

    • fraser cluness

      • January 27th, 2017 12:34

      You need to contact the BBC in Glasgow/London. Although they are filming the next batch of programmes here in the spring/summer this year.

  • Linda Winterborn

    • February 2nd, 2017 23:08

    My husband and I just love this series .I have started reading Anns books and have fallen in love with her characters. Bring on another series of shetland.

  • Johnna Ortiz

    • March 29th, 2017 1:08

    I’ve been a fan and read all of Cleeves books. I was happy to see her stories come to life on screen.
    The actors depict her characters well, especially Perez’s character. I’m looking forward to the series continuation for 2017. I’m from Naramata British Columbia, Canada.


    • April 3rd, 2017 4:02

    I came late to Shetland having heard about it but couldn’t find where it was available to be watched until I realized my local library had the DVD box set for Seasons 1 & 2 all along, which I binged on over a weekend, then discovered a couple of weeks later they also had Season 3 which I just watched this weekend.
    I love the scenery or lack there of-of a relative treeless Shetland. The quaintness of a small port “city” Lerwick and the sparseness of the rest of the population of Shetland. With subtitles, anyone should be able to get used to the accents quickly. I like the core cast, the working relationship between Perez, Tosh and Wilson is spot on. Reminding me a lot of the initial core on the show Vera, between Stanhope, Ashworth and Lockhart. Perhaps as Tosh wants a transfer, she could be working both on Shetland and the Mainland as the liaison.

  • Helen McReynolds

    • April 10th, 2017 11:52

    I have been gone from Scotland since 1960. You can take the Lassie out of Scotland but you can’t take Scotland out of the Lassie. I am here, at 75, in Roseville California at 3am binge watching Shetland on Netflix and loving every minute. I will be making my final trip to tour Scotland in ’18 and just have to make it to the Shetlands. Thoroughly enjoying the Series. Great acting and the scenery that makes me so homesick. Although I have had a wonderful life and love the U.S. I still miss Scotland very much.

    • Barbara Duncan

      • April 13th, 2017 5:19

      Helen–where are you going on your Scotland trip?

      I’m 67, a 3rd generation Scottish American and have been a few times: 1976, 1978, 1988 and 1994.

      My sister and I are hoping to get there again, maybe with her son, Duncan; we went together in 1978.

      Agree that the Shetland series is wonderful –loved how you said you binge watch @3 a.m! I also recommend Wild Scotland, a three part series now on National Geographic.

      Barbara Duncan

  • Teri Lynn

    • April 10th, 2017 18:30

    I am obsessed with Shetland which has just come to the US via Netflix. The scenery is amazing and have fallen in love with the 3 main characters. Praying for a 4th season and that Tosh does not leave, I just love her humor. And Douglas Henshall is so perfect as Jimmy Perez. Also think it is very cool to see different Scottish actors in the episodes, many from Outlander or is it the other way around (Taran MacQuarrie)PLEASE give us more!!
    My next visit to Scotland will now include Shetland!

  • Jennifer Williams

    • April 27th, 2017 21:57

    Just discovered this series on Netflix. I binge-watched over 3 days. Just love the feel of the series. Top-notch crime drama and who-dunit but without the gratuitous and graphic violence that is part and parcel of the US version of this genre. Clever plot twists. Love the music and the accents. I am not a judge of a Shetland accent so it all sounds charming to this California girl. Can’t wait for season 4. I hope the series continues far beyond that.

  • Colleen Sheely

    • May 5th, 2017 8:04

    Amazing writing Season Three. All seasons! Kudos for the range of feelings women experience when sexually assaulted, raped or violently attacked. Alison “Tosh” deciding not to pursue, & Claire Dargo as Kelly Paterson deciding to press charges after 10 years had passed in spite of all the obstacles she faced. Well done. The scene with Billy & Tosh when he asked to hug her & she said no, just the whole difference between the “tart” mentality & respect for women Jimmy struggling & Billy & Lawrie. Superb writing. I watched each episode & was engaged in everything from the story & characters to the filming & scenery. Please tell me this show will continue beyond season 4. Thanks to the actors, locals of Shetland for putting up with the filming & road closings et al. My hope is the cast & filming crew is leaving Shetland better than they found it, each & every time they come & go. Which I hope will be for many more seasons.

  • Ross Riddell

    • June 5th, 2017 18:11

    Just binge-watched all 3 series of Shetland. As an exiled Londoner living in up-state New York but with both grandfathers being Scottish I got more than a little homesick for the Old Country. Great acting & great stories & am looking forward to season 4, hopefully with Tosh still in the cast

  • Martha Shaw

    • June 20th, 2017 13:17

    Wow! This is a hidden gem of a show that I discovered on Netflix. Each season got better and better. Please keep it going to season four and beyond. As other people have commented all British shows need to be watched with subtitles. That’s the only way I can really get through them and it helps tremendously! I have just loved the plot lines and the characters including the strange and troubled yet deep feeling Lowrie. I agree that Tosh needs to come back. Thanks for this superb show. To console myself and to help me wait, I will watch Vera which was also written by Ann Cleeves.


    • July 5th, 2017 18:25

    I have just recently discovered the delightful, lush green of Shetland and the complex and marvelous personalities of the series. I found it on Netflix and fell hard. I have watched it all the way through and I have fallen for DI Perez hard, and Douglas Henshall is a wonderful actor who brings depth, sensitivity and a hint of underlying danger in his Jimmy Perez. I adore Tosh, and have just seen the BBC announcement of it beginning series 4 filming. I am thrilled and cannot wait for it and hope it continues in the years to come. I have NO problem with the accents, music to my ears, love the title theme and background music. PLEASE keep this show going…I AM HOOKED.

  • Peter Mahood

    • October 4th, 2017 2:52

    My wife and I watch this brilliant show from Australia and will be really sad if it goes. Hopefully it will stay and Tosh with it. Douglas Henshall is brilliant and everyone else too. The scenery is great.

  • Gaynor Quinn

    • January 23rd, 2018 18:06

    I along with many others was sad that Blue lightening didn’t include Fran. On the other hand I have tried three times to read that particular book and cannot get past chapter 27. I just can’t bear the grief that Jimmy will feel! I will keep trying. Needless to say I hope Ann Cleeves does write more Shetland ‘Jimmy’Books. as it keeps Dear Dougie Henshall in mind and makes me wish I was 20 years younger!


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