The final series of Shetland to star Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez is to air next month – but it won’t mean curtains for the show.
The BBC has announced today (Wednesday) that while Henshall is to bow out of the acclaimed murder mystery drama, filming for series eight is already scheduled for the spring.
It will be the first series without the show’s hero Perez at the helm – with casting for the new lead role to be announced in the coming months.
Henshall, who has spent nine years playing the character, said he and writer David Kane had decided to do series six and seven to “complete the story of Jimmy Perez” – but he now wanted to pursue other acting opportunities.
“It’s been one of the privileges of my career to play Jimmy Perez for almost ten years and to work with so many wonderful people both in front of and behind the camera, and also to spend so much time in Shetland,” said Henshall.
“The isles were so much a part of our show and of Perez himself.
“I’ll miss him and the place. I wish everyone involved much luck with whatever happens next.”
Series six came to its dramatic conclusion last year with Perez’s future hanging in the balance after he was framed for murder.
Fans will be eager to find out how his fate unfurls – and how he will bow out once and for all.
The series also features the mysterious disappearance of a vulnerable young man and an investigation into a family’s secret past, which reveals an “unimaginable threat” to the community.
Written by David Kane, Paul Logue and Denise Paul, the seventh series features a number of guest stars alongside regulars such as Alison O’Donnell (Tosh), Steven Robertson (Sandy), Mark Bonnar (Duncan).
Executive producer for BBC Drama, Gaynor Holmes, said: “It has been an absolute privilege to work on Shetland over the past few years and watch the show go from strength to strength – in no small part thanks to Douglas’s sensitive, intelligent and memorable portrayal of DI Jimmy Perez.
“We will miss him enormously but he leaves the show in rude health and we’re extremely excited about the plans we have for bringing more of this much loved drama to audiences far and wide.”
Executive producer for Silverprint Pictures, Kate Bartlett added: “It has been amazing to have the opportunity to complete the story of Jimmy Perez and Douglas Henshall is outstanding in the role.
“We had an incredible Scottish cast and crew and David Kane has created a distinctive and emotionally complex story that unfolds against the stunning, evocative landscapes of Shetland. I’m very proud of this series and excited for the new series to come.”
Shetland is based on the series of novels from award-winning writer Ann Cleeves.