When is Shetland back for season 6? BBC drama airdate and latest news

Douglas Henshall will reprise his lead role as Jimmy Perez for further investigations.

Douglas Henshall in Shetland on BBC One

While the BBC gave Shetland fans an early Christmas present in December 2019 by renewing the crime drama for another two seasons, fans still have a while to wait before Douglas Henshall’s DI Jimmy Perez returns to our screens – as filming has been significantly postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.


But Henshall, who stars as a Detective Inspector investigating murders and serious crime on the Scottish Islands, assured fans that “the scripts are good”.

Here’s everything we know so far.

When is series 6 of Shetland on BBC One?

Shetland was meant return to our screens in 2020; filming was scheduled for March this year, with the seventh series set to film in 2021.

In December 2019, BBC Drama Scotland’s Commissioning Editor Gaynor Holmes said the show’s viewers were set for “an unmissable series from David Kane when it returns next year.” Meanwhile, Douglas Henshall tweeted: “Oh did I forget to mention… #Shetland we start filming in March.”

However, for obvious reasons, filming did not start in March 2020. Thanks, coronavirus.

In September 2020, Henshall tweeted an update – telling fans that the new plan was to begin filming season six in February, and then follow straight on to filming season seven (“all being well”).

This would mean that filming was delayed by almost a year, though it could also mean that seasons six and seven will hit our screens in quick succession.

How many other series of Shetland will there be?

The BBC has confirmed Shetland’s renewal for series six and seven, but nothing has been said about the show’s future beyond that point yet.

Ann Cleeves, the author of the books on which Shetland is based, said in March last year that the eighth Shetland book, Wild Fire, would be the series’ last.

Who is in the cast of Shetland series 6?

Douglas Henshall is returning to the sixth series of Shetland as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, alongside Alison O’Donnell as DS Alison ‘Tosh’ Macintosh.

Where is Shetland filmed?

The series is shot in the archipelago Shetland Islands, as well as other locations in mainland Scotland. The cast and crew are usually based in Glasgow. Shetland’s filming locations are a big part of the drama’s appeal.

What happened in Shetland series 5?

The drama’s fifth series saw Perez investigate the murder of young Nigerian man Daniel and the disappearance of his sister Zezi after a severed hand washed up on Shetland beach.

Perez began to suspect that a human trafficking gang on the island was responsible for killing Daniel and kidnapping Zezi. His main suspects – the Hayes family – were shortly afterwards found murdered in their home, with only one surviving family member left for dead.

Shetland - Jimmy perez's house

Perez went to find Aaron McGuire in Glasgow, who he believed was a crucial figure in the gang. During this time, suspect Callum committed suicide under DC Sandy Wilson’s custody.

Perez soon realised that Alice, the new woman in Shetland that he had fallen in love with during the series, was behind the trafficking ring on the island after McGuire was informed of the police’s attempt to lure him out of the shadows. It is then discovered that Alice’s husband Chris had accrued debts which meant he was blackmailed into people trafficking and Zezi is found in a cottage on Unst that Chris was renovating.


While you’re waiting visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight, or check out our guide to new TV shows 2020 to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.