Shetland season 8 is the first instalment of the crime drama without Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, but while some viewers might still be unconvinced about how the show looks in his absence, Alison O'Donnell (Tosh) is confident there's still plenty to enjoy.


"When I first heard that they were going to do this, I went through every possible emotion," she told

"We'd done these seven, I feel, really beautiful seasons, we'd wrapped up all the storylines, and I just felt like I could walk away from that feeling unbelievably proud.

"And then I was like, 'Oh my God, why would you risk doing this? Why would you take this leap of faith?'

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"But very quickly, I started to understand that the creative team were not doing this casually. They'd looked at the landscape and gone, 'There is an appetite for this show. It has a huge loyal audience that have helped it to grow and they want more.'

"And there are so many of the elements of the show that people know and love that are still there. They've kept those things in place, so the heart of the show remains. It really honours what's gone before."

Alison O'Donnell as Tosh in Shetland, standing next to Ashley Jensen as Ruth Calder. They're stood inside a house, with Ruth looking straight ahead with her arms crossed, a stern expression on her face, and Tosh looking at her with a concerned expression on her face
Alison O'Donnell as Tosh and Ashley Jensen as Ruth in Shetland. ITV Studios/Jamie Simpson

But as well as staying true to what people like and expect from Shetland, O'Donnell said the creative team have been "brave" in making "really clever decisions", such as bringing in Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder, which "opens the whole thing back up again".

She added: "I think they've really hit the sweet spot. You get the show that you've known and loved, characters that you know really well, the beautiful landscapes, the grisly storylines and all the characters that come with that, and then you get this woman who brings a fresh energy, a different flavour profile.

"Some people like their porridge with banana and blueberries, and some people like theirs with peanut butter. You're still eating porridge, it’s just a different flavour."

O'Donnell went on to praise Jensen's performance, highlighting both her "incredible comedy chops" and the "quality of her dramatic performance".

She added: "It's effortless for her. She just turns it on and she's so in it. She has turned out such a glorious performance, and I think, I hope people are going to be pleasantly surprised that it works as well as it does."

Shetland season 8 airs on Wednesdays on BBC One and iPlayer. Ann Cleeves's Shetland novels are available to buy now.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guideto find out what's on.


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