Ashley Jensen makes her Shetland debut in the first episode of season 8 tomorrow night (Wednesday 1st November) – and it looks like her character, DI Ruth Calder, isn't going to have the easiest welcome.


Agatha Raisin star Jensen is taking over from Douglas Henshall's Jimmy Perez as the new lead detective on the series, with Calder having been described as a native Shetlander who returns to the isles after a 20-year stint in London.

And if the below first-look clip is anything to go by, her previous ties to Shetland might be a hindrance more than a help, as the locals react to her return in rather frosty terms.

"You're his double, you know," a woman named Grace Bain (Phyllis Logan) tells her at the beginning of the clip, and it soon becomes clear that she's referring to Calder's resemblance to her father, who was a local reverend.

"You were a few years above me at school," a man then adds, before Grace continues, "And now she's a policewoman."

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"Detective Inspector," retorts DI Calder, but stating her rank doesn't seem to win her much respect with this crowd.

"Who would have seen that coming, eh?" Grace says. "Your brother's a minister at the church now. He's fine, I suppose. Bit wet for my liking. I preferred your father – he was more... resolute."

Ignoring these comments and trying to push on with a case, Calder says, "If anyone sees her, or she gets in touch, it's vital that you call us," before she exits the room with a muted "thank you".

You can watch the clip in full below.

A synopsis for the episode reads: "Met detective Ruth Calder returns to Shetland on the trail of a vulnerable witness, and must team up with Tosh on a case that will test their fragile new partnership.

"On top of the case, Calder is faced with figures from her past and cringes through a chance encounter with deadbeat ex-boyfriend Cal Innes."

It continues: "Even worse is her visit to estranged younger brother Alan, now the minister of their father's old kirk, as it's clear that the two siblings have starkly different views of their childhood."

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Meanwhile, Tosh star Alison O'Donnell recently exclusively told about the interesting dynamic her fan-favourite character will share with Calder.

"They're both incredibly driven, they're both experienced, but they're coming from different backgrounds, they've had different journeys to get to where they are, this level of seniority," she said.

"I've described it as being a very restless relationship, it never really settles down. And I think it's quite an unusual dynamic for TV.

"I'm not sure I can think of lots of examples of a relationship like that. They don't immediately become best friends, but they're not enemies, they have a common goal."

Shetland season 8 begins on Wednesday 1st November at 9pm 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 Guide to find out what's on.


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