BBC drama Shetland is back on our screens for season 8, marking the first chapter of the series without Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez.


Ashley Jensen has been cast as his replacement, Ruth Calder, who has returned to Scotland as part of an investigation into a gangland shooting.

She's introduced to number of familiar Shetland faces, plus a raft of new guest stars – some friends and some foes.

Read on for a rundown of the Shetland season 8 cast.

Shetland season 8 cast

  • Ashley Jensen as Ruth Calder
  • Alison O'Donnell as Alison ''Tosh'' McIntosh
  • Steven Robertson as Sandy Wilson
  • Lewis Howden as Billy McCabe
  • Conor McCarry as Alex Grant
  • Eubha Akilade as Lorna Burns
  • Anne Kidd as Cora
  • Angus Miller as Donnie
  • Maisie Norma Seaton as Ellen Quinn
  • Russ Bain as Bobby Bain
  • Dawn Steele as Stella Quinn
  • Barry O'Connor as Kieran Quinn
  • Phyllis Logan as Grace Bain
  • Lorraine McIntosh as Heather Bain
  • Neil Pendleton as Neil Bain
  • Jakub Bednarczyk as Rory Quinn
  • Jamie Sives as Cal Ines
  • Bamshad Abedi-Amin as Azir Sandat
  • Manjinder Virk as Farida Sandat
  • Sandy Grierson as Peter Ayre
  • Steven Miller as Reverend Alan Calder
  • Nina Toussaint-White as Amma Calder
  • Gemma Laurie as Rosemary Strachan
  • Ian Dunnett Jnr as Liam Kenmuir
  • Kevan Mackenzie as James Innes
  • Dylan Blore as Tom Knox
  • Jennifer Black as Jean Ferguson
  • Don Gilet as John Howell
  • Arnas Fedaravičius as Lukas Nowak
  • Ann Louise Ross as Agnes Moffat
  • Simon Tait as Ronnie Tulloch
  • Francesco Piacentini-Smith as Gerry Bryce
  • Natasha Cottriall as Kirsty Bell
  • Joseph Thompson as Philip Remis
  • Karl Collins as Thomas Coombes
  • Joe Bolland as Jack Hurley
  • Tibu Fortes as Harry Lamont

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Read on for more information on the characters in Shetland season 8, and where you've seen the cast before.

Ashley Jensen plays Ruth Calder

Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder in Shetland standing on a beach in a long coat and scarf
Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder in Shetland. BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Jamie Simpson

Who is Ruth Calder? A detective inspector who works for the Metropolitan Police in London. Ruth was born and raised in Shetland, but left as soon as she turned 18. She reluctantly heads back up north as part of an investigation into a gangland shooting.

Where have I seen Ashley Jensen before? Many people will know her from After Life with Ricky Gervais, Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe, Ugly Betty starring America Ferrera, crime comedy-drama Agatha Raisin, and sitcom Extras.

Alison O'Donnell plays Alison ''Tosh'' McIntosh

Tosh standing by a stone wall on a grassy cliff
Alison O'Donnell as Tosh in Shetland. ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

Who is Alison "Tosh" McIntosh? An ambitious, smart detective sergeant. Tosh was close with Jimmy, but the show must go on without him. She was raped a few years ago, with the series charting her recovery from the trauma of her ordeal. In the last season, she was dealt another cruel blow when she very nearly died after being caught up in an explosion.

What else has Alison O'Donnell been in? Shetland is Alison O'Donnell's most sizeable TV role to date. Before playing Tosh, she was better known for her work on stage, treading the boards in Boys, The Hard Man and Lorca's Yerma.

Steven Robertson plays Sandy Wilson

Steven Robertson plays DC Sandy Wilson in Shetland
Steven Robertson as Sandy Wilson in Shetland. ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

Who is DC Sandy Wilson? Sandy is a dedicated detective constable with a strong sense of right and wrong, but in season 6 his feelings for Kate Kilmuir occasionally clouded his judgement and got him into trouble. His knowledge of the local area and community makes him a key member of the team.

What else has Steven Robertson been in? The Scottish actor, who was actually born in Lerwick on the Shetland Islands, has appeared in period drama Harlots, Doctor Who, Being Human and more. He also starred in a radio adaptation of Shetland, playing DI Jimmy Perez himself.

Lewis Howden plays Billy McCabe

Lewis Howden plays Sergeant Billy McCabe in Shetland
Lewis Howden as Billy McCabe in Shetland. ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

Who is Sergeant Billy McCabe? A reliable and experienced police sergeant.

What else has Lewis Howden been in? Although he is better known for his stage work, Howden has a collection of TV credits including Hope Springs, Taggart and Monarch of the Glen.

Conor McCarry plays Alex Grant

Conor McCarry plays PC Alex Grant in Shetland
Conor McCarry as Alex Grant. ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

Who is PC Alex Grant? A member of the team at Shetland police.

What else has Conor McCarry been in? He starred as Dessie Toner in ITV drama The Loch, and has also made appearances in Outlander (as Young Jamie) and BBC dramas The Night Manager and Rillington Place.

Anne Kidd plays Cora

Cora with a sad expression on her face
Anne Kidd plays Cora in Shetland. BBC

Who is Cora? A forensic pathologist who is extremely dedicated to her work.

Where have I seen Anne Kidd before? She's had minor roles in Outlander, BBC drama Vigil, ITV's Victoria and more.

Angus Miller plays Donnie

Angus Miller plays Donnie in Shetland
Angus Miller as Donnie in Shetland. ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

Who is Donnie? Tosh's partner and the father of her child.

What else has Angus Miller been in? Miller appeared in the TV series Teacup Travels. He is more often seen on stage in Scotland (Let the Right One In, Trainspotting, The Belle's Stratagem).

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There's also PC Lorna Burns, played by Eubha Akilade (Find Me in Paris).

Shetland season 8 guest stars

  • Maisie Norma Seaton plays Ellen Quinn - a key witness in a London gangland shooting who is murdered by a member of her family
  • Russ Bain (Annika) plays Bobby Bain - Ellen's uncle
  • Dawn Steele (Holby City) plays Stella Quinn - Ellen's mum
  • Barry O'Connor (Red Rock) plays Kieran Quinn - Ellen's dad
  • Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey) plays Grace Bain - Ellen's grandmother
  • Lorraine McIntosh (River City) plays Heather Bain - Ellen's auntie
  • Neil Pendleton (River City) plays Neil Bain - Heather's son
  • Jakub Bednarczyk (Good Omens) plays Rory Quinn - Ellen's brother
  • Jamie Sives (Guilt) plays Cal Ines - an old flame of Ruth's
  • Bamshad Abedi-Amin (My Mad Fat Diary) plays Azir Sandat - a consultant psychologist who was being blackmailed by Heather
  • Manjinder Virk (Trigger Point) plays Farida Sandat - Azir's wife. Their son died a year ago
  • Sandy Grierson (Outlander) plays Peter Ayre - he stole Ellen's body from the morgue
  • Steven Miller (Casualty) plays Reverend Alan Calder - Ruth's brother
  • Nina Toussaint-White (Witness Number 3) plays Amma Calder - Ruth's sister-in-law
  • Gemma Laurie (The Long Shadow) plays Rosemary Strachan - a friend of Ellen's, who was unmasked as the sheep killer
  • Ian Dunnett Jnr (North Star) plays Liam Kenmuir - Rosemary's boyfriend
  • Kevan Mackenzie (Bad Boys) plays James Innes - Cal's brother
  • Dylan Blore (The Hunt for Raoul Moat) plays Tom Knox - his family have history with Ellen's family, but Tom and Ellen were friends
  • Jennifer Black (River City) plays Jean Ferguson - she had an affair with Ruth's father
  • Don Gilet (EastEnders) plays John Howell - a gangster who was looking for Ellen
  • Arnas Fedaravičius (The Last Kingdom) plays Lukas Nowak - Howell's right hand man
  • Ann Louise Ross (Katie Morag) plays Agnes Moffat - a sheep farmer
  • Simon Tait (Taggart) plays Ronnie Tulloch - the bus driver who forced Ellen off the vehicle
  • Francesco Piacentini-Smith (Waterloo Road) plays Gerry Bryce - the man who stole Ellen's bag
  • Natasha Cottriall (Doctors) plays Kirsty Bell - Ellen's flatmate in London
  • Joseph Thompson (Hollyoaks) plays Philip Remis - the victim of the shooting and a police informant
  • Karl Collins (Hollyoaks) plays Thomas Coombes - a detective chief inspector with the MET
  • Joe Bolland (Sherwood) plays Jack Hurley - a detective constable with the MET
  • Tibu Fortes (Liaison) plays Harry Lamont - a procurator fiscal

Shetland season 8 airs on Wednesdays 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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