It's set to be all change in Shetland when the hit crime drama returns for season 8 – what with Douglas Henshall having left the show to be replaced as its lead star by Ashley Jensen.


Jensen will be playing a new detective named DI Ruth Calder, who is drafted in to fill the gap left by the departing DI Jimmy Perez, and Henshall has teased that he imagines the show will be very different following that change.

"She's a great actor and she's obviously very different from me," he told during an exclusive interview at the Radio Times Covers Party. "So, I mean, I think it will be interesting to have two women leading up this detective show on the isles and see what that brings."

He added: "I think it's going to be very different, but I think that's what's most exciting about it – so yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing it."

One star who is going nowhere is Alison O'Donnell, who will be reprising her role as DS Alison "Tosh" McIntosh in the upcoming run, and she revealed that she's already been given a flavour of the new season – confirming that the show is going in a slightly different direction.

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"I've read the first episodes, I've been nagging my agent to get them to send me some more so I can read on a bit," she said. "Obviously, it does feel very different because it's not Perez, and Perez was the absolute centre and heart of the show.

"So what they've done, which I think is the only thing they could have done, is taken off in another direction, but it feels different and fresh. And hopefully people will stay connected with it."

Tosh standing in front of a pile of scrap metal at a yard
Alison O'Donnell as DS Alison 'Tosh' McIntosh in Shetland. ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

Jensen herself recently teased that her new character – a native Shetlander who returns to the isles after 20 years working for the Met Police in London – will bring "a whole new dynamic" to the series.

"It's kind of almost more about the other people – about how Alison and all the other characters are going to relate to Ruth Calder, so that'll be really interesting," she said.

Additional reporting by Abby Robinson.

All the biggest exclusives from the Radio Times Covers Party:

Look out for exclusive photos and chats from the Radio Times Covers Party in next week's issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale Tuesday 7th February.
Shetland season 8 will air on BBC One, while season 7 is available on BBC 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 something else to watch.


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