Shetland season 6: Release date and latest news for BBC drama

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

Douglas Henshall in Shetland on BBC One

Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez returns this October for a sixth outing in BBC One crime drama Shetland, based on the book series by Vera author Ann Cleeves.

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It’s been a long wait for fans of the Shetland-set series, which we last saw on our screens pre-pandemic, with subsequent delays to filming due to COVID.

Series five of the Scottish crime drama, starring Douglas Henshall, concluded in 2019, and while we were supposed to get another series in 2020, COVID came along and scuppered those plans.

Series six and seven have been filmed back-to-back and now we have official word on when Jimmy Perez returns to the BBC: Wednesday 20th October.

The next series will focus on the “doorstep murder of a prominent local figure, a case which strikes at the heart of the Shetland Isles and its people”.

Here’s everything we know so far about Shetland series six.

Shetland season 6 release date

Confirmed: Shetland season six will air on Wednesday 20th October at 9pm on BBC One.

Shetland was originally supposed to return to our screens in 2020; filming was scheduled for March last 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.

In September 2020, Henshall tweeted that filming on series six would begin in February and it looks as though the production team have roughly stuck to schedule, with The Shetland Times spotting a crew in the area preparing for filming this week (17th February 2021).

According to the publication, filming for series six and seven would be shot back-to-back.

Filming on the show will take place under strict COVID-19 guidelines, with producer Louise Say telling BBC Radio Shetland: “When we come to Shetland to film in April, we will test all our cast and crew before we leave the mainland.”

“In our travels to Shetland we will be wearing PPE, we will be hand sanitising. Once we arrive in Shetland there will be regular testing again throughout the whole shoot.”

And we have a new image from series six to look at courtesy of the BBC.

shetland series 6

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.

Shetland season 6 cast

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

Shetland filming locations

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.

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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.