Ashley Jensen

Shetland – Ashley Jensen joins the crime drama in 2023

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She takes over from Douglas Henshall, who led the show for seven series. 

The BBC have announced Ashley Jensen (Catastrophe, After Life) as the new lead detective in Shetland.

Originally based on the novels by Ann Cleeves, the show began in 2013 with Douglas Henshall starring as the DI Jimmy Perez, for the show’s first seven series.

Shetland series 6

Now, with Henshall departing the show this year to pursue other acting opportunities, Ashley Jensen will take the reigns as DI Ruth Calder. Her character will be a native Shetlander, returning to the isles after a 20-year stint in the Metropolitan Police.

Jensen’s Ruth Calder will work closely with DS Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh (Alison O’Donnell). Series regulars Steven Robertson (Sandy), Lewis Howden (Billy) and Anne Kidd (Cora) are also returning.

Of her casting in Shetland, Ashley Jensen says:

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Shetland as DI Ruth Calder. It’s such a hugely successful show and I am aware I have very big boots to fill since the departure of DI Perez, who was very much loved by fans of the show.

“There will be a different dynamic with Ruth amongst the regular characters and a few more new interesting characters to enjoy. However the integrity of the show and the world that has been created will remain very much in the same tone as the last seven seasons. It’s a real privilege to be asked to lead this show into a new chapter. I can’t wait to be working in Scotland again. I have missed it!”

Let’s hope she is up for plenty of posing in the cold, looking pensive against all that stunning scenery.

Mayflies: Tracy Ifeachor (Iona), Ashley Jensen (Anna), Tony Curran (Tully) and Martin Compston (Jimmy)

In the meantime, Jensen is starring in Mayflies, with Martin Compston, Tony Curran and Tracy Ifeachor later this year.

The new series of Shetland begins filming in the spring. The writer is Paul Logue and producer Louise V Say. Executive producers are Gaynor Holmes for the BBC, Kate Bartlett and Denise Paul for Silverprint Pictures.

When it arrives, presumably in late 2023, Shetland Series 8 will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.