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Ashley Jensen 'thrilled' as BBC commissions TWO more seasons of Shetland – details

The actress stars as DI Ruth Calder in the critically acclaimed series 

Ashley Jensen and Alison O'Donnell on the set of Shetland
Megan Bull
TV Writer
12 March 2024
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The BBC has finally addressed Shetland's future. Following the success of its 2023 series – which saw Douglas Henshall pass the baton to Ashley Jensen – the broadcaster has commissioned a further two seasons. 

Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder and Alison O'Donnell as DI Tosh McIntosh in Shetland© BBC
Shetland has been renewed for two more seasons

Confirming the news, Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama said: "It's a joy to bring Shetland back for not one, but two new series, further strengthening the BBC's commitment to this hugely successful Scottish drama that's loved by fans across the UK and around the world. 

"Ashley [Jensen] and Alison [O'Donnell's] partnership has taken Shetland from strength to strength and into new exciting territory, which combined with Paul Logue's captivating scripts will mean there's plenty more in store as we head back to the Isles."

Alison O'Donnell as DI Tosh McIntosh and Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder© Jamie Simpson
Alison O'Donnell as DI Tosh McIntosh and Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder

Leading lady Ashley has also shared her excitement. "I'm thrilled I'll be returning to the Shetland Isles again to play the wonderfully complex DI Ruth Calder," she raved. 

"The reaction to the last series was incredible and I'm excited at the prospect of unravelling more intrigue. The Shetland Isles are breathtaking – without a doubt one of the most memorable and unique filming locations I've been to. I'm looking forward to jumping on that wee plane again and returning soon."

Released to further acclaim, series eight of Shetland averaged 7.0 million viewers across its run. It was also the second biggest drama of the year in Scotland, following the success of Happy Valley. 

While it's early days, the BBC also confirmed that shooting will commence on series nine this month, with production on the tenth instalment slated for 2025. 

Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder © Jamie Simpson
Season nine will begin filming on the Shetland Isles and across Scotland this month

Joining Ashley, fan favourite Alison O'Donnell will return to set as Detective Alison 'Tosh' McIntosh in the coming weeks. "Ashley and I just scratched the surface of our dynamic in Series 8 and I am delighted that we now have the opportunity to build on that," she told the broadcaster. "I can't wait to see what Paul and the team have in store for us next."

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Series regulars Steven Robertson (Sandy), Lewis Howden (Billy) and Anne Kidd (Cora) are also gearing up to reprise their roles. According to the BBC, further casting for season nine will be announced in "due course," so watch this space!

Have you caught up with season eight of Shetland?

As fans will remember, season eight of Shetland followed Met Police detective Ruth Calder as she returned to her native Scotland to retrieve the vulnerable witness of a gangland murder. 

Forcing Tosh to pause her investigation into a string of mysterious animal deaths to help Calder find the witness before it was too late, audiences watched as the detectives evolved from strangers to colleagues and by the end, friends. 

We can't wait to see what's in store for series nine!  

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