Shetland: Ashley Jensen confirmed as Douglas Henshall’s replacement

The BBC has confirmed that actress Ashley Jensen will replace Douglas Henshall in forthcoming series of Shetland.

Henshall starred as Jimmy Perez for seven highly successful series, and fans mourned his final episode earlier this year.

Now we know who’s taking over.

Jensen – whose illustrious and critically-acclaimed career includes cosy crime drama Agatha Raisin – will star as DI Ruth Calder, a native Shetlander who returns to the isles after 20 years working for the Met in London. Ruth takes on the lead detective role left vacant by DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) working closely with DS Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh (Alison O’Donnell) and will make her debut when the series returns to BBC One and BBC iPlayer next year.

Originally based on award-winning novels by crime writer Ann Cleeves, the next series of Shetland will see Ashley join series regulars Steven Robertson (Sandy), Lewis Howden (Billy) and Anne Kidd (Cora). Further casting will be announced in due course.

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!”

Series eight will begin production in the spring.

Over to you… what do you think of this news?



6 Comments Add yours

  1. mvario says:

    Great news for Shetland, and I can foresee her character getting along just smashingly with Tosh… BUT… What does this mean for Agatha Raisin? I really love Agatha Raisin. Can/will she do both? I think given the choice I would prefer Agatha Raisin stay on.


  2. blk4609 says:

    We have only seen Ashley Jenson in Agatha Raisin, so it’s quite a stretch for us to see her as the star in Shetland. Looking forward to seeing the new series.


  3. Mary says:

    No way! We don’t need her! What about Perez telling Tosh she has come so far and is ready for the top job and was Acting DS anyways? What about Sandy who knows everyone on the Islands and has worked so hard and finally deserves both promotion and recognition? I think it is offensive to these characters and offensive to the series. Agatha Raisin is a Comedy. It is not Shetland.


  4. Andrew says:

    Hmmmm. I had hoped for a Series 5 for Agatha Raisin. It will be interesting to see her in her new role.


  5. Lucia McCullagh says:

    Totally disagree with this casting. Already have strong female character in Tosh. Was hoping for male actor although Douglas Henshall hard act to follow. Hope they haven’t ruined one of best programs on tv.


  6. Elaine says:

    I like Ashley Jensen and Agatha Raisin, but I can’t say I am delighted by this news. But hopefully they will create a great character that will fit in seemlessly. And a word about Sandy-he just seems to be a tall Alexa-giving lots of information all the time. Surely it’s time for more character development for him.


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