Shetland season 8: release date on BBC One, plot, trailer and cast with Ashley Jensen

Shetland is coming back to BBC One with Ashley Jensen taking over as lead detective following Douglas Henshall's season 7 exit
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Shetland is returning to BBC this week with a brand new season following the shock exit of Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez in season 7. It's been a long wait for fans, with many wondering if the BBC crime drama would return following it's lead's departure.

Now DI Jimmy Perez has officially stepped down, taking over the reins is Met Police Detective Inspector Ruth Calder, who has some big shoes to fill. Played by Ashley Jensen (Extras, Ugly Betty), Calder will team up with Detective Inspector "Tosh" McIntosh played by Alison O'Donnell to investigate a brand new case.

So, what can we expect from Shetland season 8? Here's everything you need to know about the plot, cast from latest series and why Douglas Henshall isn't coming back.

Is Shetland coming back for season 8?

Shetland season 8 will be available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Wednesday November 1 at 9 pm. Episodes will air on a weekly basis and will pick up from the end of season 7 which left fans reeling following the shock exit of Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez.

Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder and Alison O'Donnell as DI ‘Tosh’ McIntosh in Shetland (Photo: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Kirsty Anderson/Matt Burlem)Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder and Alison O'Donnell as DI ‘Tosh’ McIntosh in Shetland (Photo: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Kirsty Anderson/Matt Burlem)
Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder and Alison O'Donnell as DI ‘Tosh’ McIntosh in Shetland (Photo: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Kirsty Anderson/Matt Burlem)

What is Shetland season 8 about?

Here is official Shetland season 8 plot from BBC: "The new series sees Met Police Detective Inspector Ruth Calder (Ashley Jensen), return to her native Shetland to retrieve the vulnerable witness to a gangland murder. Tosh (Alison O’Donnell) must pause her investigation into a string of mysterious animal deaths to help DI Ruth Calder find the witness before it’s too late.

"However, Calder’s hostility to Shetland will challenge Tosh’s view of her adopted home and their journey into the darker recesses of Shetland's past and present will test this fragile, new partnership."

Is there a trailer?

Yes, BBC have released a trailer for Shetland season 8, you can watch it below.

Who stars in Shetland season 8?

Shetland season 8 will see Ashley Jensen join the cast as DI Ruth Calder to replace Henshall's character DI Jimmy Perez. Jensen's credits include Ugly Betty, Extras, After Life and Agatha Raisin.

Speaking about taking on the role Jensen said: "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."

She continued: "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!”

As well as new faces, familiar cast members will be returning including DS Alison "Tosh" McIntosh, played by Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson as DC Sandy Wilson and Lewis Howden as Sgt Billy McCabe.

Here is the cast line-up for Shetland season 8:

  • Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder
  • Alison O'Donnell as DS Alison 'Tosh' McIntosh
  • Steven Robertson as DC Sandy Wilson
  • Lewis Howden as Sgt Billy McCabe
  • Anne Kidd as Cora Mclean
  • Angus Miller as Donnie
  • Conor McCarry as PC Alex Grant
  • Eubha Akilade as PC Lorna Burns

Why did Douglas Henshall quit Shetland?

Henshall left Shetland at the end of season 7. The actor had played the role for nine years, starring as DI Jimmy Perez in the BBC One series since 2013. When asked why he had decided to step down, Henshall explained it was the "right time" and that his character's story was coming to a "natural end". Speaking in an interview with the BBC in August 2022 he said: "I decided to leave a few years ago because I felt that Perez's story was coming to a natural end, it was time to find a resolution to Perez's private life.

"I never wanted to ruin the things that were unique to him and our series so it felt like the right time to wrap up his story in a way that would be satisfactory to everybody.

"I am aware we're not changing the world in any way, shape or form but as far as crime shows go, Shetland does really well in that genre. We tell stories that are very good, the characters are great and I wanted to go out on a high."

Shetland season 8 will be available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Wednesday November 1 at 9pm.

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