Shetland announces new lead after Douglas Henshall’s exit – and they’re a very familiar face

ASHLEY Jensen will lead the cast of acclaimed BBC murder mystery drama Shetland when it returns for its next series in 2023.

Ashley will star as DI Ruth Calder, a native Shetlander who returns to the isles after 20 years working for the Met in London.

Ashley will star as DI Ruth Calder in Shetland

Ashley will star as DI Ruth Calder in ShetlandCredit: PA

Ashley starred in Scottish drama Mayflies

Ashley starred in Scottish drama MayfliesCredit: BBC

Ruth takes on the lead detective role left vacant by DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall).

She will work 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.

Ashley previously starred in Mayflies, After Life, Ugly Betty and Extras.

She was nominated for an Emmy for her role on the television series Extras, in which she appeared from 2005 to 2007.

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).

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Ashley 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.

“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!”

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Gaynor Holmes, Commissioning Editor for the BBC says: “I am absolutely delighted that Ashley is joining the stellar cast of Shetland.

“Ashley is an immensely accomplished and well-loved actress who is known internationally and we can’t wait to welcome her into the Shetland family when filming begins in the spring.”

Kate Bartlett, executive producer for Silverprint Pictures said: “We’re so thrilled that Ashley is going to be leading this new series of Shetland, alongside Alison O’Donnell as Tosh.

“They will be an exciting duo in Paul Logue’s compelling new version.  It is wonderful to have the opportunity to make another series with such incredible Scottish talent.”

Douglas Henshall who starred as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez in the BBC drama for almost a decade announced he was stepping down from the role earlier this year. 

Recently on This Morning, the actor said he decided to quit the programme as his character’s “storylines had reached a natural conclusion and it felt time to tie it up.”

“I kind of think I love what we all did together and I am very happy with that and I mean it’s going to be a different show now. 

“I wish them all the best and I hope it’s very successful but I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch it.”

Douglas quit the BBC drama earlier this year

Douglas quit the BBC drama earlier this yearCredit: ITV

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