New Shetland detective taking over from Douglas Henshall revealed

Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) stands in an open field in Shetland season 7
A new star is stepping into Jimmy Perez' shoes for Shetland's eighth series. (Image credit: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Mark Mainz)

The BBC has revealed that the new star of Shetland will be none other than Scottish actress, Ashley Jensen.

Fans of the acclaimed murder mystery drama were shocked to learn that the previous lead, Douglas Henshall, would be leaving Shetland after series 7 earlier this year, and we've been waiting to hear who would be replacing him ever since. 

Today, we learned that Ashley Jensen would be taking over from Jimmy Perez as DI Ruth Calder, and she has assured fans that 'the integrity of the show and the world that has been created will remain very much in the same tone' whilst also teasing what to expect from the new series. 

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."

A headshot of Ashley Jensen wearing a blue blouse

Ashley Jensen takes the reins (Image credit: BBC)

"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!" Jensen added.

We haven't heard too much about how Jensen's character fits into that "different dynamic" she mentioned just yet. All we know about DI Ruth Calder right now is that she's a "native Shetlander who returns to the isles after 20 years working for the Met in London". The announcement also teases that she'll be leading the series alongside DS Alison 'Tosh' McIntosh (Alison O'Donnell).

Ashley Jensen is likely best known for playing the title role in the long-running comedy-drama, Agatha Raisin and for playing Emma in After Life, though she's also appeared in Ugly Betty, Trust Me and Extras. 

Shetland season 8 is due to start filming on location in the Shetland Isles and across Scotland next Spring. Other returning stars include Sandy (Steven Robertson), Billy (Lewis Howden) and Cora (Anne Kidd), with further casting to be announced in due course.

Shetland season 8 is slated to air in 2023. Previous seasons of the show can be streamed on-demand on BBC iPlayer and on BritBox in the US.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin is a Staff Writer with, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.