Shetland season 8: new detective, cast, plot and everything we know

Shetland season 8 will feature DS Alison 'Tosh' Mackintosh (Alison O'Donnell) who is standing on a grassy clifftop, looking toward the camera with her body turned to the left of the frame. She is wearing a long dark coat over a rollneck top and trousers.
Shetland season 8 will see Tosh have a new boss. (Image credit: BBC)

Shetland season 8 will see Ashley Jensen taking over detecting duties from the previous lead, Douglas Henshall.

Douglas, who has been with the series since the very beginning as DI Jimmy Perez, said goodbye to the series in season 7. Thankfully, that’s not the end of the show though, with Extras star Ashley now coming into the hugely popular BBC crime drama.

Here’s everything we know about the new series…

Shetland season 8 release date

With filming taking place in locations on the Shetland Isles and across Scotland from Spring 2023, an autumn 2023 or even early 2024 release date looks the most likely.


Ashley Jensen at the races

Ashley Jensen joins the team as DI Ruth Calder (Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Investec)

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

She 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!” 

Ruth will be working closely with series regular, DS Alison 'Tosh' McIntosh (Alison O’Donnell).

Gaynor Holmes, Commissioning Editor for the BBC adds: "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."

What’s the plot?

Little is known about the plot at this point other than it will introduce us to Ruth. Ashley Jensen is sure to give the series a different dynamic while no doubt not changing too much so fans can continue to enjoy what makes Shetland such a unique show.

Is there a trailer?

Not yet, sorry!

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!