The wait is over for fans of Shetland, the television murder-mystery series adapted from the immensely popular crime novels by Ann Cleeves set against the stunning backdrop of the Shetland Isles. The acclaimed BBC One drama starring Douglas Henshall at Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez returns for a second series on 11 March at 9:00 pm. Watch the trailer:
This series will focus on three stories – Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning – told as three two-part episodes. In the first tale, adapted from Raven Black, past traumas are resurrected for the residents of the fictional town of Ravenswick when DI Jimmy Perez and his team are forced to reopen a cold case in order to solve the present-day murder of a teenage girl.
This series will see Julie Graham join the cast as no-nonsense procurator fiscal Rhona Wallace and will feature guest appearances by a glittering array of Scottish actors including Brian Cox, Alex Norton, Nina Sosanya, David Hayman, John Lynch and Bill Paterson. But it is Shetland, captured on-screen in all its wild beauty, which is the real star of the show. Just take a look at the locations which inspired Ann Cleeves when writing the books and which feature in the series:
With its rugged cliffs jutting out of the North Sea, wind-swept hillsides and endless stretches of empty beach, the distant but undeniably beautiful landscape of Shetland is a fitting backdrop for intrigue and mysterious goings-on. A place of dramatic contrasts, a sudden shift in the ever-unpredictable weather can make the islands appear foreboding one moment, idyllic the next and positively other-worldly at times, creating an atmosphere that is utterly captivating and unique. It’s no wonder that Ann Cleeves chose to set her books here after falling under the spell of Shetland 35 years ago.
‘For me, Shetland’s location and landscape are vital. The landscape is so open – there are wide skies and you can see for miles – and that contrasts beautifully with people hiding things.’
The cast and crew have also come away from their time in Shetland enchanted with the place. Reminiscing about his most memorable filming experience of the series, Henshall can’t contain his enthusiasm for Fair Isle – a tiny gem of an island renowned throughout the world for its distinctive knitwear and birdlife.
‘They were filming a scene with a group of us coming out of the bird observatory and we could hear this noise coming from the ocean – it was whale song…It’s such an amazing sound and not one I’d heard myself other than on TV in documentaries. The sun, the scenery and the people we were with – combined with this – made it utterly memorable and I was smitten by the place.’
Julie Graham found herself equally enthralled with Shetland’s unique sense of place.
‘I loved filming in Shetland. It’s very bleak but beautiful and I think there’s something quite magical about it too.’
We couldn’t agree more.