Shetlands Ashley Jensen hints at friction with Alison

This Morning: Ashley Jenson talks about role on Shetland

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After Life star Ashley Jensen is set to shake things up when she makes her Shetland debut for series eight of the gritty BBC crime drama. Since the show’s inception, Douglas Henshall has played Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, so this will be the first season where a female detective plays the leading role. 

Ashley, who has also starred in Extras alongside Ricky Gervais, was confirmed as Douglas’ replacement in November 2022. 

She opened up about the new role at the Radio Times Covers Party as she reflected on what impact her character might have.

“Well, it’s gonna bring a whole new dynamic to everyone else, actually,” she told Radio Times. 

“And it’s kind of almost more about the other people – about how Alison (Alison O’Donnell) and all the other characters are going to relate to Ruth Calder, so that’ll be really interesting.”

Ashley’s character Ruth has been described as a native Shetlander who returns to the islands after 20 years of working for London’s Metropolitan Police Force. 

It has also been revealed she will be working closely with fan-favourite Alison McIntosh, who is better known by her nickname Tosh. 

Will Tosh instantly warm to Ruth or will there be friction between the pair? 

Tosh and Jimmy were thick as thieves so it is hard to tell how she will take to a new boss. 

Ashley also opened up on a conversation she had with her predecessor Douglas who was the show’s leading actor for seven seasons. 

“I’m very excited,” she exclaimed. “I’ve just met Dougie and I’ve had a conversation with him and he’s told me the best fish and chip shop on Shetland. So, that’s exciting.”

When Ashley was announced as Douglas’ replacement she 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 told This Morning viewers: “It’s big boots to jump into, it’s such a well-loved show and such a well-loved character that it’s a privilege.”

Filming for the next series will start on the Shetland Isles and across Scotland this spring. 

Kate Bartlett, the show’s producer, 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 [writer] Paul Logue’s compelling new version. 

“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to make another series with such incredible Scottish talent.”

Douglas confirmed why he wanted to leave Shetland last year, telling ITV viewers he felt his “story was coming to a natural end”. 

During his final series, viewers saw the detective help free Lloyd Anderson (Patrick Robinson) who had been wrongly imprisoned before reuniting with his love interest Meg Pattison (Lucianne McEvoy).

Shetland episodes are available to stream on BBC iPlayer. 

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