Shetland Arts is pleased to note that acclaimed Scots actor Douglas Henshall has been cast as the lead role in Shetland, a new two-part drama set in the Isles for BBC One, adapted from the series of books by award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves.
The powerful murder-mystery is set against the stunning backdrop of our Islands and centres on Detective Jimmy Perez played by Henshall (The Kidnap Diaries, The Silence), a native Shetlander who has returned home after a long spell away.
Recently widowed Perez possesses a bone dry sense of humour and an idealistic desire to protect Shetland from inevitable change, making him a fascinating detective to watch at work.
When a young archaeologist discovers a set of human remains, the Shetland community is intrigued to know if it's an ancient find or a contemporary mystery. And when an elderly woman is shot on her land in a tragic accident, Perez and his team find themselves at the centre of two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness has divided the surrounding community.
Written by David Kane (The Field of Blood, Taggart, Rebus), produced by Sue De Beauvoir (Merlin, Waterloo Road), and directed by Peter Hoare (Vera, Silk, Five Days), Shetland starts filming on location this year and will transmit later in 2012. The two-part drama is Executive Produced by Elaine Collins (Vera) for ITV Studios and Christopher Aird for BBC Scotland (Call The Midwife, Prisoners' Wives). Further casting will be announced in the coming weeks.Gwilym Gibbons, Director of Shetland Arts, said: "Shetland Arts is delighted to see the highly popular Ann Cleeves Shetland novels dramatised for prime time TV. We have always believed that Ann Cleeves' characters, borne out of her deep understanding of our seascapes and landscapes, have the potential for the creation of a high quality TV drama set in Shetland. Shetland also has new facilities like Mareel and local talent and expertise that makes the Isles a very attractive place to set a new TV drama. We are very excited to be working with the Shetland production team."
Douglas Henshall said: "I am very much looking forward to working with David Kane, filming in Scotland and being back on BBC One."
Elaine Collins, Executive Producer, ITV Studios, added: "We are delighted to be working with the BBC on this commission. Shetland combines eccentric yet warm characters and a classic murder mystery story with the beautiful landscape and rich history of the Shetland Islands and we believe it will be hugely popular with viewers."
Christopher Aird, Head of Drama, Scotland and Executive Producer, BBC, said: "Shetland has a fantastic combintation of writing, acting, directing and producing talent. It is a hugely exciting story and part of a project to bring the very best drama to BBC Scotland in the coming years."
Shetland was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning and Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One.
Ann Cleeves' books have been translated into sixteen languages. A bestselling author in Scandinavia and Germany, her novels also sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. In 2006 Ann was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (the world's largest award for crime fiction) for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland quartet.