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Douglas Henshall hopes ‘they don’t make a mess’ of Shetland after leaving show

Actor Douglas Henshall has discussed BBC One’s Scottish crime drama Shetland continuing after he left the show, saying: “I just hope they don’t make a mess of it.”

Henshall bid farewell to the murder mystery TV favourite after series seven aired earlier this year, following almost a decade spent portraying its protagonist, Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez.

He appeared on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg and discussed the future of the show and whether it can continue to work without Det Insp Perez’s character, as the BBC has confirmed series eight is in the pipeline.

Asked why he left, he said: “To be honest, I thought we’d murdered enough people on a small island.

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Actor Douglas Henshall with Laura Kuenssberg at the Aberdeen Art Gallery (Russell Cheyne/PA)

“I think 10 years is a very big chunk of time.

“I think we’d explored his personal story.

“I think all the ends of those threads were needing to be tied up in some way.”

On whether the show can exist without his character, he added: “Yes, I mean I think there’s — I’m very happy that it’s going on and I hope it does well.

“You know, it means that there’s a lot more work for Scottish actors.

“There’s, you know, more work for a crew, there’s more money coming into the islands.

Shetland
Douglas Henshall with Alison O’Donnell on the set of Shetland (Mark Mainz/BBC/PA)

“You know, so, I just hope they don’t make a mess of it, that’s all.

“I think it’s certainly the right thing for me to go.

“And I wasn’t going to leave.

“(Shetland writer) David Kane and I, after series five, sat down and thought how many more of these can we credibly do?

“We thought that if we’d another two seasons, then we could tie it up and end it well.

“But that was to end the whole show, it wasn’t just to end Jimmy Perez and for him to walk away.

“That was the show that was going to end.

“The BBC have decided that they want to resurrect it and reinvent it to a degree, so it’s not going to be the show that I was in, but it does give them room to do something different.”