Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez in Shetland looks windswept

Douglas Henshall exits BBC’s Shetland, series 8 to introduce new lead

We'll all miss DI Jimmy Perez so much!

Douglas Henshall broke Shetland fans’ hearts when he confirmed he will be departing the BBC drama during series 7.

The DI Jimmy Perez star has been the crime thriller‘s top talent since it began airing back in March 2013.

However, despite Douglas’ exit, Shetland will continue – according to reports an eighth series in 2023 will see a new lead cast.

And there’s plenty more to look forward to from Douglas too, including a crime drama set in Spain…

Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez in Shetland near to a police car
Actor Douglas Henshall is moving on from Shetland (Credit: BBC YouTube)

Why is Douglas Henshall leaving Shetland?

As news of Douglas‘ leaving was announced, he reflected on how playing the role has been ‘one of the privileges of his career’.

The Scottish actor, 56, also explained how he and writer David Kane planned out ‘wrapping up’ Jimmy’s story after series 5.

He also noted he would miss playing the character, as well as the location which provides so much atmosphere to the drama.

Douglas has subsequently indicated quitting was a difficult decision. But he is glad for the show’s sake that it is on the terms of those involved in the production, rather than the show not getting recommissioned.

Read more: Shetland series 7: Douglas Henshall announces he’s quit the BBC drama

According to the Express: “It was preferable to being told that we were not going to do it anymore because it had run its course,” he explained.

Douglas has also apparently suggested he didn’t want the role to be a job where he kept coming back just for a pay day.

“I feel very comfortable with the decision I made,” he reportedly said, adding he likes his character Jimmy “a lot”.

Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez in Shetland looks to the side
DI Jimmy Perez may not feature, but Shetland still has a future without him (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Douglas Henshall’s plans

Speaking with the Radio Times, the dad-of-one made it clear he’s looking to try different things after Shetland.

Douglas highlighted how, after nearly a decade playing Jimmy, he doesn’t “fancy playing a policeman for a while”.

Indeed, he’s relishing the opportunity to taking on parts where the characters might be a little more dubious.

Reflecting on the possibility of playing a villain he said: “That would be fun. I used to get asked to be the baddie lots in the past. I don’t know what the future holds.”

It will be nice to play somebody who isn’t so irredeemably good as Perez!

He also added: “It will be nice to play somebody who isn’t so irredeemably good as Perez!”

Nonetheless, he also expressed how satisfying he found it performing as him.

Douglas continued: “I enjoyed playing Perez and exploring the complications of his life. Flawed humans are always the most interesting to play because I feel they are the most truthful.”

Douglas Henshall, Shetland actor, out of character
Douglas Henshall is keen on playing a “baddie” (Credit:

Netflix next?

Going by Douglas’ IMDb page, fans might not have long to wait to catch a glimpse of him in a new role.

It is believed he is currently filming for Palomino, an action-adventure thriller set in Spain, in Barcelona.

And the word is the series – thought to consist of two episodes, at least – could very well stream on Netflix.

The online film resource suggests Douglas plays a character called Daniel Long.

And while his other billed fellow cast members may not be household favourites like him, actor Sean Teale will be familiar to fans of Mr Selfridge and Skins.

Otherwise, Palomino also stars Charlotte Vega, Evin Ahmad and Ana Ularu.

Intriguingly, Jack Lothian is among the executive producers. He has formerly written episodes for Doc Martin and Strike Back.

The plot concerns a British teacher in Spain who is caught up in a supermarket robbery.

A tease about the series reads: “In Palomino, a town of secrets, Erin Collantes fights to clear her name and protect her family… But is she really who she claims to be?”

Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez in Shetland looks aghast
Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez in Shetland looks aghast (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Douglas Henshall on stage?

Additionally, theatre fans will no doubt highly anticipate any stage endeavours Douglas might take on.

Read more: Shetland viewers’ fears for beloved actor as he is replaced this series

He had a hugely impressive theatrical CV before Shetland. As well as treading the boards with Glasgow’s celebrated 7:84 theatre company, he has also commanded notable roles ar London’s Donmar Warehouse and Young Vic theatres.

And no doubt his fans will flock to see him perform live whenever they can.

Shetland series 7 begins on Wednesday August 10 on BBC One.

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer