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Shetland’s Tosh star speaks out on ‘gamble’ of replacing Douglas Henshall as she addresses fan reaction


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Shetland’s long-serving fan-favourite Alison O’Donnell has addressed the nerves of continuing the show without its former front-man Douglas Henshall for the first time.

For seven action-packed seasons, Henshall was very much the face of Shetland with O’Donnell’s Tosh serving as his character DI Jimmy Perez’s understudy and righthand woman.

But in season eight, all of that has changed following Henshall’s decision to say goodbye to the character of Perez after nine years on the programme.

Instead of Perez and Tosh leading the way, it will be left to newcomer, Met Police DI Ruth Calder – played by After Life’s Ashley Jensen – to front the drama.

A Shetland native, Calder returns to the island after decades away as she tracks down a vulnerable witness on the run from the capital.

After spending seven seasons witnessing the rapport between Perez and Tosh build, there is some scepticism among fans of the BBC series that Shetland will be able to maintain its grip on viewers.

Alison O'Donnell and Ashley Jensen

Alison O’Donnell and Ashley Jensen will lead the way in Shetland season eight


And that uncertainty is replicated by O’Donnell who has admitted to harbouring anxiety about how the Shetland fanbase will react to new episodes without Henshall at the helm.

O’Donnell recalled how she and her cast mates attended a screening of the season eight premiere this past weekend and how the nerves began to set in.

“I’d seen it myself already, thank goodness,” she said. “I wasn’t watching my own performance for the first time in front of all of those people, but I was so, so desperate for them all to like it.

“Afterwards, I was going round to everybody going, ‘What did you think? Do you like it? Please tell me you like.’ Because especially with this one, it’s a risk, it’s a gamble,” she added to

“And I just really hope that people will come on that journey with us,” O’Donnell pleaded.

O’Donnell isn’t the only Shetland star to address Henshall’s exit, with new leading star Jensen also speaking out this week about the backlash she’s witnessed before stepping into his shoes.

She told the Radio Times magazine: “I love working with Alison and bringing in my character shines a light on Tosh, so we see a different side to her.

“Of course, there will be people who miss Dougie because he was great, but with new directors and a new lead writer, Shetland has kept everything that’s wonderful about it but it’s somehow amplified.”

Douglas Henshall

Douglas Henshall left Shetland after seven seasons


Henshall himself has moved on to pastures new, recently starring in the Netflix drama, Who Is Erin Carter?

But since leaving the BBC drama, Henshall has claimed he’s finding the chance to be picky about job opportunities a rarity now he’s a “57-year-old white man”.

Despite that, according to IMDb, Henshall has plenty in the pipeline, with a new project titled One of Us currently in post-production.

He’ll star alongside Heartstopper breakthrough Kit Connor in the upcoming film while he’s also billed to star in the TV movie Murder is Easy alongside Mark Bonnar in the near-future.

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Written by: radioroxi

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