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Celebrity News

Shetland fans plead for Douglas Henshall return after ‘disappointing’ first episode without Jimmy Perez


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A number of Shetland fans have urged Douglas Henshall to make a shock comeback to the series after the latest season kicked off for the first time without his character, DI Jimmy Perez.

Henshall announced last year that he was leaving the BBC drama after nine years working alongside Alison O’Donnell’s Tosh as he moved on to pastures new.

Season eight kicked off with Ashley Jensen in the leading role as DI Ruth Calder alongside Tosh, a Shetland native who returned to the island after decades of serving in the Met in London.

O’Donnell had previously spoken out about the “nerves” she felt heading into the new series without Henshall as she and the rest of the BBC crew awaited to see viewer reaction.

And now fans have spoken out in their droves and while some have applauded the new-look crime drama, others were quick to demand Henshall returns to restore the on-screen balance they’d been used to for seven seasons.

Much of the reaction to Shetland’s latest premiere was shared on X, formerly Twitter, as viewers flocked to the web with their thoughts.

Ashley Jensen and Alison O'Donnell

Ashley Jensen and Alison O’Donnell starred in the new Shetland episode


“Bring back Perez – please #Shetland,” one X user shared followed by a prayer emoji during the season eight opener, while a second echoed: “Ugh I hate that Douglas Henshall left #Shetland.”

Elsewhere, a third added to the discussion: “#Shetland is back but without the essential @djhenshall. It’s an entirely different show, completely different vibe. No continuity of key characters. No sense of place. Very disappointing.”

Another decided to switch off altogether: “No more low-key hygge McBromance, no more #Shetland for me. Though I will miss the beautiful scenery.”

While a fifth commented of Jensen’s casting: “Just watching #Shetland Why oh why would you cast someone who’s well known as investigator Agatha Raisin (which is still fairly current)? I keep expecting her to crack jokes or make silly comments. I’ll see how it goes cos I love the books.”

Even some of those who enjoyed the new episode still expressed their dismay at no longer seeing Henshall on-screen, with one fan tweeting: “New series of #Shetland started well but it just doesn’t seem the same without you @djhenshall.”

But amongst the calls for Henshall to return were still some BBC viewers who praised the drama’s comeback, even with a new character at the forefront.

“Ye canny beat a bit of #Shetland. Welcome back to our TV screens. Oh how I have missed you… Great cast. Loving Ashley,” one X user argued. “Missing Perez, but it’s just as good as it always is and I’m glad you’re all back.”

Another complimented: “Enjoyed the first episode of #shetland but a different vibe (to be expected) without Perez.”

Douglas Henshall

Douglas Henshall quit Shetland after seven seasons


While a third fan lauded: “Enjoyed watching #Shetland – I do miss Perez but other than that it took a while finding its feet… some of the storyline was a bit clumsy (why wasn’t there a manhunt for the two guys!), etc. – but ended up really enjoying it. Actually, wouldn’t mind visiting! What a landscape!” (sic)

The Shetland cast was vocal prior to the episode’s premiere about the fact fans would miss fan-favourite Perez once the show returned.

Jensen herself addressed the backlash to her replacing Henshall before the episode kicked off, telling Radio Times: “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.”

Henshall has since moved on to a number of new projects, including the recent Netflix drama Who Is Erin Carter?

Discussing his post-Shetland future earlier this year, however, he revealed he can’t afford to be too picky about new job opportunities due to being a “57-year-old white man”.

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Written by: lwrradio

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