Douglas Henshall: Shetland DI Jimmy Perez actor reveals why his exit from the BBC drama was a ‘little anticlimactic’ though it left co-star ‘bereft’

Douglas Henshall's Shetland experience is almost over and he believes it would be a 'whole other show' when it continues without him...

Douglas Henshall Shetland actor in season 7
(Image credit: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Mark Mainz)

The end of Douglas Henshall’s Shetland journey is fast approaching and the BBC drama’s lead star has revealed why his exit was somewhat “anticlimactic”. 

For some long-time fans Douglas Henshall *is* Shetland and his character, DI Jimmy Perez, has certainly been the emotional anchor for the show since it started in 2013. From the early seasons we’ve watched as he came to terms with Duncan - the father of his stepdaughter Cassie - being a part of their lives, discovering his love interest Alice was a running a trafficking ring and processing his mother’s death. 

The list of trials and tribulations Jimmy has gone through is extensive and if you’re in need of a Shetland season 6 recap, he also faced possible prison time in the season 6 finale.  Now as Shetland season 7 prepares to premiere on August 10th, Douglas Henshall’s time on Shetland journey is at its end. 

Very sadly, it was confirmed last month that the new series would be his last and Douglas has recently revealed why his exit from Shetland was a little “anticlimactic”...

Opening up to Radio Times magazine ahead of Shetland season 7, he divulged that his final scenes were filmed in a car park on the mainland - thanks to Covid. 

"My last scenes were filmed in a car park in Kilmacolm which was very odd,” he explained to the publication. “We’d tried to wrap three times but, because of COVID, it kept being put back. So it felt a little anticlimactic in the end."

And whilst Douglas Henshall’s Shetland experience was rounded off with “a few words of thanks to everyone who was there”, though he said it was “impossible to encapsulate 10 years of work.”

"Shetland has meant a lot to me and it’s going to take some time to sink in that I’ve left the show,” the actor shared.

DI Jimmy Perez (DOUGLAS HENSHALL);DC Sandy Wilson (STEVEN ROBERTSON);DS Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh (ALISON O’DONNELL) in Shetland

(Image credit: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Mark Mainz)

Though Shetland is losing DI Perez as its primary character, an 8th season has been confirmed. Discussing the future of the BBC drama, Douglas expressed his belief to Radio Times magazine that it would have to be a “whole other show”. 

He explained, “It will be weird knowing they’re shooting an eighth series and I’m not there. But I’m not sure what the show is going to be. I hope it works out and I wish them every success, but it isn’t going to be the show I was in. They will have to make a whole other show."

The absence of Douglas Henshall in Shetland will also be keenly felt by his fellow cast members as well as fans. His co-star Alison O’Donnell (DS Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh) confessed to Radio Times that she was “bereft” to lose Douglas from the show. 

DI Jimmy Perez (DOUGLAS HENSHALL);DS Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh (ALISON O’DONNELL) in Shetland

(Image credit: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Mark Mainz)

"I am honestly bereft," Alison admitted. "Having the privilege of working so closely with Dougie for all these years was an insane luxury. I'm trying to be grateful for everything we experienced together rather than focussing on the obvious sadness. I'm also incredibly proud of what we achieved together, and I know he is too."

Whilst Steven Robertson (DC Sandy Wilson) remarked upon how you have to “respect any actor’s decision” when they feel ready to “move on” from a project. 

“As actors, we do what we do, you hope it’s well received by the audience and if you’ve done enough, you move on,” he said. “The show is something we’ve all worked very hard on and Dougie must be proud of his characterisation of Perez.”

DI Jimmy Perez played by Douglas Henshall

(Image credit: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Mark Mainz)

The return of the show will no doubt be very bittersweet for Jimmy fans who know Douglas Henshall’s final Shetland outing. Though that won’t stop us from looking forward to every minute of Shetland season 7 as we anticipate his final scenes…  

Shetland season 7 starts on BBC One at 9pm on August 10th 2022.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.