HIT BBC crime drama Shetland is returning for its eighth series, seeing new faces like Ashley Jensen solve various mysteries on the northerly archipelago.

Having first aired in March 2013, the show is based on novels by author Ann Cleeves OBE.

According to the BBC, the show follows the "dark side of one of the most beautiful places on earth" as Douglas Henshall (who has now left), Ashley Jensen and Alison O'Donnell uncover secrets from the past.

With a new series mere hours away, here is everything you need to know before watching it.

When is Shetland returning to the BBC for its eighth series?

Series eight of Shetland begins today (Wednesday, November 1) at 9pm and will air on BBC One.

The programme will also air on BBC Scotland from 10.30pm on Thursday, November 2.

For those wanting to watch the show on-demand, it will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

See the full cast list and new actors joining Shetland

The new series will see the arrival of new faces like Ashley Jensen as Detective Inspector Ruth Calder and Tibu Fortes as Procurator Fiscal Harry Lamont.

Over her long-running career, Jensen has starred in a number of programmes and films such as EastEnders, The Office, Nativity! and many more.

Henshall, who played Detective Inspector Jimmy Pérez, has been replaced on the show after starring in seven seasons.

Here is the main cast for series eight of Shetland:

  • Alison O'Donnell as Alison "Tosh" McIntosh
  • Steven Robertson as Sandy Wilson
  • Mark Bonnar as Duncan Hunter, Cassie's biological father
  • Lewis Howden as Billy McCabe
  • Erin Armstrong as Cassie Pérez, Jimmy's stepdaughter
  • Ashley Jensen as Ruth Calder
  • Tibu Fortes as Harry Lamont

What can viewers expect from series eight of Shetland?

In an interview with the BBC, Jensen said that viewers can "watch this new series of Shetland never having watched any of the others."

She added: "You don’t need to know the back story. Bringing in a new character like Ruth Calder, it shines a light on the established characters like Tosh and Sandy which the fans of Shetland know and love."

Fan favourite Alison O'Donnell says: "This new series is so fresh. The heart of the show remains - the team that we know and love - but everything is shaken up by the arrival of Calder and the crime that comes along with her.

"Calder brings out a different side in all of us, she draws us out of our cosy comfort zones and challenges us to dig deeper. Ashley Jensen is phenomenal in the role."

Series eight of Shetland will air on BBC One from 9pm on Wednesday, November 1, 2023.