BBC Shetland faces boycott threats and calls for Douglas Henshall return over divisive finale: 'I'm out!'

Ashley Jensen

Ashley Jensen's debut Shetland season has come to a close

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 07/12/2023

- 14:53

The final episode of season eight aired on Wednesday

Several Shetland fans have hinted they will stop watching the gritty BBC drama following Wednesday's dramatic season eight finale.

After six episodes of watching Ashley Jensen's DI Ruth Calder and Alison O'Donnell's Tosh try and get to the bottom of newcomer Ellen's murder, fans finally got answers - of sorts - in the finale.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Shetland season eight.

Shetland fans watched on in horror as it was revealed that Ellen had been killed by her father Kieran following the twist that Kieran wasn't actually biologically her dad.

Instead, it was her uncle Bobby who was her real dad and in a fit of rage, Kieran strangled Ellen with Ruth and Tosh getting to the bottom of the mystery.

Elsewhere, Ruth discovered the truth about the circumstances that led to Cal's - played by Game of Thrones star Jamie Sives - demise.

It transpired Cal's death was an accident as he was twice over the drink-driving limit during the crash that killed him, putting to bed any theories that he was run off the road or that his demise was intentional.

Alison O'Donnell

Alison O'Donnell as Tosh in Shetland


However, while the finale finally provided these answers after six hour-long instalments, a number of fans were left scratching their heads at several other "red herrings" and "loose ends" the BBC show threw up during its run.

Relaying their disappointment, one X, formerly Twitter, user fumed: "So basically everything we saw was a big fat red herring. So many loose ends. #Shetland."

"I thought Shetland started off really well. I lost interest by the end of the last two episodes," a second sympathised but admitted they wanted Perez back: "I did think Ruth was a good addition to the show. She worked well with Tosh. If there is a series 9, bring back Perez and Duncan. Perez and Ruth would be brilliant. #Shetland."

A third hit out at the pace of the show as they penned: "I’ll never understand why they run #Shetland SO SLOOOWLY over six long weeks when they could wrap it up in, say, back to back 90/120 minute episodes. At least that way viewers would care (or even remember) about what happened a month and a half ago. Even the cast looked bored."

And a fourth echoed: "#Shetland - Far too much going on, less would've been more- too many characters and subplots - by the time it ended I'd forgotten all about the missing money or that the minister ever had a wife."

Some even went as far as to suggest they won't be watching the series anymore, as a fifth weighed in: "@BBCScotland Why does #Shetland have to be so convoluted and difficult to follow. Won’t be watching next series."

"I used to love #Shetland. It was one of my favourite programmes. Now I can take it or leave it. The chemistry has gone, and I miss the previous actors @djhenshall & @mark_bonnar," a sixth mused while another commented: "I thought it was poorly written, badly edited and had a deeply unlikeable lead character. Hung on in just to see how it all wrapped up but if Calder is a permanent edition, I'm out #shetland."

However, amid the disappointed reactions were still plenty of diehard Shetland fans who lauded Jensen's turn as the lead of the series as well as the season eight finale itself.

WATCH NOW: Shetland's season eight trailer 

Following Wednesday's episode, one fan argued: "Wasn’t #Shetland just fab?! Really excellent plot and pace - and the new team was brilliant. Looking forward to the next series already. Bravo to all involved."

A second similarly applauded: "#Shetland what a great series. Loved the dynamic between Tosh and Ruth. Dramatic storyline and can’t wait till the next series."

Elsewhere a third praised: "Thought #Shetland was brilliant. Was wondering what it would be like without Perez .. but Tosh and the gang nailed it. I loved the complicated storyline all the weird sub stories." (sic)

Jensen took over the lead role from Henshall after the actor announced his departure from the BBC last year.

Well aware of the attachment fans had to his character Jimmy Perez, Jensen even addressed the backlash her casting had received prior to stepping into Henshall's shoes.

You may like