Shetland fans rage at 'load of rubbish' as BBC series accused of going 'downhill' after Douglas Henshall exit

Shetland fans rage at 'load of rubbish' as BBC series accused of going 'downhill' after Douglas Henshall exit

WATCH NOW: The BBC release trailer for Shetland season 8

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 16/11/2023

- 10:55

The third episode of Shetland's eighth series debuted on Wednesday night

Shetland fans have spoken out in their droves about the current series' "confusing" and "fragmented" plot after Ashley Jensen's DI Ruth Calder arrived on the island.

After taking over from Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, fans were divided by the casting of Jensen before the series had even begun - with some calling for his return prior to the season eight premiere.

However, diehard Shetland fans have stuck with the new-look series as Ruth Calder continues to team up with fan-favourite Tosh (Alison O'Donnell) to try and solve a new murder case - this time the victim being Ellen Quinn (Maisie Norma Seaton).

While BBC bosses have tried to stay true to the style and storylines that made Shetland such a success, the latest episode appears to have veered too far from viewers' expectations.

In Wednesday's third episode of the series, Ruth and Tosh scrambled to pinpoint Tom (Dylan Blore) as the man responsible for Ellen's death - but their job was made harder when her body was stolen.

However, a new suspect emerged in the form of Shetland native Peter (Sandy Grierson) who, once tracked down by Tosh and Ruth, was confirmed as the man who'd stolen Ellen's body in order to perform an ominous ritual.

Ashley Jensen

Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder in Shetland


Luckily, Tosh and Ruth managed to salvage the body before Peter could burn the corpse to ashes, teeing up what should be a tantalising fourth episode of the series.

But this doesn't seem to be the case for some viewers who've accused the series of becoming too confusing and even "rubbish" thanks to its new-look cast and convoluted plot.

"What a load of rubbish Shetland has become. #Shetland," one viewer fumed on X after Wednesday's episode while a second echoed: "Honestly, far too much going on. It's totally obvious Anne Cleves didn't write it. #shetland."

Meanwhile, a third took a pop at Jensen's previous detective comedy-drama as they tweeted: "Way too many side stories in this season's #Shetland bbc it's gotten silly now. It's not Agatha Raisin ya know it's Shetland."

Another fumed: "The current episode of #Shetland shows how much it’s gone down hill since Perez left!!! What is going on @BBC???"

While a fifth weighed in: "Any one got a Scoobie what’s going on or the link to all the fragmented storylines? #Shetland."

However, amid the uproar caused by the third episode's drama, there was still some support for the gritty detective series.

"Disagree," one X user replied to a disgruntled fan. "Different without Perez but still very watchable."

Ruth and Tosh

Ruth and Tosh did their best to solve Ellen's murder in episode 3


A second agreed: "#Shetland on BBC1, Ashley Jenson's DI Caulder has been a great addition after @djhenshall DI Perez exit. Shows got a great future after the change."

And a third applauded the new storylines: "Loving the weirdness of the storylines and the relationship between Tosh and Ruth is great. @AtotheOD and Ashley Jensen leading a brilliant cast and ooh Lorraine McIntosh is going to be a mean one! #Shetland." (sic)

Despite the mixed bag of critique the show has received so far, it's a reception a number of its leading stars expected.

Before the new series of Shetland even began, Jensen addressed the backlash she'd seen in the wake of Henshall's departure.

And O'Donnell herself admitted the decision to replace DI Jimmy Perez was a "gamble" given fans' fondness for the character.

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