Shetland Noir - 2nd Crime Series

by Alastair Hamilton -

Murder mystery fans can look forward to the second series of Shetland, based on Ann Cleeves" books, which begins its six-part run on BBC One on Tuesday 11 March at 9pm.

The new series is based on Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning, each book presented in a two-part adaptation. Douglas Henshall returns as Detective Jimmy Perez alongside Steven Robertson as Sandy and Alison O'Donnell as Tosh. Joining the core cast as a new character is Julie Graham, who plays straight-talking procurator fiscal Rhona Kelly. This second series also features guest appearances from Brian Cox, Alex Norton, Nina Sosanya, David Hayman, John Lynch and Bill Paterson, among others.

In the first tale, adapted from Raven Black, old wounds are painfully reopened as DI Jimmy Perez and his team explore an earlier crime to solve the present-day murder of a young teenage girl. In episodes 3 and 4, based on Dead Water, a journalist is killed in an apparent road accident; but is the death connected with opposition to a gas pipeline? When another brutal murder shocks the islands, secrets and lies unravel.

The concluding episodes, based on Blue Lightning, see Perez return to his childhood home, Fair Isle, after the murder of a scientist. Tensions run high as a storm forces Perez to work in isolation, compelling all of the suspects to remain together under one roof.

The series has been made for the BBC by ITV Studios and Elaine Collins, Executive Producer, says she's delighted to see Shetland return. “Doing a second series has given us the opportunity to build on the pilot episodes and to explore the characters and islands in more depth. The sense of place is important to us in the show and we've focused even more on the uniqueness and isolation of Shetland, including travelling to Fair Isle to film - an island with a population of only around 65 people.

There are interviews with some of the actors at the BBC media centre website.

Ann Cleeves says that fans of the books will find that the television adaptations hold some surprises. "The TV adaptations are very often very different from the books - the scriptwriters cut some characters and add others, cut big chunks of plot and sometimes they even change the murderer! But I'm very relaxed about that. Prose and film are different forms. Besides, the book stops being mine every time someone reads it. Each reader brings their own imagination, history and prejudice to the story and each writer has to learn to let go. Adaptation just takes the process a bit further."

Much of the filming for the second series of Shetland took place in the islands but some scenes were filmed in locations across Scotland. Although the first series attracted mixed reviews, it was followed with great interest and local people are keen to see how the three new stories will play out on screen.

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