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Fans of the Scottish mystery series Shetland have no doubt been wondering when we'll be seeing Season 6 on our screens. After all, Season 5 aired on BBC One back in February and March of 2019, and for months, there was no news about whether there would ever be new episodes.
Luckily, all of that changed this week. On Monday, The BBC announced that they were renewing Shetland not just for Season 6, but also Season 7. So – assuming nothing completely insane happens, we're getting at least two more seasons.
Shetland Season 6 Premiere Date
UPDATE: Filming was originally due to begin in March 2020, but it's currently on hold due to the worldwide coronavirus crisis. There's currently no estimate on when they'll be able to proceed, but let's hope everyone involved (including fans!) stays healthy so we can all enjoy more Shetland sometime in the future.
At present, there's no official premiere date for Season 6 of Shetland. What we do know is that seasons six and seven, made by Silverprint Pictures for BBC One, will film in 2020 and 2021 in Shetland and locations around Scotland. With a filming date in 2020, it's reasonable to expect the Season 6 premiere sometime in early 2021.
BBC One and Douglas Henshall recently confirmed that filming for Series 6 of Shetland will begin in March.
Oh did I forget to mention…………..#Shetland We start filming in March.
— Douglas Henshall (@djhenshall) December 2, 2019
What's in Store for Season 6 of Shetland?
Each will feature six hour-long episodes, and Douglas Henshall will be returning as DI Jimmy Perez. Alison O’Donnell (Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh) and Steven Robertson (Sandy Wilson) are also confirmed to return to the show.
Series 6 and 7 will be written and created by David Kane, the writer who oversaw the first series of Shetland and has written on every series since.
Paul Logue (Vera, Death in Paradise) will also write for both seasons, and the producer will be Louise Say (Les Miserables).
No information has been released about the storylines, but we'll be sure to update this when we know more.
Will Series 6 be Based on the Shetland Novels by Ann Cleeves?
The series as a whole is based on the novels Cleeves wrote, but in Series 3, they moved away from self-contained adaptations of the books and started doing longer six-episode storylines that used the same characters and overall feel, but not necessarily storylines from the books. It seems likely that Season 6 will be another original story, but there's certainly nothing to say they *won't* go back and mine the other books for more stories.
You can view all the books below:
- Raven Black (Series 2, Episodes 1 & 2)
- White Nights
- Red Bones (Series 1)
- Blue Lightning (Series 2, Episodes 5 & 6)
- Dead Water (Series 2, Episodes 3 & 4)
- Thin Air
- Cold Earth
- Wild Fire
Fans of both the TV series and the books will note that there are quite a few differences between the two. While some characters are similar, the adaptation is more about the spirit of the series than a literal transplant from page to screen. Cleeves has commented on this before, saying:
“Television is an art that’s different from prose and once I’ve given my permission for the adaptation, I have to trust the artists involved. They deserve to be allowed the freedom to develop their own creative vision, just as I’ve been allowed to develop mine.”
Wild Fire is Cleeves's final entry in the Shetland series. She's commented a couple of times that she wanted to finish writing about the islands while she still enjoyed it, and before she started repeating herself and boring readers. Though she's expressed a love for the islands she first visited more than 40 years ago while working in the Fair Isle bird observatory, they're fairly limiting as a geographic area. With a bit more than 20,000 people, it gets a bit ridiculous if you have too many murders in too little time. That's a big part of why the show ventured to other areas.
Cleeves has said she plans to continue writing the Vera series, which offers a much more geographically diverse area in which to set stories. She's also created a new series set in North Devon where she grew up. The first book in that series, The Long Call, came out earlier this year.
Where Can I Watch Shetland Season 6?
In the UK, Shetland is a BBC One mystery, so it's highly likely it will appear there in 2021.
In the US, Shetland episodes have been premiering on BritBox, so it would be surprising to see it show up anywhere else. If you want to binge them all again, you can do it there, as they have all the current episodes on offer.
Will You be Tuning in to Watch Shetland Season 6?
Though it's a bit disappointing we'll have to wait so long for new episodes, we're thrilled to know the show will be back. Will you be tuning in when it finally arrives on our screens?