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Downton Abbey star Phyllis Logan joins Shetland cast as production begins

Phyllis Logan, who played Mrs Hughes in the period drama Downton Abbey, has joined the Shetland cast as production begins on the new series. She joins Ashley Jensen, who was recently announced as the new lead actress, and Alison O’Donnell, a series regular.

The impending eighth series of the BBC murder mystery is currently filming in Scotland and the Shetland Islands. The series is based on crime novels by Ann Cleeves. Ashley Jensen fills the void left by DI Jimmy Perez, who was played by Douglas Henshall for seven seasons.

Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Ruth Calder (Jensen) will return to her native Shetland to track down a vulnerable witness to a gangland homicide in series eight. BBC commissioning editor Gaynor Holmes was “delighted” to see the show return with a “superb cast”. She further stated that the new plot would “keep audiences on the edge of their seats.”

She said,

“We are thrilled to see the series embark on this fantastic new chapter, with its unique combination of haunting atmosphere, complex characters and emotional storytelling.”

Logan, 67, from Paisley, appeared in Downton Abbey: A New Era last year and previously played Maggie Smart in The Good Karma Hospital.

She joins several new cast members including Guilt’s Jamie Sives, Granite Harbor’s Dawn Steele and EastEnders’ Don Gilet.

The ensemble will also include Ann Louise Ross and Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh.

Alison O’Donnell (DS Alison “Tosh” McIntosh), Steven Robertson (Sandy), Lewis Howden (Billy) and Anne Kidd (Cora) will also reprise their roles as series regulars.

Kate Bartlett, Executive Producer at Silverprint Pictures, which produces the show, said: “Paul Logue has created a unique and emotionally complex story set in the stunning and evocative landscape of the Shetland Islands.

We are delighted to be producing this new series with such tremendous Scottish talent.

Shetland is one of a growing number of BBC Scottish dramas, including the recently announced adaptation of Shuggie Bain, Guilt, Vigil, Mayflies and Granite Harbour. Shetland will be broadcast internationally by ITV Studios.