SCOTS actor Douglas Henshall will make his final appearance in the BBC’s murder mystery drama Shetland as the award-winning show returns for a seventh series.

The Glasgow-born actor debuted the role of DI Jimmy Perez on BBC One in 2013 in the first TV adaptation of the award-winning novels by crime writer Ann Cleeves.

After nine years in the role, Henshall has made the decision to depart Shetland at the end of its seventh series, which begins this August, to explore other acting opportunities.

The crime drama, which also features Scots actors Alison O’Donnell and Mark Bonnar, will return for an eighth series in 2023, with a new lead and further casting to be announced in due course, the BBC confirmed.

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Speaking about his departure from the programme, Henshall said he will miss DI Perez and Shetland.

“It’s been one of the privileges of my career to play Jimmy Perez for almost 10 years and to work with so many wonderful people both in front of and behind the camera, and also to spend so much time in Shetland,” he said.

“The isles were so much a part of our show and of Perez himself. I’ll miss him and the place. I wish everyone involved much luck with whatever happens next.”

Gaynor Holmes, executive producer for BBC Drama, said: “It has been an absolute privilege to work on Shetland over the past few years and watch the show go from strength to strength – in no small part thanks to Douglas’s sensitive, intelligent and memorable portrayal of DI Jimmy Perez.

“We will miss him enormously but he leaves the show in rude health and we’re extremely excited about the plans we have for bringing more of this much-loved drama to audiences far and wide.”

Kate Bartlett, creative director at Silverprint Pictures, which produced the drama, added: “It has been amazing to have the opportunity to complete the story of Jimmy Perez and Douglas Henshall is outstanding in the role.

“We had an incredible Scottish cast and crew and David Kane has created a distinctive and emotionally complex story that unfolds against the stunning, evocative landscapes of Shetland.

“I’m very proud of this series and excited for the new series to come.”

Henshall’s last role as DI Perez features in a thrilling new six-part series of Shetland which sees the team investigate the mysterious disappearance of a vulnerable young man.

The investigation draws Perez into the secret past of a family new to Shetland, revealing an “unimaginable threat to the community".

Series 8 of Shetland will start filming from Spring 2023 in locations on the Shetland Isles and across Scotland.

Casting for the new series will be announced in the coming months, the BBC confirmed.