Sun. Jul 14th, 2024
alert-–-shetland-role-a-‘homecoming’-for-star-ashleyAlert – Shetland role a ‘homecoming’ for star Ashley

She may have spent much of her acting career enjoying the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

But Scotland’s very own Ashley Jensen said her return to star in BBC One’s Shetland felt like a ‘homecoming’.

The Emmy-nominated actress plays the new lead, DI Ruth Calder, in season eight of the crime drama.

The character is a native Shetlander who returns to the isles after 20 years working for the Metropolitan Police.

Ms Jensen has drawn parallels between DI Calder’s story and her own – with her career also taking her away from Scotland.

Ashley Jensen in LA glam, but the star is happy to be home

Leading ladies Ashley Jensen with Alison O’Donnell in the new season of Shetland

Crime drama stars, DI ‘Tosh’ McIntosh played by Alison O’Donnell, left  and DI Ruth Calder played by Ashley Jensen, centre

Ashley Jensen’s interview is in the latest  Radio Times

She told the Radio Times: ‘I came from a small town, Annan, which is reminiscent of Ruth.

‘She definitely wanted to escape from Shetland – and escape from who she was when she was there.

‘It wasn’t quite like that for me, but I always knew that I was a creative person and it was difficult to be creative in a small town in Scotland.’

Ms Jensen’s acting career has taken her around the globe and she has lived and worked as far away as Los Angeles.

She returned to Scotland last year for a role in the BBC One adaptation of Andrew O’Hagan’s novel Mayflies.

The 54-year-old added: ‘For a while, I was conflicted about it, about where I was from. But I think I needed to see more before I could really appreciate Scotland.

‘Then, when I was back, I ran around buying plain loaves, Scotch pies and Tunnock’s teacakes.

‘Now I feel as if I’m settled back with it. I was very happy to be there, with a renewed appreciation for the square sausage.’ Ms Jensen said yes to the part in Shetland after reading just one script and has described her decision to join the programme as a ‘no-brainer’.

This will be her first lead role on a drama series.

The actress got her big break when she starred alongside Ricky Gervais in Extras in 2005. She received two British Comedy Awards and a Bafta nomination for her role in the show.

Ms Jensen then moved to Los Angeles when she was offered a part in the hit US television series Ugly Betty.

The Scot returned to UK screens with roles in shows such as Catastrophe and Agatha Raisin.

She delighted viewers when she reunited with Gervais in 2019 for his Netflix comedy series After Life.

Ms Jensen has taken on the lead role in Shetland following the departure of Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez.

She will star alongside Alison O’Donnell, who plays DI Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh.

The new series will premiere next Wednesday.

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