I fell a little bit in love with Scotland when I first visited in 2010 and that was further cemented during a number of holidays there in 2016 (read more here, here and here). There was just something about the rugged scenery, stone houses and unique accent that really captured my imagination.
As a result I’ve developed a soft soft for books, movies and shows based in Scotland and my current favourite is Shetland…
I first came across Shetland last year while scrolling through Netflix one gloomy weekend – it’s described as being a ‘crime drama’ and is based on the books of Ann Cleeves. It’s got elements of your typical U.K. murder-mystery type shows – picturesque small town, extraordinarily high murder rate but to me it felt grittier and more real than say your Miss Marple or Midsomer Murders.
It centres on Detective Inspector, Jimmy Perez, and his small team of police looking into grisly deaths on the islands of Shetland, which sit to the north of mainland Scotland, roughly halfway between Norway and the Faroe Islands. The ‘mysteries’ are broadcast over two roughly one hour episodes each in first two seasons and six episodes in series three and four. The longer format, particularly in the latter seasons allows you to get to know the characters better, and in my opinion means there are a few extra twists and turns in the story-line, making you guess and re-guess who the killer might be.
Since watching the series, I’ve since learnt that much of it is actually filmed on the Scottish mainland, not Shetland itself. Despite this, the show’s still full of craggy, windswept coastlines and as a non-native I was easily fooled. As a child I always looked at Shetland on maps wondering what it was like, and now I feel like, visually, I’ve got a much better understanding of this remote part of the world.
I’ve just whizzed through season four on Netflix. The dark and brooding subject matter feels somewhat apt during the current run of cold winter nights. I’ve often been sneaking off to bed early with a chocolate digestive and a cup of tea and watching Shetland under my duvet by the light of my bedside lamp. Season five aired in the U.K. earlier this year – so fingers crossed that’ll be appearing online soon! Season four is also currently available on the ABC iview website as well.
If you’re a fan of the murder-mystery genre and have an appreciation of weather-beaten locales, you might just enjoy Shetland.
Have a wonderful weekend. x
If you’ve got any other Netflix recommendations please let me know!