AN abandoned social work building in Barrhead doubled up as a cop shop in SHETLAND when a television crew came to town to film a new drama for the BBC.
The team from the Beeb were shooting scenes for Shetland – a two-part thriller that is due to be screened later this year – and temporarily moved into the old East Renfrewshire Council building in Lowndes Street.
The former social work base was seen as the ideal location, as its rabbit-like warren of corridors could easily pass for a police station on the remote Scottish islands.
And among the cast who took part was acclaimed actor Douglas Henshall, who hails from Barrhead and was delighted to be back in his home town.
Douglas, who left home to study acting in London when he was just 18, told the Paisley Daily Express: “It was great to be back there and I enjoyed seeing a few old haunts.
“We were filming just down the street from where my mum worked, so that was nice.”
Shetland producer Sue de Beauvoir, who has also worked on the hit BBC drama Waterloo Road, said the cast and crew were made to feel very welcome during their week of filming in Barrhead.
She added: “It was also a lovely experience for Douglas to return to his home town.
“We were shooting scenes which are supposed to be set in the police station in Shetland and the former social work building in Barrhead was perfect for the role.
“Inside, the building has a unique style which has helped us to capture the identity of our drama.”
The crew did some filming in Irvine, Dalry and Port Glasgow before spending a week in Barrhead.
They are now scheduled to shoot exterior scenes on Shetland, with filming due to finish on Thursday, July 12.
The powerful murder-mystery drama will be set against a stunning Scottish backdrop and centres on Detective Jimmy Perez, played by Douglas.
Perez is a native Shetlander who has returned home after a long spell away.
Recently widowed, he possesses a bone-dry sense of humour and an idealistic desire to protect his beloved islands from inevitable change.
When a young archaeologist discovers a set of human remains, the island community is intrigued to know if it’s an ancient find or a contemporary mystery.
And, when an elderly woman is shot on her land in a tragic accident, Perez and his team find themselves at the centre of two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness has divided the surrounding community.
Executive producer Elaine Collins, of commissioners ITV Studios, said: “We are delighted to be working with the BBC on this production.
“The drama combines eccentric-yet-warm characters and a classic murder-mystery story with the beautiful landscape and rich history of the Shetland Islands and we believe it will be hugely popular with viewers.”
Christopher Aird, head of drama for Scotland and executive producer for the BBC, added: “Shetland has a fantastic combination of writing, acting, directing and production talent.
“It is a hugely-exciting story and part of a project to bring the very best drama to BBC Scotland in the coming years.”
The story was penned by award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves, who is delighted that Douglas has been cast in the lead role.
She said: “Douglas is a fine actor and will make Jimmy Perez incredibly exciting.
“He has such a great voice and will bring a bit of edginess and something quite different to the character.”