I play the character of Tosh in Shetland, or Detective Sergeant Alison McIntosh if we're being proper about it.

She is a young, bright, ambitious employee of the Shetland constabulary who has been promoted beyond her years by DI Perez who sees great potential in her.

DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and DS Alison McIntosh (Alison O'Donnell)

When I got the part I understood that the programme would be based on the books by Ann Cleeves but it all happened very quickly and I didn't have to time to do any reading before we started filming.

When Shetland returned I read all of the books and enjoyed them immensely.

I love crime fiction anyway, my mum is a great lover of Agatha Christie, and she passed this passion on to me.

Although Tosh doesn't appear in the books (the character was created for television) it was extremely useful to understand how atmospheric the books are and how deftly Ann uses the uniqueness of the location to feed the sense of mystery and tension.

My relationship with Douglas Henshall is not dissimilar to the relationship between Perez and Tosh in that he is a very experienced and knowledgeable actor, but this is my first proper television role so he has become something of a mentor.

Raven Black: Perez gets a forensic update on the case from Tosh

He always keeps me right and answers my (probably annoying!) questions and I know I can go to him to talk about anything if I need to.

In real life though, we are also great pals. During filming we spend a lot of time in hotels away from our loved ones so we will tend to hang out together and have great fun.

Every few weeks a new batch of actors will arrive, people come and go, but Dougie is my constant and I don't know where I'd be without him.

In this series we see Tosh progressing in her role as DS. She still makes mistakes and needs Perez to keep her right but I think she is growing in confidence and becoming more adept at handling that level of responsibility.

In Dead Water they attend a wedding as part of their investigation and Tosh gets to glam up a bit which was fun.

Dead Water: Perez and Tosh attend a traditional Shetland wedding but tensions are running high

I love her practical, comfortable clothes but she has a fun side and the make up and costume departments really successfully helped me to show that for the wedding scenes.

My favourite memory from filming was the three days we spent on Fair Isle.

It's a tiny little island 20 minutes from the main island by plane, with only 65 permanent residents.

It's a unique and magical place and the people were so welcoming and hospitable.

Filming can be solitary.

You spend a lot of time waiting around in your trailer on your own but as we were so limited in what we could take there, we all spent our down time together at the bird observatory and ate all our meals together round a big table.

Consequently we all really bonded and got to know each other and it felt like we were sharing a really special, once in a lifetime experience.

Alison O'Donnell plays DS Alison McIntosh in Shetland.

Shetland continues on Tuesday, 1 April at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times please see the episode guide.

More on Shetland

BBC Scotland announces the return of Shetland

BBC Writersroom: Shetland: Author Ann Cleeves on seeing her books adapted for TV

BBC One: Shetland: Interviews with the cast

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by Janette

    on 11 May 2014 22:12

    Love this series - please produce more. The scenery is breathtaking x

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by SCOTSGER

    on 24 Apr 2014 23:15

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 12. Posted by Jampdeg

    on 24 Apr 2014 03:11

    Love Shetland. Haven't read the books, but like the series all the same. Particularly like the sombre atmosphere and the actors are excellent. It doesn't rely on CG effects. It's plot and character driven. I don't have a problem understanding the accents. Next series please BBC.
    P.S. Alison O'Donnell is cute :)

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  • Comment number 11. Posted by bonny

    on 23 Apr 2014 21:42

    Bonny B
    23rd April 2014
    I am watching the 2nd series on I player but have to use subtitles as I cannot understand Tosh. I had the same problem with Waterloo Road. It was the Liverpool accent that time. "The whispering dinner lady and her daughter". Need I say the subtitles were on all the time for Jamaica Inn so as I could understand Joss Merlin.

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by C Fairfield

    on 23 Apr 2014 20:54

    Brilliant and enjoyable series, and Tosh is great! More ! When does Shetland return?

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  • Comment number 9. Posted by anne

    on 17 Apr 2014 15:59

    Well, I said I wondered how they could do Blue Lightning without Fran and now I have an answer: they didn't! It was a great episode, and the acting was terrific, and I know dramas on stage or television or film are never the same as the book, but I can't understand why the story had to be changed so much that it was unrecognisable. If I hadn't read the book I would have said, 'great', but I'd really love to see the story as it was in the book.

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by VivS

    on 15 Apr 2014 22:51

    I've loved the BBC adapation of Shetland and inspired by last year's series am aiming to be there for next year's Up Helly Aa; I just hope we can pay a visit to Fair Isle as well as it looks stunning. I note the comments about Shetland not being true to the books, but TV series rarely are. However I have downloaded the entire Shetland series to my Kindle which I am looking forward to reading over the next few weeks.

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  • Comment number 7. Posted by diiiiiiiinamite

    on 15 Apr 2014 21:09

    This is a classy series with top class actors and the location shots are breathtaking. Well done bbc and I am so looking forward to the next series...

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  • Comment number 6. Posted by Peter Davis

    on 9 Apr 2014 22:43

    The Shetland series has clearly the influence of some of the Scandi noir TV dramas with a great sense of brooding atmosphere and good use of music. However what I find disappointing are the plots that are so far removed from Ann Cleeves' originals as to be completely different stories. In some way that's not a bad thing...the second Wallender series used Henning Mankell's character and built stories around him. However the 'Shetland' series has, it states, been based on specific books and specific stories which they clearly are not if you've ever read them . Better to say that they are based on the Ann Cleeves series and be less specifiic. For example Dead Water featured none of the elements that the book of that title used in its plot so lost its relevance. But let's have another series with stories 'based on the same characters' unless Ann Cleeves can keep up her output and isn't put off by the adaptations of her work!

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  • Comment number 5. Posted by Dorothy

    on 9 Apr 2014 16:03

    Shetland is a good series. The stories lines are really strong. The series has shown what a beautiful Island Shetland is and the Fair Isle. I use to visit Orkney and Islands have a special atmosphere that you do not get on the mainland.

    The acting is brilliant. It also shows acting at it's best.

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