Series 3 of Branagh’s Wallander returns to BBC1

Good news for Wallander fans: three new, 90-minute Wallander episodes starring (ahem) Sir Kenneth Branagh begin airing on BBC1 on Sunday 8 July.

An Event in Autumn (based on Mankell’s short story ‘The Grave’)
The Dogs of Riga (the second in the original series of novels)
Before the Frost (the ninth in the series, featuring daughter Linda Wallander)

The episodes are a Left Bank Pictures/Yellowbird/TKBC Production for the BBC.

I’m looking forward to this third series, even though I’ve seen almost all of the Swedish Wallander adaptations already. While obviously not in Swedish (and insisting on a grating, anglicised pronunciation of the detective’s name), these English-language adaptations offer a strong central performance by Branagh (who won a BAFTA for series 2), as well as some stunning cinematography of Swedish landscapes.

None of that formal nonsense: just call me ‘Sir Ken’

As a very interesting article by Vicky Frost in today’s Guardian reveals, Branagh also has a final set of adaptations in mind – The White Lioness (the third in the series) and The Troubled Man (the last novel), the latter probably in two parts. Mind you, I’m not sure Branagh looks worn out or old enough yet to portray Wallander right at the end of his career: he needs to have a few more sleepless nights and age around 20 years!

A BBC trailer for the series is now available. Looks good.

UpdateReview of Episode 1 now posted.

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16 thoughts on “Series 3 of Branagh’s Wallander returns to BBC1

    • You’re welcome, Sarah. Yes, I know what you mean – it’s different enough for viewers to enjoy it on its own terms without lots of comparisons to the Swedish series. If like many, you’ve seen both Swedish versions, with actors who characterise Wallander in quite contrasting ways, then a third Wallander doesn’t seem too much of a stretch…

  1. Well, ok…. Begrudgingly 🙂 I had a mild panic when I saw this message, as I thought it said ‘returns to BBC4…’ That saturday night spot is way too precious!

  2. Thanks for the update. Having seen all three Wallander productions I do feel as if I’ve seen the same story filmed too many times in some cases, but I look forward to these, particularly Before The Frost which I think is my favourite of the novels. Thanks also for the news of the final 3.

    I don’t think the Branagh versions are much like the books but I quite liked them for their artiness and moroseness. I think the weakest parts of them were the depiction of the police colleagues, reduced to boring/irritating stereotypes (particularly the woman officer name beginning with A (bad memory!), who was quite interesting in the first few books before fading out a bit).

    The two Swedish versions had their faults, too, I liked the first Kristoffer series but by the final few episodes the Rapace stardom element meant they had to change the character to write him out of the first series, then they introduced those two very young, handsome boy/girl detectives & the prosecutor who kept Wallander dithering…..which were sort of OK in themselves but definitely not Mankell’s lines of character development.

    • Thanks, Maxine. I haven’t quite got to overload stage, and am looking forward to seeing what they do with The Dogs of Riga, which appears relatively early in the original series of novels. I’ve actually just re-read this as part of a larger exploration into European crime fiction: as you probably remember, it’s set just after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989/90, so I’ll be intrigued to see how they adapt it.

      Yes, at times the Swedish versions did wander! I remember watching a late Krister Henriksson episode which implied that Wallander was in line for a Happy Ending with some incredulity. Shortly after that I read The Troubled Man…

      I haven’t read the short story ‘The Grave’ – so am looking forward to that one in particular.

  3. Great news! I love Branagh and while I can understand while people prefer the Swedish TV version I do think this works very well on its own terms even though I remember a fair amount of jiggery pokery with the novels (especially the adaptation of THE FIFTH WOMAN).

      • Well, what I meant was that they did seem to be bending the plots quite a lot in that one – it almost felt like they were trying to tidy things up in case it turned out to be the final episode. Either way, I like the slow pace, which is so at odds with most crime fiction telly these days.

      • Sorry – I didn’t mean that response to sound flippant!

        I find the subject of adaptation a really interesting one. How faithful should directors be (especially when dealing with such a well-loved author and detective)? Is it OK for them to adapt more loosely if doing so makes for better TV? Perhaps as long as they are faithful to the spirit of the original (see Maxine’s comment and my response above)?

        I do think there is a heavier expectation for directors to be faithful when adapting a series as famous as this, and I will be interested to see, as I commented above, what they do with The Dogs of Riga, set over 20 years ago. The choice of that text begs another question: should the original order of the novels be kept too? If they are not, Wallander’s overarching story risks getting lost. Though such a constraint would arguably limit a director’s ability to re-imagine the novels successfully for the screen…

        It’s a minefield!

  4. Pingback: British and Swedish Wallander Series 3 in production with Yellow Bird | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

  5. Also, next weekend on Saturday 7th July, is Mesrine with Vincent Cassell. Now, I really enjoyed the 2 Mesrine films; as they are based on a true story, as the Americans say, your mileage may vary.

  6. Pingback: Review of Branagh’s Wallander: Episode 1, Series 3: ‘An Event in Autumn’ | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

  7. Very good, but Krister Henriksson is still the only Wallander for me; the first series was just superb. Is there any news of the new production/s?

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