British and Swedish Wallander Series 3 in production with Yellow Bird

Many thanks to Lynda for drawing my attention to the following:

Michael Pickard at reports that Swedish production company Yellow Bird is busy with both the third series of the Swedish Wallander, starring Krister Henriksson, and the third series of the British Wallander, with Kenneth Branagh in the title role.

Production for the British version is due to complete in 2012 (3 x 90 minute episodes) and for the Swedish version in 2013 (6 x 90 minute episodes). It will be the final Swedish series, which I’m guessing means that they will close with The Troubled Man.

19 June 2012: an update on Branagh’s Wallander is available in this new post.

A picture of Branagh’s Wallander…for a change


BBC4 starts repeat of Forbrydelsen / The Killing on Sunday 21 August 2011

For those of you who have yet to see Forbrydelsen, the original Danish production of The Killing, your moment has come! 

BBC4 starts repeating the series this Sunday at 10 o’clock. There are five two-hour episodes being shown per week (20 episodes in all), which promises to be a pretty intensive viewing experience, but if you haven’t yet sampled this superlative crime drama, I very much recommend that you do. It’s even quite a tempting prospect for those of us who caught the series the first time round…  

You can read my review of the first episodes here.

An added bonus: Sunday’s showing of The Killing is preceded at 9.00 by a repeat of Timeshift’s Nordic Noir – The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction.

For those of you into Italian crime drama, BBC4 is also repeating an Inspector Montalbano two-parter, Excursion to Tindari. It starts tonight, Saturday at 9pm. And there’s another chance to catch Timeshift’s Italian Noir – The Story of Italian Crime, on Tuesday at 11pm. Molto bene!

The Killing – BBC4 Series 2 Trailer

For some reason, I’m particularly missing the wondrousness that is The Killing at the moment.

BBC4 has thoughtfully supplied a glimpse of autumn’s Series 2 to allieviate my withdrawal symptoms. I never thought I’d be so happy to hear Danish! 

‘It’s good to see you again…’

Note: BBC4 rates the clip as suitable for 16+ only.

Pssst! No word from BBC4 as yet, but there was an article in The Guardian the other day (about jumpers!), which referenced Sarah Lund as a style icon and let slip a start date of mid-November for The Killing 2.



BBC4’s The Killing – BAFTA International Winner 2011

A quick post in celebration of The Killing’s BAFTA win last night.

This low-budget Danish crime drama beat off stiff competition from Mad Men, Glee and Boardwalk Empire to take the International Prize for 2011. There couldn’t have been a more deserving winner in my view: a cracking day for quality Danish and European crime drama.

Lovely footage below of the award and a brief backstage interview with Piv Bernth (producer), Sophie Grabol (Sarah Lund), Soren Svelstrup (writer) and Birger Larsen (lead director).

(If the arrow button doesn’t take you through directly, just click on the ‘Watch on YouTube’ link that appears. Tak!)


For other Mrs. Peabody posts on this programme, click on ‘The Killing’ tag (bottom right-hand side of page). No spoilers 🙂

BBC4’s Wallander – Series 2 with Krister Henriksson

BBC4 has started repeating the second series of Swedish TV’s Wallander (2009-10) on successive Saturdays at 9pm. I managed to catch up with the first episode today, having had a prior engagement with Wales’ finest, The Manic Street Preachers, in Cardiff last night (splendid as ever).

This series has Krister Henriksson in the lead role. As I’ve noted in the past, I’ve always been more partial to Rolf Lassgård’s portrayal of Wallander in the film adaptations of Mankell’s novels between 2004 and 2007. But I’ve decided to give Henriksson a proper go, having realised that I’d only caught odd episodes with him over the years, rather than watching an entire series through from start to finish.

Krister Henriksson

This Saturday’s episode (21 May), entitled ‘The Revenge’  (‘Hämnden’), begins with Wallander celebrating his move to a dream house by the sea. The party is rudely interrupted by an apparent terrorist act, the bombing of Ystad’s power-station, which plunges the town into darkness. The next morning, a man is found murdered in his home, and the rather hungover investigative team is forced to ask: are the two crimes coincidence or could they be in some way linked?

I really enjoyed this opener. Based on an original storyline rather than on one of the Mankell novels, it was well-plotted, well-written and had a few nice spine-tingler moments (keep plenty of spare torches to hand in case of a power cut, everyone). The acting was excellent, and there was promising interplay between Wallander and the rest of the team, especially trainee policewoman Isabell Melin, who challenges Wallander’s rather outdated views on gender. The episode also introduces public prosecutor Katarina Ahlsell, one of those strong female characters of whom Mrs P. is so fond (played by Lena Andre, who also plays Erika Berger in the Swedish film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

While drawing on original material, the episode still feels very Wallander-y. Its tone is very close to that of the books, successfully incorporating social critique into the narrative of the police investigation.

And the rather morose-looking Henriksson as Wallander? Yes, alright, there’s some promise there. I’ll do my best to put Rolf to one side for now and let Henriksson do his stuff.

Episode 1 is repeated this coming Wednesday, and will be available on iplayer for another few days.

Update – 16 July. I’ve just watched the 9th episode in the series, ‘The Angel of Death’. At this point, I find that I’ve grown to appreciate Henriksson’s quieter, steadier depiction of Wallander. But oh dear, what a crazy, melodramatic conclusion this episode had! It knocked down a number of stereotypes, only to replace them with an even larger one when the murderer and his/her motivation was revealed. Tsk!

Update – 16 August I’ve just caught up on the 13th and final episode in the series, ‘Vittnet’ (The Witness), which was very good. The story focused on the trafficking and exploitation of illegal workers, and the difficulties of successfully prosecuting those at the top due to the intimidation of witnesses, as well as members of the police and judicial system (such as Wallander and Katarina). There was a nice dissection of the way that Swedish local government and firms subcontract their business for a reduced price to others, and then turn a blind eye to the horrendous working hours and conditions on their building sites. This probably sounds a bit worthy and dry, but wasn’t, as there was a strong human dimension to the storylines, and a touchingly upbeat ending, which I rather liked, having just read The Troubled Man (review to follow soon).

BBC4 Spiral Season 3: Was I wrong to stop watching?!

In an earlier post I gave my reaction to the first two episodes of the French police procedural series Spiral (Engrenage).

It was a bit mixed: while I enjoyed the charactisation of Laure Berthaud and the urban noir feel, I was somewhat put off by the grisly autopsy scenes.

And although I said at the end of the post I would probably continue watching, I didn’t return the following Saturday (something came up, the hamster needed cleaning out, you know how it is…). And that was that – I never quite managed to catch up.

Now that the series has finished, my question to Spiral-watchers is:

  • Have I make a grave mistake (pardonnez the pun)?
  • Should I give Spiral another go?
  • If you think I should have kept watching, should I start at series 1 and work my way through in order, or just dive in with series 3?

Answers on a postcard please…or by comment below.


BBC4 Spiral Season 3: The Butcher of La Villette

Tonight I caught the first two episodes of the French police procedural series Spiral (Engrenage in the original; literal translation ‘gears’).

My primary reason for watching Spiral was to fill the two-hour viewing gap left by The Killing, but I was also curious about the French series, having heard praise for seasons 1 and 2.  It was a interesting start tonight, and could easily become compelling viewing for me, as this crime drama features yet another strong female investigator, Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust). As in The Killing, the first two episodes also set up a number of complex characters, plotlines and intrigues, and redefine our image of the cities in question by focusing on the gritty underbellies of Copenhagen and Paris (the Little Mermaid and Eiffel Tower are conspicuous by their absence).

I wasn’t as gripped by the opening episodes of Spiral as those of The Killing, but then again, this might be an unfair expectation, especially as I’m coming in cold to season 3, and don’t have the in-depth knowledge of the investigative team that has been built up over previous two seasons.

One aspect I really didn’t like, however, was the graphic nature of the autopsy scenes. While a key focus of the series is forensic policework, I’m not convinced it was necessary to provide so much stomach-churning visual detail. And a side-effect of covering my eyes during those scenes was that I was unable to read the subtitles, thus no doubt missing vital clues!

So a slightly mixed experience for this viewer. But I reckon I’ll be back for another two episodes next week. Those who are intending to watch the whole series (10 parts) will be interested to know that The Guardian is blogging Spiral 3 episode by episode. A splendid public service. Merci!

The end of BBC4’s The Killing: crime drama at its very best

Mrs Peabody’s review of the first two episodes is available here.

So BBC4’s The Killing has finished. Twenty hours of superb crime drama, which had 500,000 of us gripped for two hours every single week, aired its last two episodes last night.

The Killing maintained its suspense and quality in a quite remarkable fashion over each of its 20 episodes. In Sarah Lund, it gave us a gritty, obsessive and sometimes flawed investigator, who won our hearts with her single-minded determination and her jumpers. And last night, it delivered a nail-biting and utterly gripping denouement that was Shakespearian in its tragedy and pathos. We ended, with perfect circularity, in the woods where we started Nanna’s story – one last, lovely touch. 

In line with the policy of Mrs. Peabody Investigates, no spoilers are given here. But if you would like to know whodunnit and to read some cogent analysis of the last two epiosodes, the place to go is Vicky Frost’s excellent blog at The Guardian. I might add that my guess at the murderer was completely wrong (and many others on Twitter had smugly got it right). At some point, I’ll be watching the whole 20 episodes again in the knowledge of who committed the murder – which I’m sure will be an equally rewarding viewing experience.

Lund and Meyer, we’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know. Already looking forward to Series 2 later this year.

31 March: Lund makes the cover of G2! Full article available here.

An odd case of Zen-o-phobia as BBC decides not to recommission TV series

I’ve just seen a post on the It’s a Crime (or a Mystery) blog reporting that the BBC has decided not to recommission the Aurelio Zen TV series. This really does seem to be a short-sighted move given its evident popularity. It seemed to grow on people over time as well – a slow burner that had the potential to turn into something significantly bigger. There’s still a chance that another channel will want to pick it up, but what a missed opportunity for the BBC, which has been showing such excellent taste lately with The Killing.  

How could anyone not want to recommission this stylish police investigator?!

For further details and links, see the post on It’s a Crime (or a Mystery). Lots of comments are being left there to encourage the BBC to reconsider. Do add your own if you feel moved to do so.

BBC4 buys second series of The Killing / Forbrydelsen

Excellent news for fans of The Killing: it’s been confirmed today that BBC4 has bought the rights to the second series (10 episodes) and that it will air later this year.

‘The Killing is the most intensely thrilling televison drama experience in British broadcasting of the moment and I’m delighted that series two will be on BBC Four. It is a diamond of a series – complex, dramatic, thoroughly gripping. It never loses sight of its truly brilliant insight: the humanity and the emotion that goes on behind a police investigation into a brutal and sordid murder. At its heart, this is The Killing‘s genius – to truly portray the human cost of tragedy. And it is to the BBC’s acquisition department that real credit lies for the clever discretionary spot-and-pick-up of a gem of a series’ – Richard Klein, controller of BBC4.

For full details, see Neil Midgley’s article in The Telegraph