Tuesday 16 December 2008


I enjoyed the first episode of the BBC’s major new series 'Wallander', watching it belatedly as usual. Kenneth Branagh heads a top-notch cast and I felt he caught the humanity of the Swedish detective very well.

The story chosen to introduce the series was not the first Wallander book that Henning Mankell wrote, but rather his CWA Gold Dagger winning novel Sidetracked. It was also the first Mankell that I read, and a good choice to open with, because of the startling and utterly shocking scene with which the story begins – a young girl walks into a rape field and sets fire to herself. It made a great impression on me when I read the story, and the televised version was equally powerful.

It may be heresy to say so, but in some ways I preferred the tv adaptation to the book. The pace was brisk, but more importantly, the build-up to the revelation of the identity of the culprit was handled more deftly. Wallander’s relationships with his father and daughter were nicely judged and the production values high. I shall certainly be watching more of 'Wallander'.


Roger Cornwell said...

Like you, I have been watching in retrospect, due to my social diary at this time of year and also because Jean is not taken with them. I thought the second, 'Mastermind', better than the first and I have yet to watch the third though I do have it safely recorded despite the best efforts of the BBC overrunning the Sports Personality of the year which preceded it.

Did you see John Harvey's profile of Henning Mankell which was on BBC Four a couple of weeks back? I was very taken with the man, very like the impression I had of him from his books: humane and prepared to do something where it was important to him. I have a couple of the Swedish Wallander adaptations also on the hard disk to be watched as soon as I can make the time. It will be interesting to compare these with the Kenneth Branagh adaptations.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hope it comes here soon.

Jodie Robson said...

Gosh! I'm another belated watcher - in fact, I haven't got round to it yet, and if that's going to be the opening scene I'm glad I read your comment first. I'm going to be hiding behind a cushion for that bit.

I've read one of the Wallander books, which I recall being good, if a bit slow. A brisk pace will certainly suit my Other Half, who thought the pace somewhat glacial.

Martin Edwards said...

Roger, I did see the Harvey profile and will be posting about it soon - also about the second episode. I'd be very interested to know what you think about the Swedish adaptations. I gather at least one was shown here recently, but I managed to miss it.

Martin Edwards said...

Geranium Cat - the pace of the tv shows is definitely brisker than that of the Mankell books I've read, and I agree it's an improvement.

Juliet said...

Just caught up with the third of the series on iPlayer last night. I did thoroughly enjoy them - beautifully paced and filmed, and KB does a fantastic job, I think: he's made his character utterly compelling. I haven't read any of the books, however, so have no idea how faithfully they reproduce the originals.