Monday, December 08, 2008


I am still trying to cut down my 'long list' of books to a top five of the year. They will a very personal list of the crime books I have enjoyed reading most during the year, and at the moment the task seems impossible as there were just too many great books.

But I am being distracted by the veritable cornucopia of crime fiction series on BBC TV.
On my recorder waiting to be enjoyed there are French episodes of Simenon's Maigret [see Euro Crime here], a Who is Kurt Wallander? BBC 4 documentary ,which Crimeficreader posted about here, and the three part BBC 1 Kenneth Branagh, Wallander series, which you can read about at Petrona

There is also Before The Frost [information from Euro Crime] starring Krister Henriksson as Wallander and the late Johanna Sallstrom as his daughter Linda.
Perhaps someone at the BBC has discovered that series from French and Swedish TV can fill up the schedules more cheaply than making British TV crime series.
And before I could even finish this post Karen at Euro Crime, the reference point for anyone interested in European crime fiction, has informed us that Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano  will be coming to BBC 4 see here. The central photo is of Montalbano and Fazio.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The documentary on Henkell/Wallander is superb, but don't overlook the Swedish screen version of the book that followed after. In my mind, this was far more engaging and compelling than the first in the series in the UK. A big "sorry" to KB, but his acting was more of a draw than the character he depicted.

Please don't miss all the stuff on BBC4 as it's great. It's also a great intro to the character of Wallander, if not already familiar.

The bit that gets me the most irritated for the UK series is that setting is there in landscape, homes, urban areas, the police office, decor - BUT NOT IN DIALOGUE. Various UK regional accents and the inability to do a Swedish accent almost ruins this for me. The first epi was a great rub in this respect, and I hope the second, which I am about to see, is better in this regard, although I suspect not, seeing the trailers.

In my mind, when setting is key, the setting has to be paramount. When it is not, it jangles many keys.

After seeing that documentary, it's also possible to be resentful that KB - executive producer and leading actor - cannot pronounce the name of his protag correctly. But I am prepared to let him off as he loved the books and brought them to screen and now making me wish that I had read Mankell before now.

I am looking forward to reading the books as, for once, my TV-book-never-the-twain-shall-meet predicament has met with something that spears through any previous prejudices and comfort zones. Oh what a fright and oh what an excitement!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I have watched the first in the Maigret programs with Bruno Cremer and after early difficulties enjoyed it immensely. I had identified Maigret so much with first Rupert Davies and then Michael Gambon that I found it very hard to accept such a heavyweight slow moving Maigret. But the production and setting was so evocative of the 1950s and Paris that I got into the program after a while. The low key very static Maigret is probably accurate to character in the books. It helped that the supporting cast were excellent.

I have not read all the Mankells, two of the three books in the TV series and two others, but I intend to have a mass Swedish read in the New Year and catch up with all those authors that I have missed, there are a lot.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

I'll be very interested to see which 5 oyu pick Norman. I don't think I oculd have less than 10!

1:11 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I'm out of the UK for the holidays and only saw the first Branagh episode before I left, so I'll have to wait for the DVDs/repeats to comment fully.

Apparently it was a conscious choice to mispronounce Wallander. I don't think the disjunction between spelling and pronunciation is that prominent - or irritating - but it's hardly unusual for television to underestimate its viewers!

Regarding the accents, I don't mind that everyone sounds British in a British-produced show. To me, it actually makes more sense that way - the characters would normally speak Swedish, not Swedish-inflected English, so I don't really see the need for everyone to sound faux-Nordic.

I have all the Henriksson/Sallstrom episodes on DVD, and find them very enjoyable as stories in their own right, though they're somewhat distanced from Mankell's original. (However, he did approve the series.)

I've likewise seen all the Montalbanos (both series screened on SBS in Australia) and they are definitely worth watching. Luca Zingaretti is magnificent as Montalbano, even if he doesn't quite look as I'd imagined.

Next up is to watch the DVDs of the German Donna Leon adaption that a friend lent me. (I'm struggling to imagine Brunetti speaking German though.)

2:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen a recent Donna Leon adaptation on Ard.
Wasn't bad,but Italian names and words (like Guido or Signore) were pronounced according to German phonetics,which I found a bit annoying.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

I'm not sure what Laura means about mispronunciation of Wallander. I have a tendency to say Wallender because I've seen that as an english name, but the Swedish tv series also seemed to give equal emphasis to the first 2 syllables which doesn't come easily to the english speaking tongue

12:30 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I have not got round to watching any of these Wallanders yet and my recorder is filling up. I hope to view them next week.
The other night I was stunned to see my cousin's daughter on Newsnight commenting on the Greek riots, she is a real expert with a PhD in international crime!

1:46 AM  

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