Features

Kenneth Branagh’s Wallander return to BBC-1 for one last time

Wallander Kenneth Branagh

After a long wait, the superb Wallander returns to BBC-1 for three more feature length mysteries. Sir Kenneth Branagh is back in the lead role as the Swedish detective given to dark, brooding self doubt.

The three stories, The White Lioness, A Lesson in Love and The Troubled Man takes us from rural Africa to the heart of cold war politics back in Sweden. Wallander, more than ever, is feeling the passage of time. Is it time for him to think about retirement?

These three stories bring to a close the BBC’s adaptations of Henning Mankell’s Wallander novels.

As to the final episode, Branagh thinks The Troubled Man is the perfect title “Wallander always was troubled. Henning Mankell enjoys his characters being ruminative and meditative. He enjoys them being troubled. He enjoys situation and plot, but mostly he enjoys what’s happening in people’s interior lives, particularly Wallander’s. He believes his audience is interested in that, too.”

Branagh also has keen thoughts on why we enjoy “Nordic Noir” so much. “It’s partly the rich atmosphere of somewhere completely different. In Britain, we tend to be reliant on being quick with words. We try always to come up with an answer and feel embarrassed if we can’t find anything to say. Scandinavians don’t so much. They often just look at you in silence, unembarrassed.”

It’s been 8 years since the first episode of Wallander and the character has changed over that time, as director Benjamin Caron remarked “From when we first met Wallander in the first series eight years ago, the character has changed significantly. Though he still finds it hard to make relationships work, he is now more open with his feelings and slightly less angry. For instance, where previously there was tension between Wallander and his daughter Linda, since becoming a grandfather Wallander has softened and their relationship has become close. There is a sense of the generations moving on and he is letting go of some of the heavy burdens that weighed on him in the past.”

One of the biggest changes we see in Kurt is that he is a now a grandfather. Something which brings a real spark of happiness to his life. Writer Peter Harness explains “I think a big change for him is that he’s become a grandfather and that’s made him very happy. I think it’s mended a lot of things in his relationship with his daughter as well. He has the same kind of relationship with his granddaughter that his dad had with Linda. He feels a lot calmer and he feels as though he’s let go of a lot of the stuff we saw him deal with in the first couple of series. He’s moved on to a calmer and more peaceful place in his life I think”

It’s been a long time to wait for these final three episodes but definitely worth it. Fans of the show in America have already been lucky enough to see the first two episodes (it’s currently airing on PBS). The series begins in the UK on BBC One on Sunday 22 May at 9.00pm