Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Is Unmoved by Wallander and Thrilled by an Explosive Cumberbatch in the Hollow Crown

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Is Unmoved by Wallander and Thrilled by an Explosive Cumberbatch in the Hollow Crown

Article excerpt

KENNETH Branagh's Wallander (BBC iPlayer) is a test for the Scandi-noir aficionado. Even the way he mispronounces the name to rhyme with "colander" is a challenge. That's before you confront the peculiarities of watching a British production with English manners playing a Swedish story under Scandinavian skies.

Does it matter? Not much. Branagh's Wallander will have been seen here by many more viewers than the Swedish original, which was bleaker and more intense, though that could just have been the subtitles talking. Still, there is something strange about the way Branagh approaches the insular detective. He seems disconnected, though not in a dramatic way. It's like he's aiming for alienation and alights instead at not bothered.

Adding further to the sense of dislocation, this week's Wallander mystery took place in South Africa, where the glum, blank detective had gone to make a speech about his 40 years of semi-miserable police work.

The words weren't coming. The conference was boring. So the rumpled silvery cop went for a run (people always go for a run in TV murder mysteries) and blundered into an investigation into the disappearance of a Swedish woman, whose husband mad Trevor from EastEnders had a bump on his noggin.

Mad Trevor was so obviously shady that he clearly had nothing to do with the crime, which turned out to be a convoluted affair involving a political assassination and Hitchcock-like climb up a water tower, but not before Wallander had acquired a glamorous local sidekick and embarked on an illadvised jaunt into a shanty town. The gratuitous tourism was beautiful but the interior landscapes were lost in translation.

And so to Shakespeare. The Hollow Crown (BBC iPlayer) is like Game of Thrones without the sex, the dwarves and the dragons. That left Benedict Cumberbatch's Richard III approaching his discontented winter with a George Osborne haircut, a limp and a computergenerated hump. …

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