Heads up, UK viewers. BBC iPlayer recently added a new story of an old Swedish favorite and a recently-debuted Scottish series to its streaming offerings: an oldie-but-goody Wallander miniseries starring Rolf Lassgård, and the Scottish drama, Bannan.
Earlier this year, BBC Four premiered the third and final season of the Wallander television series starring Krister Henriksson, but it hadn’t shown one of Rolf Lassgård’s Wallander stories since the summer of 2012. So it was a thrill to see that a “new” one debuted on the channel a few days ago.
The four-part miniseries, “Faceless Killers” (“Mördare Utan Ansikte“), was adapted from the first “Wallander” novel by author Henning Mankell, and it first screened on Swedish TV way back in 1995. So, Lassgård looks pretty young, indeed. He’s still big and brawny, though, and every bit the Swedish detective as he was in the first four Wallander films — he drinks too much, sleeps too little, and has a tough time of it with his elderly, irascible father and distant daughter, Linda. (Pining for his ex-wife to come back doesn’t help.)
The story revolves around the brutal murder of a man and attack on his wife at their remote farmhouse. She provides a one-word clue before dying in hospital, but it can be interpreted in multiple ways. The recently-fed horse could be another clue, but how do the two tie together to point Wallander to who the killer is?
Matters get worse when information is leaked to the press and anti-immigration activists take to the streets. Wallander gets slammed by the media for ignoring them, protecting immigrants, and not doing enough to solve the case of the dead couple, while also being blasted by the head of a local immigrants’ shelter for not protecting his charges after a fire nearly kills them. But Wallander and the rest of the Ystad police team begin uncovering evidence that reveal the victims weren’t the simple farm folk they appeared to be.
Parts 1 and 2 of “Faceless Killers” are available in Swedish with English subtitles on iPlayer now, and the concluding two parts will be after they air on New Year’s Day on BBC Four. Then debuting on 3 January 2015 is the two-part “The Dogs of Riga” (“Hundarna i Riga“), adapted from the second “Wallander” novel and also starring Lassgård.
For a series in Scottish Gaelic with English subtitles, there’s Bannan, which debuted in the UK back in September on BBC Alba, the Scottish-language channel. Translated as The Ties That Bind, the three half-hour episodes follow Màiri MacDonald (Debbie Mackay) as a short visit to her hometown in the Hebrides turns into a longer-than-expected stay, due to the bannan that, like it or not, keep her tethered to the place, its people, and her past.
More at “Bannan: New Gaelic Drama for BBC Alba Could Go Global”
Episode 1 of Bannan is currently streaming on iPlayer. Episodes 2 and 3 screen tonight and tomorrow on BBC Alba, and will be available on iPlayer directly thereafter.
Happy New Year!