The launch date for Walter Presents is set, and Britons will soon have a free, on-demand streaming service dedicated to foreign-language dramas from around the world.
This is exciting stuff. For the first time ever, UK-based fans of international dramas will have a service to call their own: Walter Presents.
Walter Presents is the brand new, video-on-demand (VoD) service wholly devoted to “the world’s best foreign-language drama” — titles handpicked by Walter Iuzzolino, the curator for the eponymous free streaming service. (No subscription required!)
Iuzzolino is a former commissioner at Channel 4, former Creative Director at independent production company Betty, and a co-founder of Global Series Network, whose partnership with Channel 4 is bringing Walter Presents to the UK market. He’s been a lifelong fan of international drama since his days of “bingeing on a diet of Fellini and Bergman” at the local cinema in Italy.
Walter’s selections for Walter Presents include binge-worthy, English-subtitled foreign-language dramas, including shows from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Mexico, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland, which will screen during the service’s inaugural year.
Walters Presents launches Sunday, 3 January 2016, exclusively in the UK on All 4, Channel 4’s new digital hub. The terrestrial Channel 4 and More4 will also broadcast select Walter Presents titles.
Below is everything we know right now about the series that will screen on Walter Presents.
“10” (Switzerland, in French)
This award-winning psychological crime thriller stars Jérôme Robart (Paris, Nicolas Le Floch, Un Village Français) as Vincent Torrella, the organizer of a high-stakes poker game on New Year’s Eve. Gathered at a secret location in Geneva are eight men and women vying for the pot of nearly a half-million Swiss francs, while unbeknownst to them, the police are watching their every move in order to nab a wanted criminal hiding amongst the players. Costars include Bruno Todeschini (Antigone 34) and Moussa Maaskri (The Last Panthers).
The ten half-hour episodes of “10” premiere exclusively on All 4 on 3 January 2016.
Cenk Batu (Germany)
Multiple-award winner Mehmet Kurtulus (Kurz und schmerzlos) stars as the eponymous undercover detective in this gritty, six-episode crime drama in the long-running Tatort franchise. Directed by Mattias Glasner (Blochin: The Living and the Dead), each feature-length episode finds Cenk, a multi-lingual German cop of Turkish ancestry, infiltrating the criminal underworld of Hamburg to investigate political corruption, terrorism, industrial espionage, and other crimes for the Landeskriminalamt (LKA) state police. The series costars Peter Jordan (Bukow and König) as Cenk’s boss.
A massive hit in Germany (its debut attracted 7 million viewers), Cenk Batu premieres exclusively on All 4 on 3 January 2016.
Deutschland 83 (Germany)
Set against the real events, culture wars, and political realities of Germany in the 1980s, this spy thriller and coming-of-age story just won the awards for Best Non-English-Language Drama and Best Casting at the C21 Drama Awards. Series lead Jonas Nay was nominated in the Best Male Performance category. The eight-part drama follows Martin Rauch (Nay), a 24-year-old East German soldier who, against his will, goes undercover for the Stasi foreign service by posing as Moritz Stamm, an aide-de-camp in the West German Army, to gather information about NATO’s military plans. Steeped in pop culture nostalgia, Deutschland 83 is the first German-language drama to screen on a major US cable network (SundanceTV). It costars Maria Schrader (Aimee & Jaguar) and Ulrich Noethen (Hannah Arendt).
Deutschland 83 premieres on both Channel 4 and All 4 on 3 January 2016.
This eight-part supernatural thriller, featuring a standout performance by Nicolaj Kopernikus (The Killing), stars Sebastian Jessen (Borgen) and Julie Zangenberg (Danish Dynamite) as twins Sebastian and Sofie, students at an elite boarding school with everyday teen dramas and a dark secret: they’re vampires. Then a mystery dating back to 1666, with elements of sin, life, death, and mysterious powers, emerges. It’s sexy and spellbinding.
Heartless premieres exclusively on All 4 on 3 January 2016.
Kabul Kitchen (France)
Based on the real-life story of French journalist Marc Victor, this multiple award-winning dramedy stars Gilbert Melki (The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch) as Jacky Robert, whose swimming-pooled restaurant is the place in the Afghan capital for expats in 2005. Life for Jacky is pretty sweet until Sophie (Stéphanie Pasterkamp, Second Chance), his estranged daughter of twenty years, shows up to do humanitarian work for an NGO. Things get more complicated when she decides to stay, the booze runs out, and Jacky has to deal with local drug traffickers, Taliban neighbors, and corrupt politicians, amongst others. Simon Abkarian (Pigalle, la nuit), Marc Citti (Braquo), and Benjamin Bellecour (Les invincibles) costar in this decidedly un-PC comedy-drama.
With a third series now in production, the twelve episodes of Kabul Kitchen: Series 1 premieres exclusively on All 4 on 3 January 2016.
The Lens (Clona) (Czech Republic)
This seven-part crime thriller follows Roman (Krystof Hádek, Raw), a feckless 25-year-old wannabe filmmaker whose repeated failure to get into film school leaves him no choice but to join his father on the police force as a police photographer. His first day on the job ends in tragedy when his father is killed in a hit and run. Determined to find his father’s killer, Roman proves himself to be a skilled crime scene investigator. Vica Kerekes (Casanova) costars.
The Lens, whose first episode was the highest-rated show on CT1 last year, premieres exclusively on All 4 on 3 January 2016.
Match Day (Virage Nord) (France)
Created and directed by Virginie Sauveur (Spiral), this three-part miniseries follows Detective Alex Perrucci (Judith Davis, You Will Be Mine), whose investigation of a young football fan’s mysterious death in her hometown uncovers a tangled web of sexual and sporting scandals, and results in her sister possibly being implicated in the murder. Nina Meurisse (Accomplices), Théo Chalbi (Un Village Français), and Nicolas Cazalé (The Grocer’s Son) costar in this tense crime thriller.
Match Day premieres exclusively on All 4 on 3 January 2016.
Pure Evil (Malicia) (Argentina)
Set in Buenos Aires, this thirteen-part psychological thriller centers on Daniel Parodi (Gabriel Goity, The Puzzle), a former policeman and expert criminologist obsessed with finding the demented cult leader who kidnapped and murdered his only child in front of him years earlier. Meanwhile, the sadistic killer is back, once again making life a living hell for Parodi by playing and delighting in his cruel cat-and-mouse games. As colleagues assist Parodi in his quest, they investigate crimes steeped in what he calls “new social sins.”
Pure Evil, whose April 2015 debut was a huge hit and whose second series is now in production, premieres exclusively on All 4 on 3 January 2016.
Spin (Les hommes de l’ombre) (France)
In the first series of this award-winning, ratings record-breaking political thriller, the assassination of the French president ignites a ruthless battle between two spin masters to win the presidency for their respective candidate. Former Presidential advisor Simon Kapita (Bruno Wolkowitch, The Tourist) believes State Secretary for Social Affairs Anne Visage (Nathalie Baye, Tell No One) should be elected President, while his former protégé and current backstabber, Ludovic Desmeuze (Grégory Fitoussi, Spiral, Mr. Selfridge), is doing all he can to ensure that Prime Minister Philippe Deleuvre (Philippe Magnan, Ridicule) wins at the special election in 35 days. The second series features Carole Bouquet (Wasabi) and Emmanuelle Back (Un Village Français).
Both Series 1 and 2 of Spin, which has been commissioned for a third series, premiere on both All 4 and More4 in January 2016.
Swedish political thriller/mystery Blue Eyes (Blå ögon), and Clan, a Dutch-language dark comedy/thriller from Belgium, are slated to premiere on All 4 and More4 in February 2016.
Details about, and trailers for, these two series, plus those for the pan-European crime drama The Team (Mord uden grænser) and Swedish family drama Thicker than Water (Tjockare än vatten) are in the article “Lars Mikkelsen Crime Drama ‘The Team’ Amongst Euro TV Series for Walter Presents.”
Other shows that will screen on Walter Presents include:
The Neighbours (Nieuwe Buren) — This Dutch-language thriller from the Netherlands, based on the bestseller by Saskia Noort, centers on Peter (Daan Schuurmans, Bernhard, Scoundrel of Orange) and Eva Nijhoff (Bracha van Doesburgh, S1ngle), a young couple who lose their baby just before moving into their new house, and then meet carefree neighbors Steve (Thijs Römer, Daylight) and Rebecca Blok (Katja Römer-Schuurman, Baantjer). The thing is, the Bloks might not be who they say they are.
The Prey (De Prooi) — Based on the acclaimed novel by Jeroen Smit, this three-part biopic follows the rise and fall of Dutch banker Rijkman Groenink (Pierre Bokma, Dalziel and Pascoe) and the downfall of the ABN Amro bank empire.
Bellicher Cel — Daan Schuurmans stars in this six-part Dutch action drama/crime thriller as Michael Bellicher, a man falsely accused of a hit-and-run offense.
Queen of Hearts (aka The Queen Murders, Les Dames, aka Jeu de Dames) — Based on novels by Alexis Lecaye, this French crime drama stars Thierry Godard (Un Village Français, Spiral) as Martin, head of the crime squad at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the legendary Paris police headquarters, and a man whose world revolves around his women, his queens — from those in his personal life, to colleagues, to the victims and even killers of the crimes he investigates.
Lanester — Richard Berry (The Valet) stars in this French detective drama as police commander Eric Lanester, who, with the help of taxi driver Gabrielle Stahl (Emma de Caunes, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), continues investigating a case involving three eviscerated murder victims arranged in macabre displays, despite losing his sight.
No Limit — This action/crime thriller stars Vincent Elbaz (The Hundred-Foot Journey) as Vincent Libérati, a former high-flying secret agent whose potentially fatal brain tumor forces him to return to Marseille and fight organized crime by any means necessary on the French Riviera for Hydra, the mysterious black ops organization created by the French secret service, in exchange for an experimental medical treatment that could save his life.
Elite Squad (Flics) — Also set at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, this crime drama stars Frédéric Diefenthal (Taxi film series), Yann Sundberg (Crossing Lines), and Catherine Marchal (Previously) as members of an elite team of crime fighters in Paris.
Flight of the Storks (Le vol des cigognes) — Based on the novel written by bestselling author Jean-Christophe Grangé, now published in more than 15 languages, this English-language, intercontinental thriller stars Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful, Fortitude) as Jonathan Anselme, an English academic who gets caught up in a web of intrigue following the mysterious death of amateur ornithologist Max Böhm (Danny Keogh, Charlie Jade). The miniseries costars Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Clemens Schick (Casino Royale), and Perdita Weeks (The Tudors).
Danish mystery/crime drama Dicte and Norwegian drama Acquitted (Frikjent) are also on the Walter Presents schedule, as is Polish crime thriller The Pack (Wataha). The latter, set in the Bieszczady Mountains, is a six-parter that follows a Border Patrol officer who finds himself framed for the murder of his girlfriend and fellow guards.
All of these titles make up a portion of what will be a constantly evolving and expanding slate of highly-rated and award-winning foreign-language series hosted by Walter Presents for box-set viewing on All 4, which includes a download option to watch episodes on the go. All told, there will be more than 600 hours worth of drama from Walter Presents.
Walter Presents is being launched in the UK through an exclusive partnership between Channel 4 and Global Series Network, founded and managed by Jason Thorp, Walter Iuzzolino, and Jo McGrath. The two parties will roll out Walter Presents in a number of other TV markets, so stay tuned for updates.