Tag Archives: Henning Mankell

Bye, Wallander!

In the end the end wasn’t as upsetting as I’d made the Resident IT Consultant expect. He almost complained. And I was relieved. I wasn’t feeling up to too much sadness, and Wallander made for pretty sad viewing the week before.

I’m glad they wrote it so that they can’t revive Wallander. In my opinion it went on for too long as it was, but the last season did have some redeeming points. But I’m surprised no one could tell – I mean really tell – that he was getting bad.

Krister Henriksson as Wallander

The notes and the notebook and mixing tawny owls in with evidence and feeding the dog too many times made for a certain amount of comedy, but when you stop and think about it, it’s fairly awful. Wallander looked awful, and they should have sacked him for being unshaven and wearing clothes only half done up.

But the last plot worked out well, and the ending was as satisfying as you could make an Alzheimers ending. The bad guy had it coming.

Arne Dahl

Perkele, that was bad.

Besides, why would one want a television programme/series/show whatever named after the author? ‘Hey, want to watch Henning Mankell tonight?’ That could lead to misunderstandings.

Not only was it bad and embarrassing, but we never got to the end. BBC4 didn’t say how many episodes, but we saw 90 minutes of it, and IMDb says it’s a 180 minutes long film. So ‘just’ one more Saturday? Can we take it, or do we leave ourselves ignorant of what the Russian mafia did?

Took a strong dislike to Paul Hjelm; both the role and the actor. The boss lady was reasonably brisk, and the ‘Finn’ was fun. Calling your children by number is efficient, although leaving one behind on the pavement less so.

But honestly. This left me ashamed to be Swedish. If you’re seeing red, that will be my cheeks.

Arne Dahl, Misterioso

Wallandering along

It must have been season two of Wallander when Daughter wandered in and joined us, quickly coming to the conclusion she quite liked Wallander. After all.

Because when we watched a random episode a week ago she wondered who on earth those people were. The answer was Linda Wallander and her room mate Stefan. And they are not there in season two.

Johanna Sällström and Ola Rapace in Before the Frost

I’m used to chopping and changing and can watch in almost any order, especially since I didn’t start at the beginning. But we have now taken the orderly decision to watch them all, and in the right order. That’s episodes three and four, followed by one and five. Very orderly. And we have deleted episode two. But I do remember it. Question is why BBC4 showed them in this higgledy piggledy order?

The first in the series was really quite hard hitting, and Daughter almost gave up, but not even hardened Swedes kill babies off. At least not all the time. I suppose they needed to entice people in with something special, in order to hook them. Could as easily lose them if viewers feel it’s too much.

This evening’s Afrikanen was quite topical, seeing as there’s been some discussion both here and there about the use of the n-word. And as always it’s fascinating when all the handsome, youngish, male actors from my past turn out to have become old men. This time it was Tomas Bolme, and I had to look twice before feeling sure it even was him.

But I do wish they wouldn’t populate southern Sweden with Stockholm-accented actors. Sometimes it leaves you wondering if the character is meant to have just emigrated from the capital, or if they forgot to audition local actors, again. Afrikanen had one with the right accent. I almost wondered what was wrong with her.

The long Friday

Good Friday sounds so much pleasanter than Long Friday, as it’s called in Sweden. I don’t know what it was like in Britain in the 1960s, but the young witch experienced some very boring Fridays at Easter. Nothing that was fun was allowed to happen.

There was television. Mind you, this was in a country with one channel, and that channel woke up around 5pm and lasted maybe five or six hours in total. What I can remember of the programmes was that it was always rather religious and long and sort of black and white.

Good thing that Easter Saturday followed, with bonfires and hot dogs and the scaring away of witches

Missed Wallander when the new series began on Saturday, so last night was an opportunity to catch the repeat. After the first few minutes feeling that I’d already seen this one, I decided I hadn’t, and I really hadn’t. Very, very good, I’d say. Maybe they needed that fresh start with new people?

Less sure of the possible developments with the twice-over neighbour for Kurt. Surely having a dog is enough? And Sweden came across as suitably incapable once again, but doing so in beautiful surroundings. Had thought it’d be more dour to put me in a long Friday mood, but it left me quite upbeat for a change.

You can be too angsty, actually

I’ve made up my mind now. I think. Kenneth Branagh’s Wallander is just too miserable and more of a loner than the two Swedish Wallanders. That takes a bit of doing.

And this business of going off without ID, weapon or telling anyone, or for that matter calling for back-up is ridiculous. What’s even the point of hiring half a dozen actors to sit around and pretend they are policing Yshtad? They too want to run around brandishing guns in beautiful Skåne, some of the time. And that was no lake Vättern, and that road was not the road to Vättern.

Didn’t realise Swedish policemen are trained in doing tracheotomies with biros. Surely this would have been a good time for Wallander to fall apart even more?

But I do enjoy the scenery. The landscape, I mean. Can do with no more unshaven Branagh. And as the Resident IT Consultant pointed out, someone likes trains. There was a nice purple Pågatåg this time for Wallander to travel on.

And then there were..?

Not none, but rather fewer than before, at least.

We watched Wallander last night, and as the cast numbers dwindled towards the end, I asked who they would have left. ‘This was the last,’ said the Resident IT Consultant, but it really wasn’t. There are another twelve more recent episodes of Swedish Wallander still to come. Although, as the BBC announcer mentioned a new Branagh series coming up, we may have to wait a while. The announcer also managed the feat of going from perfectly correct pronunciation of Wallander to the abysmal anglicised Öuållander for Branagh. It’s how to keep them apart, I presume.

It might have been better if we’d watched these last ones in order, but with a lack of time, we simply recorded the others and found we had a Wallander sized hole on Saturday evening, so consumed immediately. We’ll have to go back to find out what we’ve missed.

I have a recently developed dislike for too many ‘northerners’ in Ystad, so welcomed the local accent of the one actor who could speak ‘properly’, and then he promptly turned out to be the baddie. And I do wonder how they managed quite so much snow. For Ystad.


You have to love Swedish tabloids. Well, you don’t, and I don’t, but as I googled Krister Henriksson, I sank low enough to read the tabloids, as well. And they don’t just write a few ‘facts’ about the actor, they look him up properly, red tape and all, so now we know how much money he made last year. Really!

Krister is the Wallander everyone raves about these days. Sorry, Branagh! My first Wallander was someone else again, Rolf Lassgård, so when Krister suddenly turned up on the box, I watched most of the episode not realising I was seeing Wallander himself. Oh, well.

On reflection Krister is Wallander. I’d never heard of the man before that embarrassing Wallander mistake, but I gather he’s done quite a lot. It’s he who shouts ‘Hermione’ in such a strange and Swedish manner when he reads the Harry Potter audio books. And he owns a theatre.

For reasons I needn’t go into here, I’ve just read a 16 year old interview with Krister, which is interesting. It’s well before any Wallander, for one thing. It also seems that he was getting fed up with playing boyish types, on account of looking so young. Now that he is close to retirement age, that feels odd, but we were all young, once.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Henning Mankell wrote ten Wallander novels. We now have season 1 of Krister’s Wallander films, comprising 13 episodes. And season 2 is being filmed, with at least another seven. So I’d guess it’s the old ‘based on the characters of’ thing. But at least everyone loves them, and maybe one day they will be allowed to graduate from BBC4.

I can hardly go anywhere without people enthusing about Wallander. And you lot are getting so much better on the pronunciation front. Hope Branagh is listening.

(Photo from www.inspector-wallander.org)

Wallander is the new ABBA

Coincidence being what it is, when we went to Space school on Sunday to retrieve Daughter, we met a second cousin of the Resident IT Consultant’s. He was there to retrieve his daughter, a third cousin to Daughter, who is also into space.

When you meet people they usually say how much they love ABBA. That’s because they want to be kind about my country of origin. Now that has changed to people saying how much they enjoy the Wallander on television. Especially the Swedish version, currently on BBC 4. This was the case with he second cousin, as well.

Take that, Kenneth Branagh! They like the ‘foreign’ original better than the foreign (to me) BBC version.

If you are one of my faithful followers, you may have noticed my complete lack of success in getting to a cinema showing Män som hatar kvinnor (The girl with the dragon tattoo). My last failed opportunity was in July, when I ended up eating Norwegian waffles instead. I consoled myself with the thought that I could watch it when it comes to Britain, later.

That was until I read this: ‘cinema distributors in the US and Britain remain reluctant to bring over a low-budget, Swedish film of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that already exists. In parts of Europe this film has pushed the second Dan Brown film, Angels and Demons, off the top of the box-office chart. But why squander the chance to make really big money by screening a subtitled version before the book receives the full treatment from a top US studio?’

The Americans want to make big money by making their own. Which they of course think will be better than that sad ‘low-budget’ film. It’s not low-budget! It’s just not Hollywood! But taking a leaf out of the Wallander v Wallander, erm, book; maybe the low-budget solution is the best one?

So, looking at the possibility of not seeing the blasted film at all any time soon, I even instructed Son to see if I could download it on the internet. Very illegal, but what’s a witch to do when her money can’t be spent? But you can’t. There was a Spanish version floating about, I understand.

He said ‘why not buy it?’, thinking that was a practical option. Because it’s not out yet. That’s why. But the good news is – I hope – that it’s out next week. And in a useful sort of way Son is going in that direction, so one of his first tasks will be to pop into a shop and then to pop a DVD in the post home to mother.

It’s just too BBC

It was while watching the last Wallander yesterday, that it hit me what’s “wrong”. Not much, because it’s excellent, as I’ve said. But it’s too BBC. Too British. They talk nicely to each other (albeit with that funny pronunciation). They have conversations. Swedes aren’t like that.

I like living in Britain, because there’s all that nice inter-personal lubrication in the shape of (possibly meaningless) small talk, chatting, politeness. The use of titles, even. Last night I realised how it jarred to hear someone addressed as Mrs Whateveritwas. We just don’t. The junior policeman addressed Wallander as Sir. (“Wake up, you drunken idiot, and get off the murder victim’s sofa. Now.” That would have been appropriate.)

Discussed this with the Resident IT Consultant, and came to the conclusion I’m not sure what we say. Just know when it feels wrong. In fact, when in doubt, say nothing at all. Will have to do some research with the Swedish Wallander and maybe some Martin Beck, too.

How do you pronounce it then?

I loved it when the Swedish police inspector (or whatever she might have been) drove the police car with no hands on the steering wheel. (I’ve come across taxi drivers like that, too.) That’s only because I wasn’t in the car at the time. John Harvey was, I think. The BBC4 programme Who is Kurt Wallander, presented by John, was nicely put together.

Although, when I finally get someone who can say Wallander properly (did he have help?), he then goes and says Mankell with the stress on the second syllable, instead. Grrr… And there were so many Yshtads I nearly strangled someone. It’s Ystad. S. Not sh. And the Resident IT Consultant puzzled greatly over the Chinese sounding name of Jan Guillou, until the penny dropped. Sjöwall & Wahlöö is not easy either. We do it on purpose, to trip foreigners up. The difficult names, I mean. But Ystad isn’t difficult.

Like the BBC Wallander , this was a good programme, with just about the right amount of the right information. I didn’t know that Mankell lives near Gothenburg. That could account for him popping up at the Gothenburg book fair every year. I did know that he lived in the same town as I did, as a teenager. But that’s Borås, stress on second syllable, and not Boris, however nice he may be. (I know it’s not easy, but you can ask, can’t you? The Resident IT Consultant can even say korv [sausage] with a south Swedish accent, and that’s more than my own cousins can manage, even after years of trying.)

One of my excellent crime blogger colleagues had a nice piece on Who Is Kurt Wallander last week, featuring puzzling sausages. As a vegetarian I prefer not to speculate.

Lots of nice scenery, town and country, and a very good explanation, too, for why I feel I simply must be in Sweden in the early summer. (Please explain this to the people who plan English school term dates.) I don’t know where John Harvey has been, not to know of the theories about who killed Olof Palme, but never mind.

However, I would have liked to avoid a repeat of that old belief that Swedish children learn about sex at school from an early age. Here it was stated as fact, that it is taught from the age of seven. I must have been off sick that day. If the BBC say so it must be the truth.