Ken­neth finds him­self back on the case

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

They say that va­ri­ety is the spice of life, and so Ken­neth Branagh’s ex­is­tence is, you would imag­ine, pretty hot stuff. That’s be­cause he’s tried pretty much ev­ery­thing dur­ing his ca­reer, from direct­ing small, per­sonal films to Hol­ly­wood block­busters, not to men­tion win­ning plau­dits for his stage work (he re­cently im­pressed in a West End pro­duc­tion of The Painkiller, along­side Rob Bry­don) as well as for his per­for­mances on screens large and small. Branagh re­turns to TV this week, repris­ing one of his most pop­u­lar roles to date, that of trou­bled and lonely Swedish de­tec­tive Kurt Wal­lan­der, in adap­ta­tions of Hen­ning Mankel’s much-loved nov­els. This will be the fi­nal run of Wal­lan­der (Sun­day, BBC1, 9pm), and is set to fea­ture the last two Mankel nov­els to be adapted – The White Lioness and The Trou­bled Man. The lat­ter will be screened over two evenings in the com­ing weeks, while the for­mer de­buts tonight. The case will take Kurt to South Africa as he hunts for the per­son re­spon­si­ble for the death of an es­tate agent whose body was found on the out­skirts of his home city of Ys­tad. “I al­ways ap­proach each se­ries of Wal­lan­der with an­tic­i­pa­tion and ex­cite­ment, but this last se­ries of films con­tain some of the great­est chal­lenges the char­ac­ter has ever faced,” says the vet­eran star. “It's a priv­i­lege to try to meet them.” Cast­ing the diminu­tive Belfast­born per­former as a Swedish cop ini­tially seemed like a slightly bonkers idea, but Branagh, as a fan of the books, wanted the part badly, and even asked the char­ac­ter’s cre­ator, Hen­ning Menkel, for his per­mis­sion to tackle it. That con­ver­sa­tion has re­sulted in three se­ries of won­der­ful, fea­ture-length dra­mas, which first hit our screens in 2008. "What has been so ter­rific for me about this role is that I was al­ready a big fan of the books and had read them purely for plea­sure,” ex­plains Branagh. “My first ex­pe­ri­ence of th­ese books, their sto­ries and char­ac­ters was en­tirely as a mem­ber of the pub­lic en­joy­ing the rip-roar­ing tales and great who­dunits. "Partly what made the books suc­cess­ful was that read­ers could ex­pe­ri­ence the sto­ries through Wal­lan­der's view of the world.” Sadly, Mankel passed away last year fol­low­ing a bat­tle with lung and throat cancer, so he won’t get to see how the Bri­tish ver­sion of his char­ac­ter pans out.

Look­ing for clues Ken­neth Branagh stars in the crime drama

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