‘Tis the season for drawing the curtains, hunkering down and gorging on high-quality dramas – and Walter Presents is preparing to unwrap veritable festive feast of Christmas telly treats.
With the family round and food in the oven, though, the holidays aren’t always the best time for immersing yourself in a 20-part box set, so everyone’s favourite online international drama channel has lined up a selection box of miniseries instead, designed for light Christmas bingeing.
Here’s what’s on the way on Friday 17th November:
Burning Bush (Czech Republic – 3 episodes)
The three-part drama, directed by Oscar-nominated Polish director Agnieszka Holland, returns to a pivotal time in modern Czech history that has been ignored on screen until now.
On the 16th of January 1969 on Wenceslas square in Prague Jan Palach, a young student, sets himself on fire in front of dozens of passers-by. He leaves a message that he’s only the first of series of ‘torches’ unless demands are met, calling for a massive protest and relaxation of oppression of Soviet forces. Sparking controversy as he was the first to speak out against the communist regime, the government are enraged and the people’s defiance is ignited. Dagmar, the Palach family’s lawyer endeavours to set the story straight and get justice for Jan Palach and argue against the lie fed to the press that his death was a ‘fatally sabotaged circus stunt’.
Punctuated by historical events, the narrative is driven by raw emotion and the strength of human spirit in spite of great political upheaval. Walter Presents: Burning Bush swept the floor at the Czech Lions, winning a total of 11 awards as well as winning a number international prizes including the Hong Kong film festival and the Monte-Carlo TV festival. Burning Bush was even nominated for an Oscar, however its candidacy was terminated as it had already aired on Czech tv.
Home Guards (Hungary – 2 episodes)
Home Guards is a powerful new Hungarian drama documenting the rise of a far-right sentiment in a small town from the perspective of two brothers.
With their father in prison and their mother dead, brothers Máté and Joci struggle to make ends meet in their dead-end town. While straight-A student Máté is intent on becoming a nationally-renowned athlete, his older brother Joci passes his time as the leader of a petty smalltown gang. When new local police chief Captain Janos Acs arrives, the poverty-stricken town looks set for a positive change as charismatic Captain Acs recruits the town’s aimless young men for The Young Citizens Home Guard, a substitute-type police force ostensibly formed to keep the young men out of trouble. However, the situation slowly begins to unravel as the Home Guards, adored by the locals and given increasing juridical power, become an uncontrollable political force.
Frozen Sky (Germany – 2 episodes)
Set in 1960’s Germany, Frozen Sky tells a story of growing social unrest where long held prejudices collide with new ‘revolutionary’ liberal views, with a touching family drama at the heart of it.
Deep in the rural farmlands in the freezing winter, a young wife and mother of three, Marie undertakes an incredible adventure to help her six-year-old son Felix, a “problem child” whose introverted, anti-social behaviour is becoming increasingly difficult for the family to support. When the primary school refuses to accept Felix, only Marie unwaveringly stands by her child, who is a genius with numbers and clearly prefers them to people. With her husband’s farm nearly bankrupt, and the village rejecting her son, with some, even advising an exorcism, Marie finds understanding only in Alexandra, the unconventional new choirmaster from Berlin. Alex introduces Marie to her friend Niklas, a young Berlin child psychiatrist who believes he might be able to help Felix. Despite the family’s crushing financial situation, Marie sets off for Berlin with Felix.
The Body Collector (The Netherlands – 3 episodes)
An arresting mini-series following the true story of how investigative journalist Hans Knoop attempted to uncover the truth behind the multimillionaire art collector, Nazi and war criminal Pieter Menten, who was responsible for the execution of Jewish families in Poland during the war.
Flight of the Storks (Various – 2 episodes)
Jonathan Anselme, a young academic, teams up with Max Böhm, an amateur ornithologist, to follow storks on their migration from Switzerland to Africa. But when Max is found dead in mysterious circumstances, Jonathan makes the trip alone and discovers the dark secrets surrounding Böhm’s gruesome murder.
The Prey (The Netherlands – 3 episodes)
When ABN AMRO’s CEO looks to find a replacement for his role, Rijkman Groenink sees himself as the ideal candidate, yet his colleagues have doubts. Based on a true story, time reveals whether their uncertainty was unfounded or seated in telling signs.
All box sets are available all-at-once for free on All 4 from Friday 16th November.