The best TV shows on Walter Presents UK
James R | On 19, Apr 2020
With the majority of the UK indoors for the foreseeable future, people are turning to streaming services to binge their way through the evenings and weekends. While there’s no end of English or US telly on your watchlist, though, there are also fantastic box sets on offer from around the world – and Walter Presents, All 4’s free, dedicated online channel, is the place to find them. Whether you’re looking to learn a new language in isolation or take a trip abroad from your sofa, we’ve rounded up the cream of the global crop.
From crime mysteries and Nordic noir to dark comedies and family drama, these are the best TV shows on Walter Presents:
Before We Die
A tough-as-nails cop. A missing friend. A fractured family relationship. A hint of a conspiracy. Before We Die (Innan vi dör) bears all the hallmarks we’ve come to expect from Scandi noir, but wrapped up in a bundle that feels thrillingly closer to home. The series follows Hanna Svensson (Marie Richardson), a veteran of Stockholm’s police department, who doesn’t hesitate to arrest her own son when she busts a party where he’s dealing drugs. In short, she’s precisely the kind of person you’d want on your side if you went missing. Which, funnily enough, is precisely what happens to her former partner, Sven. Cue a slick police drama that barrels along at a gripping pace.
No Second Chance
This French series based on Harlan Coben’s book delivers all the gripping twists you’d expect from the thriller writer. It follows a desperate mother on the hunt to find her kidnapped baby daughter. Faced with threats from the kidnappers, she only has one chance: can she play by their rules or will she lose her child forever? Only 6 episodes long, if you liked The Stranger or Safe on Netflix, this is a box set you’ll gladly binge in a day.
Hotel Beau Sejour
The Belgian drama delivers a high-concept twist on the contemporary whodunnit. Teenager Kato Hoeven awakens in a hotel to find her own dead body in a bathtub. With only a select few able to communicate with her, she sets out to solve her own murder. From the creator of Tabula Rasa (another creepy Walter Presents series), this supernatural whodunnit is a enjoyably eerie ride.
A Very Scandi Scandal
Two 60-something women rob a bank in this darkly funny, extremely bingeable thriller. The only thing madder than the whole thing? You’ll be cheering them on every step of the way. Don’t be surprised when you find out they’ve stolen several hours of your time.
Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie in this hit Danish series, which takes us back to the 1920s where chambermaid Fie is starting her first day of work at a rural beach hotel. Her father warns her not to fraternise with the bourgeois guests, but as secrets about each guest begin to unravel, the seemingly idyllic rural life is much more dramatic than Fie expected. Just wrapping up its sixth season in its home country, you won’t be checking out of this drama any time soon.
Deutschland 83 / 86
Nostalgic for the good old days of going outside? Get nostalgic for a whole other history period with this rollicking thriller that unfolds in the heyday of the Cold War, with Germany split into two. We begin with Martin (Jonas Nay), a 20-something who lives in East Germany but is recruited to be implanted in West Germany as a spy, taking over the identity of murdered west German soldier Moritz Stamm. The result is both a tense spy drama and a thrilling tale of discovery, as he experiences the joys of capitalism for the first time.
Death. Mysteries. Jumpers. Those are the things we’ve all decided to expect from Danish TV, but Greyzone blasts away those stereotypes. The series dives into the world of espionage and technology, as we join Victoria, a software engineer, who works for a drone company, SparrowSat. The firm is pioneering work in the field, particularly when it comes to using them to fly into areas of environmental emergency and offer help. A military contractor, though, is on the verge of buying them out, which raises all kinds of ethical dilemmas for Victoria. Those questions, though, are soon overshadowed by more pressing dilemmas, as Victoria finds herself in a hostage situation by a group planning a terror attack. To carry it out, they need her to give them access to specific components. The result is Denmark’s answer to Homeland and it’s grippingly modern telly.
Bruno Debrandt is on iconic form in this fantastic thriller, which follows Cain, a maverick cop with bags of charm who just happens to be in a wheelchair – a fact he isn’t afraid of exploiting and using to his advantage at any opportunity. Cain does nothing by the book and is prepared to break all the rules on his hunt for Marseilles’ most prolific and serious criminals. Trust us: you’ll love it.
Ignore the all-too-apt title and you’ll find Spain’s answer to Orange Is the New Black a gripping prison drama. We enter Cruz del Sur prison through the eyes of Macarena Ferreira (Maggie Civantos), who is screwed over by her lover and boss, leaving her struggling to adjust to being behind bars. A white protagonist giving us a window onto a diverse prison population? The surface similarities to Netflix’s flagship prison show are undeniable, but where Orange Is the New Black often aimed for humour and heart, Locked Up is a thriller; the Ladies of Lichfield use their time, in part, for philosophy or whimsy; the ladies of Cruz del Sur use to it get their hands on the €9 million stash left buried by a dead inmate. It’s grittier than Orange, more visceral and doesn’t let up for three seasons.
Young and Promising
Young and Promising is the perfect antidote to Nordic noir stereotypes, charting the highs and lows of living in Oslo as a young person – a comedy that combines the humour of awkward everyday youth with actual comedy, as our lead, Elise, is a stand-up comedian trying to build a career. Funny and sweet, there’s not a dead body in sight, as we follow three twenty-something women and get entangled in their lives, loves and – most of all – friendship.
“I’m not Hercule Poirot,” declares Professor T early on in this Danish drama and, while the OCD sleuth may tick some familiar boxes, he’s every bit his own detective, as he helps the cops to solve crimes from Antwerp University. With a warm and cosy side to its storytelling, this nicely plotted, lighter-than-usual crime series is a surprisingly pleasant (if occasionally grisly) affair. It’s already been earmarked by Walter Presents for a UK remake.
Ride Upon the Storm
“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform, He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.” Those are the words of William Cowper’s 1774 poem that give Walter Presents’ new TV show its title, and they set the tone for this tempestuous Danish drama, a thundering tale of storms brewing in a devout family – and the people trying to ride them out.
We meet the Krogh family as they prepare for a higher calling: the election of priest Johannes (Lars Mikkelsen) to Bishopdom. But becoming the head of the Copenhagen diocese is no simple matter, and the politics involved are a complex blend of ambition, showmanship, strategy and humility. No wonder, then, that the writer behind this exploration of duty and devotion is Adam Price, the creator of the hugely successful Danish drama Borgen. With equally complex issues and dynamics at play behind Denmark’s altars, it’s safe to say Price has another hit on his hands. (Season 2 is now also available.)
Thicker than Water
Bloodline and Nordic noir are fused to absorbing effect in this family drama. Very much in the traditional homecoming mould, we see Lasse and Jonna invited back to their mother’s B&B on Sweden’s Aland archipelago for unknown reasons. It’s the kind of beginning, complete with enigmatic postcards, that could kick off an Agatha Christie mystery – and, sure enough, death is on the cards within the first two episodes. That should come as no surprise, though: that trademark Scandinavian darkness makes Crossroads look like, well, Crossroads.