New Year goodies: The Young Montalbano (BBC4) and Deutschland 83 (Channel 4/Walter Presents)

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful festive season and are heading into 2016 with a spring in your step.


We kick off the year with two fabulous series from Italy and Germany – the second season of The Young Montalbano on BBC4 and spy drama Deutschland 83 on Channel 4. The latter also marks the launch of the new on-demand service Walter Presents, which looks like a must for fans of international crime.

The new six-part series of The Young Montalbano begins on Saturday 2nd January at 9.00pm, with the episode ‘The Man who Followed Funerals’. Montalbano investigates the brutal murder of Pasqualino Cutufa’, a Vigata inhabitant who made a habit of showing up at people’s funerals to mourn their deaths. Livia has also come to stay, but is acting rather strangely…

Montalbano S2

Young Montalbano (Michele Riondino) looking rather pensive

I thoroughly enjoyed the first series of The Young Montalbano, which did a stylish job of depicting the Italian policeman’s early years in 1990s Vigata, when he still had an unruly mop of hair. If you’re looking to escape from a wet and windy Blighty to sunnier shores, then this one could be for you. I blogged some background to the first series in this 2013 post. And here’s a link to Olivia Sellerio singing ‘Vuci mia cantannu vai’, which closed the series 1 episodes. Divine!


The eight-part spy thriller Deutschland 83 (Germany 83) begins on Channel 4 on Sunday 3rd January at 9pm (in German with English subtitles). I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to seeing some quality German drama on our screens.

Here’s an overview from Channel 4:

‘It’s 1983. The Cold War is heating up. Russian SS20 Missiles in East Germany are pointed West, while American Pershing II Missiles in West Germany will soon be pointing East. Against this perilous political backdrop, DEUTSCHLAND 83, a gripping coming-of-age story and a suspenseful, fast-paced thriller, follows Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay), a 24-year-old East German, who is sent to the West as an undercover spy for the Stasi. Hiding in plain sight in the West German army, he must gather NATO military secrets while trying to resist the pleasures that the West has to offer. Everything is new to him, nothing is quite what it seems and everyone he encounters is harbouring secrets.

Stylish, fast-paced and utterly gripping, the series, created by German-American husband and wife team Anna and Joerg Winger, reveals the experiences of Germans from both sides of the Berlin Wall during a pivotal period of Cold War tensions.

The series was the first German-language drama ever to air in the US, proving a hit on Sundance TV channel this summer where it has was hailed as “engrossing” (Time Magazine), “slick” (The Hollywood Reporter) and “fresh and enjoyable” (The New York Times).’

Here’s the Sundance trailer of Deutschland 83 to give you a taster – with a storming 80s soundtrack:

The series premieres on the same day as Walter Presents, a new, FREE digital service showcasing ‘the best in world drama’ and available exclusively on All 4. The creation of this service testifies to the progress British TV has made in relation to foreign-language drama in recent years. Subtitled films/dramas, once the preserve of indie cinemas and international film nuts, are now positively mainstream, which is splendid. Judging by the website, there will be lots of international crime goodies available on Walter Presents, including the marvellous ‘Cenk Batu’ episodes from the German series Tatort. This Independent article has further details about the line up.


30 thoughts on “New Year goodies: The Young Montalbano (BBC4) and Deutschland 83 (Channel 4/Walter Presents)

  1. Happy New Year Mrs P, hope you had a good Xmas. Did you get the DVD of Marshland? Yes looking forward to Deutschland 83, & exploring ‘Walter’! Really enjoyed ‘West’ which I watched over Xmas. I’ll pass on Montalbano way passed its sell by date! Bring on Hinterland!
    Off to see a very interesting Italian film tomorrow, it’s only showing at the weekend, ‘Black Souls’.
    Set in Calabria it’s a family Mafia drama, what I’ve read of it, & the trailer I saw looks interesting.
    Any way happy reading this new year.

    • Hello Brian and a very Happy New Year to you too!

      Santa did bring me Marshland, which I’m looking forward to seeing very much. Black Souls sounds good – hope you enjoy.

      I have a little bit of a soft spot for The Young Montalbano and actually prefer the prequel to the odd episode I’ve seen of the main series (sacrilege to some I know). Looking forward to a bit of light distraction 🙂

      REALLY looking forward to Deutschland 83. I’ve been saying for ages that we need to see some quality German crime drama on our screens, so it’s fantastic to have some coming our way at last.

      Happy reading and viewing in 2016!

  2. Hope your New Year is getting off to a good start, Mrs. P., and thank you for your info about Walter Presents – not sure if it’s available to me abroad, but will give it a go. I am soooo looking forward to Deutschland 83, I can’t tell you!

    • Happy New Year, Marina Sofia!

      I feel exactly the same way about Deutschland 83. The trailers are mouthwatering and it looks like there are some nice comic touches amidst the Cold War gloom.

      Would you mind letting me know if you can access Walter from where you are? I’d be interested to know how widely the platform is being made available.

  3. Happy New Year Mrs P!
    Happily, i can report the new series of Young Montalbano is terrific – actors have settled in a little more, writing is a wee bit sharper too. Some terrific local references to boot. Enjoy!

  4. Happy New Year, Mrs. P! Thanks for the excellent news about the upcoming TV series, too. Looks to be some great viewing!

    • Thanks, Bernadette – hope you have a wonderful 2016.

      Yes, I found the ‘old’ Montalbano a bit earnest and macho in the couple of episodes I’ve seen. There seems to be a lighter touch in TYM, which is welcome.

  5. Your recommendations — and the seconding voices in these comments — are most welcome. It’s often necessary to do some sleuthing here in the US to see where they might show up and when. We have just finished “River”, the Stellan Skarsgård series, and now I miss it every night — also, I find myself singing disco songs. May I also alert you to a second season of “American Crime,” a rare American commercial broadcast of depth and extraordinary complexity. The first season was notable for addressing what follows a dreadful crime, how it affects and demolishes survivors, and how it ripples from life to life, bringing each to turmoil. The second season will address a sexual crime in a school and is certain to be compelling. What is notable to me is that the same cast is used in each season, playing different roles in different situations, as in a kind of repertory. This is brilliant news because the ensemble is seamless and uncompromising, especially Regina King (also superb in “SouthLand”) and Richard Cabral. Good wishes, good reading, good crime in 2016.

    • Hello David, and Happy New Year!

      I love the views and dialogues that are generated in the comments section. Aside from being a useful testing ground for my own views, I enjoy hearing everyone else’s reactions and opinions. I always learn lots.

      I’m really glad you liked ‘River’ (a good example of a series that had divided viewer reactions). I found myself humming Tina Charles for quite a while afterwards and the whole series really stayed in my mind. One of the most original series I’ve seen in a good long while.

      Thanks for the recommendation of ‘American Crime’. I remember hearing about this one at some point last year and would love to get hold of series 1 on DVD, but don’t think it’s available in that format yet. Both series sounds really excellent – thanks for providing such an insightful overview. Will make a note in the hope of accessing it in future.

      Wishing you very happy reading and viewing in 2016 🙂

  6. Happy New Year to you and yours Mrs P. I’ve already put my finger on the record button for Deutschland 83, and I’m looking forward to watching the new Montalbano too. It’ll bring some much needed sun to our winter screens. It seems to be the new thing to have a ‘young’ spin off series. As well as Montalbano we’ve had the younger Morse in Endeavour. Perhaps the Swedes could give us a young Wallander too. Something to ponder on…..

    • A very Happy New Year to you too, Kathy!

      Greatly looking forward to TYM this evening, and Deutschland 83 even more!

      I wonder who started the whole prequel thing off (inspiration from Star Wars?). Mankell wrote a prequel to the ‘Wallander’ series called The Pyramid (5 short stories), which was turned into a feature length film in 2007. Went straight to video – not sure what that says about it…. Would be lovely to have a proper series.

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  9. So what did you think of the first episode? Thought it started well enough, but then fell apart round about the time of the party, reminded me to much of ‘The Americans’. Oh we’ll see if it’s any better
    next week. Some of the other Walter Pesents look interesting.

    • I enjoyed it, Brian. There were definitely some moments where plausibility was strained, but I’ll definitely keep watching – very stylish and I loved the sinister Leonora character.

      I think I’ll need to give up the day job to wallow in all the goodies over at Walter Presents… Do pass along any recommendations!

  10. Dear Mrs. P,

    Eine Frohes Neues aus Deutschland!

    Being German I am normally not very fond of German Drama. Usually it is to slow and problem laden for me. But Deutschland 83 was different! It was fast, exciting, suspenseful and very well filmed, and – having been 15 in 1983 – I tremendously enjoyed listening to the soundtrack! Looking back I seem to have missed some major politics issues back then! And we in Germany seem to very lucky to have escaped being the meeting point of American and Soviet atomic bombs! I got major goosebumps thinking about that!

    Best regards,


    • Thanks, Claudia! Great to hear that you enjoyed Deutschland 83 – I’ve heard anecdotally that the series didn’t do as well in Germany as it seems to be doing over here. Do you know if that’s the case and if so, why that might have been?

      I’m the same sort of age as you and the soundtrack is bringing back a lot of memories as well. Probably just as well we weren’t aware of the extent of the nuclear threat at the time….

      Alles Gute, Mrs P.

  11. I’m been happily drowning in TV episodes of British and Nordic detective shows. I binge-watched season two of The Bridge, season one of Happy Valley, episodes of Detective Irene Huss. I am looking for Unforgotten and River to be available in the States, and for The Bridge and Broadchurch to hurry and finish their third seasons and make them available here.
    And I”ll be looking for the Young Montalbano series. Loved those episodes – and as a friend remarked, “it’s a lot more fun to see the young Italian actors.”
    So much to watch and my reading suffers.

    • Sounds like some very happy binge-viewing, Kathy! As to your final comment about reading time – I’m having the same problem myself at the moment. The autumn/winter TV schedules are so full of fantastic offerings that I feel like I’m barely getting any reading done (have also started knitting, but can at least listen to audiobooks while I’m doing that).

  12. Has anyone heard if there will be a Young Montalbano Season 3? I am watching Season 2 and it is just as good as Season 1.

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