The Young Montalbano is on his way…Saturday 7 September 2013 on BBC4

I know many UK viewers have been keen to find out when The Young Montalbano starts on BBC4. The answer is this Saturday, 7 September, from 9.00 to 11.00pm.

[For information about Series 2, airing in January 2016, see here]

The six-part prequel to the much-loved Montalbano TV series is set in the 1990s, with Michele Riondino in the role of the younger detective. In it we will see some of the early cases that forged Montalbano’s investigative skills … and apparently led to the loss of those luscious locks (now you see them, now you don’t).


The Young Montalbano has already successfully aired in Italy (RAI channel), and in the States (MHz network). The blurb to accompany the series on the latter’s webpage reads as follows:

>> Before Detective Salvo Montalbano became the seasoned and mature chief detective we already know, he was just Salvo, new to Vigata and new to being a police chief.  He didn’t always live in that glorious house by the sea, or have Deputy Chief Mimi Augello as a best friend, or Fazio as a loyal assistant. He didn’t always go out with the beautiful Genoese architect, Livia Burlando. Perhaps the only constants have been his unbridled quest for good food and the inability of his overly enthusiastic deputy, Catarella, to pronounce anyone’s name correctly. In this prequel series to Detective Montalbano, watch the genesis of the friendships, the rivalries and the romance as the players arrive to take their places in the beautiful Sicilian town of Vigata. Savour these stories that set the stage for the group’s transformation from rookie cops to the experienced crime-solving ensemble we’ve come to know and love.<<

The Young Montalbano actors with Montalbano author Andrea Camilleri (centre)

The first episode sees Montalbano arrive in Vigata and investigate an attempted murder.  A certain Andrea Camilleri is listed as one of its writers.

Further details are available in The Radio Times online.

VERDICT (avoiding spoilers): Well, I really enjoyed that! I’ve only seen a few episodes from the ‘later’ Montalbano series, and think this relatively limited exposure allowed me to go with the flow of the prequel without having to compare and contrast too much. I know many viewers are highly attached to Luca Zingaretti’s Montalbano, and that it must be quite strange to see someone else in his shoes, but I thought Riondino was very assured in the central role, and that there were some strong performances throughout. The tone also felt true to the later series. A good, confident start and I’ll definitely be watching again. Catch it on iPlayer over the next two weeks if you missed it!

If any of you are wondering who sang the two wonderful theme tunes at the beginning and end of the episode – it was Olivia Sellerio and you can listen to both on YouTube:

Opening track – ‘Curri curri’

Closing track – ‘Vuci mia canntanu vai’ (loved this in particular)

Jo Nesbø’s Harrogate Crime Festival interview on Radio 4’s Front Row

Newsflash! Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s interview with Mark Lawson at the Theakstons / Harrogate Crime Writing Festival will feature on tonight’s Front Row.

You can listen on Radio 4 at 19.15, or catch up later at the Front Row website, where the whole of the interview is also available (and most interesting it is too).

Nesbø  will also feature in the ‘Foreign Bodies’ series which Lawson is presenting for Radio 4 from 22 October (see previous post for further details). Harry Hole is one of the 15 fictional detectives used by the series to explore how crime writing depicts the history of modern Europe.

Image for Foreign Bodies

Copyright BBC Radio 4

Also spotted: the ‘Front Row Crime Writers Collection’ – a marvellous set of interviews with leading crime novelists including Henning Mankell, Andrea Camilleri, Val McDermid, P.D. James and John le Carré.

BBC4: Inspector Montalbano returns!

This Saturday, following the end of the excellent Danish political thriller Borgen, BBC4 returns to international crime in the shape of Andrea Camilleri’s The Snack Thief, starring Sicily’s Commissario Salvo Montalbano.

I’ve had my differences with the Camilleri novels in the past due to their rather dated representation of women (see my review of The Terracotta Dog), and have to confess that I haven’t got on particularly well with the TV adaptation either (is it just me or has some of the novels’ humour been lost?). But I know there are lots of fans out there who will be delighted to see Montalbano back on our screens in the form of actor Luca Zingaretti. This episode was the first to be made back in 1999, and has not yet been aired in the UK.

Montalbano (second from left) and his handsome team

If I had the chance, I would definitely sneak a peek at Camilleri’s Sicily, if only to escape our current cold-snap. But by the time the episode airs, I will be in an even chillier Berlin, where I’m lucky enough to be spending the week. Tschüss for now!

The Snack Thief airs on Saturday 11 February at 9pm.

UPDATE: Series 2 of Montalbano (12 episodes) will begin on BBC4 on Saturday 25 August 2012 at 9pm. See The Radio Times for further details. With thanks to Rhian for alerting me to this information 🙂

BBC4 starts repeat of Forbrydelsen / The Killing on Sunday 21 August 2011

For those of you who have yet to see Forbrydelsen, the original Danish production of The Killing, your moment has come! 

BBC4 starts repeating the series this Sunday at 10 o’clock. There are five two-hour episodes being shown per week (20 episodes in all), which promises to be a pretty intensive viewing experience, but if you haven’t yet sampled this superlative crime drama, I very much recommend that you do. It’s even quite a tempting prospect for those of us who caught the series the first time round…  

You can read my review of the first episodes here.

An added bonus: Sunday’s showing of The Killing is preceded at 9.00 by a repeat of Timeshift’s Nordic Noir – The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction.

For those of you into Italian crime drama, BBC4 is also repeating an Inspector Montalbano two-parter, Excursion to Tindari. It starts tonight, Saturday at 9pm. And there’s another chance to catch Timeshift’s Italian Noir – The Story of Italian Crime, on Tuesday at 11pm. Molto bene!