Kenneth Branagh will return to BBC One as Inspector Kurt Wallander for three further feature-length episodes, to be filmed in Ystad, Sweden, during summer 2009.
The drama, from Left Bank Pictures, Yellow Bird and TKBC, won Best Drama Series at the BAFTA Television Awards and also won Kenneth Branagh Best Actor at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.
Wallander was watched by more than six million viewers on BBC One in December 2008.
It has since become an international television success story across the world from Japan to the USA. More than 14 countries worldwide have now bought the series, from Canada to Finland and Slovenia to Australia.
Three further novels – Faceless Killers, The Fifth Woman and The Man Who Smiled – will be adapted for transmission in 2010. BAFTA-winning screen writer Richard Cottan will write Faceless Killers and The Fifth Woman, while Simon Donald will write The Man Who Smiled. Sanne Wholenberg is Series Producer and BAFTA-winning director Hettie Macdonald (White Girl) will direct the first film.
The series will once again be broadcast in association with BBC Scotland in the UK, TV4 in Sweden and ARD Degeto in Germany.
Executive Producers for the three films will be Andy Harries and Francis Hopkinson for Left Bank Pictures, Ole Sondberg and Daniel Alqvist for Yellow Bird, Kenneth Branagh for TKBC, Rebecca Eaton for WGBH and Anne Mensah for BBC Scotland.
Kenneth Branagh said: “I’m delighted to be back in Kurt Wallander’s shoes for three further adaptations. The character’s story becomes ever more complex in these next films. Our entire team relishes the privilege of bringing them to the screen, and to an audience who proved so loyal last time out.”
Ben Stephenson, Controller, Drama Commissioning, BBC, said: “I am thrilled that the BAFTA-winning series Wallender is returning to BBC One – enthralling mysteries, atmospheric locations and an amazing central performance from Kenneth Branagh in his long-awaited return to television made this a real highlight of last year.”
Francis Hopkinson, Executive Producer for Left Bank Pictures, said: “To have such a success with Left Bank Pictures first drama series is exhilarating. The warm reception that Wallander has received worldwide is a testament to the strong creative team behind the project. We are genuinely excited by the prospect of filming three further novels and hope to emulate the success of the first three.”
Rebecca Eaton, Masterpiece executive producer, said: “Wallander is one of the most highly-anticipated series in our spring schedule. We’ve discovered there’s a broad and enthusiastic fan base for Henning Mankell here in the US, and the news that Kenneth Branagh is starring in a television series is a huge draw for press and viewers.”
Already a best-selling author across the world, the UK transmission of the series has seen Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander book sales soar in the UK with more than 68,000 additional sales of the three adapted books so far.