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Nicola Walker crime drama Annika confirmed for season 2

Nicola Walker’s crime drama, Annika, is getting a second series.

The show’s home – Alibi – tweeted out an image as production began today (Monday 8th August).

The series is based on the hugely successful BBC Radio 4 drama, written by Nick Walker. The second series will see the return of Nicola Walker as DI Annika Strandhed, Jamie Sives as DS Michael McAndrews, Katie Leung as DC Blair Ferguson and Ukweli Roach as DS Tyrone Clarke. Silvie Furneaux also reprises her role as Annika Strandhed’s daughter, Morgan.

Expect this in 2023.


REVIEW Annika (S1 E3/6)

This week’s mystery-of-the-week began with Our Annika quoting from Ibsen’s Enemy Of The People. Each episode of this series quotes from a Nordic legend or story, and I like this aspect of Annika very much. It’s clever and provides a tangible link to both the case and her Norwegian roots.

However, when the team found Murdo Stirling face down in a loch, this week’s whodunit left me a bit cold.

As I mentioned in my review of episode two, mystery-of-the-week shows really do depend on the strength of the central mystery, and this one… for whatever reason, I couldn’t get into it.

Strirling, it turned out, was a bit of a sod. He worked for a natural water company and often spread propoganda abut the safety of tap water. He also had abandoned his disabled son and syphoned off maintenance money from his ex. Throw in a vengeful ex, and there were no shortage of suspects.

However, the real intrgue in this episode lay in Annika’s relationship with her daughter.

Troubled teenage children are a constant inclusion in crime dramas, and often their characters are left to stagnate, undevelped. What’s impressive about Annika is that there seems to be some character development for Megan, which is good for us and perhaps not so good for Annika.

Not least because she has a crush on Megan’s new therapist.

But there was more. It was deduced that Megan worries that her mother will choose her job over her, and if she doesn’t she would feel guilty. And, when asked to think back to a time when she felt truly safe, she struggled.

We also got some information about Annika’s relationship with her own mother and father (not good), so we will no doubt out find more about the roots of this rancour in coming episodes.

Because Annika provides nothing if not steady character development, which is also a good thing when it comes to a drama, especially with characters we are growing to like and become attached to.

It seems, at this moment, Annika’s own anxieties and need for control are rubbing off on her daughter. Or at least affecting her daughter.

And yet, aside from genuinely good gags in this episode (there was one killer visual joke involving cups of tea), it wasn’t the case the impressed in this episode.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 3 out of 5.



REVIEW Annika (S1 S2/6)

It’s time to catch up with Alibi’s original crime drama, Annika, starring Nicola Walker.

Episode one was an easy-going affair (in crime drama terms) – not quite cosy crime, but it had the feel of something you could tune into for mild mystery-of-the-week thrills and a slice of Nicola Walker. And Walker really made it. Yes, there’s a nice ensemble cast, but Walker’s naturalistic abilities just really shone through.

and, of course, Annika was given an extra soupçon of interest because our main character actually spoke to us. yes, DI Annika Strandhed broke the fourth wall constantly.

It takes skill to do this and for the device not to become a cliche or over-egged, and the first episode struck that balance nicely.

And Annika’s pithy, humorous asides really went up another level in this episode.

We know that Annika is from Norway, and in this episode there were pleasing references to Nordic culture – namely the Sagas, and the legend of Valkyrie.

Valkyrie was indeed the name of the boat Ryan Kidd was found dead on, and the boat that exploded in front of Annika and her team back on land. Whoever killed Kidd wanted him well and truly gone, and the team was shaken by the explosion.

Mystery-of-the-week shows like this live and, ahem, die by the strength and intrigue of the actual cases, and this one was quite engrossing. Annika and some of her team followed Ryan’s trail to the. island of Bute, where they not only found that he was a teacher at the local school, but he had formed a relationship with one of his pupils – 15-year-old Siggi, and young Scottish-Norwegian girl.

Not good. Not good at all.

So although Annika is fairly easy going with some fantastic lines from Annika herself (and her boss Diane Oban, Kate Dickie on terrific form), there’s darkness at its core. This darkness was once again evident when Siggi tried to take her own life.

And it’s all about coping. We saw Annika’s teenage daughter, Morgan, smuggle vodka into her school. She’s trying to cope with the big move to Scotland and Annika too is trying to cope with leading a team in a new town and process her own role as mother.

So while Annika won’t reinvent the wheel, it is an entertaining, balanced watch packed with nuanced studies of human existence.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


REVIEW Annika (S1 E1/6)

When Nicola Walker announced her first post-Unforgotten project, it took people by surprise.

With all due to UKTV channel Alibi, it doesn’t rival the bigger channels in terms of audience. However, perhaps Walker taking on Annika wasn’t so much of a surprise – she’s been starring in the radio version for a number of years. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that a TV channel hasn’t adapted it for the small-screen until now.

Walker indeed reprises her role as DI Annika Strandhed, a likeable, breezy but cuttingly sarcastic detective in Scotland’s Marine Homicide Unit (yes, a Marine Homicide Unit does exist).

She’s moved to Scotland from Norway (there’s the merest hint of Scandi in her accent), but Strandhed takes everything in her stride – from single parenthood, a teenage daughter who’s having trouble fitting in to her new surroundings and a team that is lukewarm towards her to say the least.

Oh, and a murder.

A man called Arthur Hendry – owner of a whale sight-seeing business – is found harpooned to death, and a number of suspects quickly emerge. And when I say quickly I really do mean quickly. Annika does not muck around when it comes to tempo, and Strandhed and members of her team go from place to place and from person to person with breakneck speed. There’s cousin Finlay, family members Isla, Danny and Trish, as well as Mandy, Finlay’s troubled ex…. they’re all introduced and processed in the blink of an eye.

What’s different and what makes Annika an engaging watch are two things. Nicola Walker is, not surprisingly for an actor playing a character for a number of years, on supreme form, and it feels like Annika as a character fits her like a glove. She’s natural, warm, and funny, too. The other dimension this has is the fourth wall, or the smashing of it. Annika regularly talks to us, the audience, and gives insights and even tells jokes.

It’s an interesting device that sometimes works, and in this case it does.

As for the case… well, it’s engaging enough but it’s a bit flimsy. There are plenty of templates and ideas that we’ve seen before (the juggling of work and home life, a disenfranchised teen, conflict within the team itself), and it certainly zips along in a pleasing join-the-dots fashion. So quickly, in fact, you never feel you can really connect, lest the case or the characters really get under your skin.

It’s great to have Walker back on our screens and although Annika feels a bit light – Mare Of Easttown it is most assuredly not – it’s still worth a watch.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 3 out of 5.

REVIEW Unforgotten (S4 E6/6)

There haven’t been many greater shocks in British detective TV than last week’s traumatic car crash in which Cassie was side-swiped by a speeding vehicle. Not only did it come completely out of the blue, but it also left so many unanswered questions – is the collision anything to do with the murder case? Could Cassie survive? Could the series continue without her? 

We’ve been on the edge of our seats for a week, so whatever transpires it will be a relief of tension, buit we don’t think we could cope with the end of the Cassie/Sunny team-up.

To recap, it’s become clear that several of the student cop suspects in the death of a low-life, Matthew Walsh, have conspired to cover up the crime – but who actually dunnit, was it accident or murder, who concealed the body, and who just kept schtum? 

Cassie’s in a mess after the accident, and several of the suspects have been out in their cars – Sonny calls Cassie’s son and father, and boyfriend John, but the signs aren’t good – major surgery is required. Sunny’s impulsive proposal to Sal may be a result of his disturbed state of mind.   

Ram Sidhu feels that he’s being set up by the other suspects – well, Fiona Grayson has implicated him, and the landlady in the pub has testified to him fighting with Matthew Walsh, and he’s been having some shady financial dealings with Dean Barton and with a corrupt Customs officer – but Ram denies any bribery, corruption or involvement with drugs smuggling, and blames Rob (conveniently now dead).

Cassie gets through surgery, and her dad sits over her promising things will be back to normal – slim hope, we think. Meanwhile Sunny sets his team on investigating the suspects’ cars, and another thread develops – victim Matthew’s son Jerome (James Craze) visits his uncle Clive (David Schofield), who was a witness to the build-up to the death. Oddly, this doesn’t lead anywhere.

Pulled in for questioning, Dean Barton claims he was asleep for part of the fateful car journey, and had nothing to do with the removal of the body of Walsh, but Sunny tasks him with his financial dealings with Sidhu, and also realises that Dean’s criminal family may have had a beef with Matthew Walsh, who might have killed his brother. When the serial number of the Cigne pen found at the murder scene traces back to Dean, it looks like his goose is cooked.

Faced with the inevitable, Dean confesses that he found the unconscious Walsh and killed him in revenge for his brother’s death – so the others were innocent of the killing, if not of covering it up. ‘I tried to escape my past, I failed at the first hurdle’, Dean admits – ‘we are who we are, I don’t think you can ever change that’.

Ram Sidhu goes down for cocaine smuggling in collusion with Dean Barton, while still trying to deflect blame from himself; and he, Liz Baildon and Fiona Grayson are charged with preventing a lawful burial – so that’s Liz Baildon’s police career down the pan. But Fiona’s husband sticks with her.

Cassie’s accident, it transpires, was just that – the other car had been stolen by a youngster. But her brain damage is so severe that she won’t recover. Sunny’s as stunned as we are; he delivers the eulogy at her funeral, and visits her grave, where the epitaph reads “She longest lives, who most to others gives, herself forgetting.”

As a summary of Cassie’s career this is the perfect send-off, but we’re stunned that writer Chris Lang has brought to an end one of the most satisfying if understated partnerships in detective TV. 

In terms of the complexity and surprise elements of the case, some viewers have felt that this season has been weak, too predictable and too soapy – but in a sense, we can see what the writer was working up to. The sense of tragedy at the end is all the greater because we had spent more time with Cassie’s family problems, and the case was what it was – each character’s flaws and failings examined and exposed in turn. 

So can Unforgotten continue without Cassie (Nicola Walker)? We’d be happy to see it return with Sunny and a new partner, but the tragedy of Cassie’s death, when she had her retirement, her boyfriend and a repaired relationship with her father to look forward to, will leave us with the taste of ashes for some time to come.

Cassie Stuart will indeed be unforgotten.

Chris Jenkins


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.






Series four of Unforgotten is now available to watch on ITV Hub in the UK

REVIEW Unforgotten (S4 E2/6)

To bowdlerise Philip Larkin: they screw you up, your mum and dad; they may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had, and add some extra, just for you.

Mothers and fathers and that fateful inheritance that can blight or boost your life has often played a part in investigations in Unforgotten. And, as our current crop of suspects are distinguished by having difficult familial relationships (just like our heroes DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DS Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), so relations could be significant in the 30-year-old Matthew Walsh murder case.

Our duo now knows that the main suspect, the recently deceased Robert Fogerty, was a newly qualified PC nicked for late-night drink-driving while carousing after the passing-out ceremony with four other probationers from Hendon Police College. After getting insight about the passengers from the retired officer who arrested Fogarty, Cassie clearly has the bit between her teeth again and is raring to go (well, if she can ever get her feckless son Adam (Jassa Ahluwalia) out of bed). The brighter spot in her home life is live-in lover John Bentley (Alastair Mackenzie), the former DCI whom Cassie met during series three (while investigating the murder of teenager Hayley Reid).

DS Murray Boulting (Jordan Long) has tracked down Walsh’s next of kin, son Jerome (James Craze), child of a dead father and a doomed heroin addict, who seems gainfully employed and not inclined to talk to Cassie about his parents, lest it should infect his own family.

Meanwhile, the four live suspects are all having problems. Expectant father and vice squad DCI Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma) is less jubilant after his wife’s antenatal scan reveals a possibility of foetal abnormality and a clash with his superior officer over accusations of sexual harassment; therapist Fiona Grayson (Liz White) has paid a clandestine visit to her policeman father’s grave; businessman Dean Barton (Andy Nyman) seems to have a dodgy smuggling sideline under duress from a old acquaintance; and gay cop Liz Baildon (Susan Lynch) has a violent confrontation with a motorbike thief while on the way to her interview for the position of chief constable.

Tension between the generations is raised in Cassie’s family as dad Martin (Peter Egan), seemingly manipulated by girlfriend/carer Jenny (Janet Dibley), no longer wants to leave his half of the house sale proceeds in trust to grandson Adam.

Parental cruelty is a running theme here as Baildon’s mother Eileen (Sheila Hancock) holds her daughter in thrall. Is she just dismissive and cold to Liz for turning her back on a high-flying academic career – graduating from Oxford only to become a plod? Well, that’s hardly enough motive to scare her carer Eugenia (Mina Andala) with the revelation that if she knew about Liz’s past it would “turn your hair grey”. Wow – thanks, mum.

Student files unearthed at Hendon yield the names of the probationers, giving Cassie and Sunny the leads they need and some digging by DC Fran Lingley (Carolina Main) relays an eyewitness statement about the night of Walsh’s death that says a young Asian man was pursuing him.

Cassie’s decision to sanction a broadcast appeal for more witnesses alerted the suspects; what will this set in train? Cassie is more worried about how she will react to investigating fellow officers and she makes Sunny promise to keep her on the rails, warning him: “There is a small piece of me that wants to punish someone.” Cue Sunny’s expression of abject fear.

He knows her so well that he really doesn’t need hear her say that solving this case will help to exorcise the chronic insomnia that the Finch murder case is still causing her.  

Writer Chris Lang needs so few word of exposition on motive between his lead characters – the bond between them is resoundingly clear. Again, we can only marvel at the chemistry between Walker and Bhaskar as they shift smoothly into top gear.

Deborah Shrewsbury

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Unforgotten season four trailer released by ITV

Unforgotten season four starts in little more than a week, so it’s not surpsise that the show’s home channel, ITV, has released the first trailer.

The fourth series opens with the discovery of a dismembered body in a scrap metal yard, which the team believe has been stored in a domestic freezer for 30 years. A unique Millwall Football Club tattoo leads to the victim being identified as Matthew Walsh, a young man in his mid-twenties who went missing in March 1990.

Unforgotten (series four): Monday 22nd February, 9pm, ITV

ITV confirms transmission date for Unforgotten

We teased at the start of the year 2021 could well be a huge year for crime drama in the UK, thanks to a raft of COVID-delayed productions as well as new series.

Once of those big, big series is ITV’s Unforgotten.

And now we know when it’s coming back.

The fourth series opens with the discovery of a dismembered body in a scrap metal yard, which the team believe has been stored in a domestic freezer for 30 years. A unique Millwall Football Club tattoo leads to the victim being identified as Matthew Walsh, a young man in his mid-twenties who went missing in March 1990.

Bring. It. On.

Unforgotten (series four): Monday 22nd February, 9pm, ITV

Nicola Walker to star in new Alibi crime drama Annika

Nicola Walker is already a crime drama legend thanks to her roles in Spooks and, latterly, Unforgotten.

Now the actress is set to appear in a new crime drama from UKTV channel, Alibi.

The six-part Annika based on the hugely successful Radio 4 drama, written by Nick Walker and will see Olivier-award-winner Walker bring the leading character, DI Annika Strandhed, to screen.

Annika follows the sharp, witty and enigmatic DI Annika Strandhed (Walker), as she heads up a new specialist Marine Homicide Unit (MHU) that is tasked with investigating the unexplained, brutal, and seemingly unfathomable murders that wash up in the waterways of Scotland. Throughout the series, Annika makes the audience her confidante by breaking the fourth wall and sharing her wry observations on the case and her life, as she manages her brilliant yet unconventional team, and her equally brilliant yet complex teenage daughter.

It will be shown on Masterpiece in the US.

More news as we get it, but look out for it in 2021.

ITV renews Unforgotten for a fourth series

Some good news has been issued forth from the town square: ITV has announced today that one of the most consistent, affecting British crime dramas of the past decade, Unforgotten, will return for a fourth series.

The new series will see Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar reprise their roles as DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan.

Each series of Unforgotten follows the unravelling of a historical crime. Attracting a high calibre of acting talent, previous series have starred stellar names including Tom Courtenay who won the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his performance in 2016, Trevor Eve, Ruth Sheen, Mark Bonnar, Wendy Craig and Lorraine Ashbourne. The latest series which aired earlier this summer featured moving performances from Alex Jennings, Kevin McNally, Neil Morrissey and James Fleet.

The new six-part series will once again be penned by creator Chris Lang. He said: “I am so delighted to have been asked to make a fourth series of Unforgotten. The reaction to series 3 was better than I could ever have expected (with more people watching the last episode than any other in all three series) and I cannot wait to discover what lies ahead for Cassie and Sunny, and to create a whole new cast of characters for them to grapple with.”