Have you got a hole in your life where The Killing/Breaking Bad/The Bridge used to be? Well, prepare to make time in your goggle box watching schedule for another maddeningly gripping TV series. The Returned starts at 9pm this Sunday on Channel 4, and whilst we haven’t seen it ourselves, our Swedish cousins saw the eight part series last year and raved about it. A beautifully shot French supernatural crime thriller with more than a touch of David Lynch about it, it follows a group of children who die in a coach accident, only to come back to their village alive a while later with no knowledge of what had happened to them. Watch the trailer here. And the good news is that a second series has already been commissioned for 2014!
Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? Nightmare, isn’t it. We’re avoiding shops as much as possible this year and instead sticking to fairs, markets and the internet. Here, below, are our favourite finds, all especially good for the folk in your life that are hard to shop for. And, crucially, all available with just a few clicks.
Birdsong: 150 British and Irish birds and their amazing sounds, £25.50, from Amazon
Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing: 1920s Fashion, £5.99, from Usborne Publishing
Grace, A Memoir by Grace Coddington, £17.60, from Amazon
Wildflower & Butterfly Garden Seeds, £3.95 per packet, at The Balcony Gardener
1920s Nodding Dog, £120, at Growler
Ostrich feather biro by Maison Martin Margiela, £29, at Quill London
Children Farm Yard Animal Set, £10, at Chido Bueno
Tim Walker’s Storyteller, £56, at Amazon
The Complete Nose to Tail Cookbook, £14.10, from Amazon
Painted tin bucket by Natalie Lete, £9.50, from The Cross
Hugo Guinness Linocut, around £300 from Wilson Stephens and Jones
The Killing Series Three, £28 from Amazon
Feather eyelashes, £18.50 from Liberty’s
Wind in the Willows e-book, £4.99 from i-Tunes
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, £8.86 from Amazon
For more book ideas, see our best books list here.
You know those TV series that get so under your skin that you spend an inordinate amount of time watching them and then talking about the plot lines with anybody else you can find who’s seen them too? We’re thinking The Wire, 24, and Mad Men to name but a few. Well, here are our latest addictions. First up, The Killing series 2 started recently on BBC4 (see the trailer here, you can buy the whole of series 2 on Amazon from December 19th). We’re talking the original (and the best in our view) Danish version and if you haven’t seen the first series, you must, must, must. It isn’t gory like many detective series (even Midsomer Murders has a serious body count these days) but is really well acted with a cracking script, and, of course, the best array of Nordic woolly jumpers. We’re very happy to welcome it back (even if at 12 episodes, it is half the length of the last one). We hear that BBC4 has recently bought another Danish detective series called Borgen, about the political rise of a Prime Minister. Made by the same production company as The Killing, it also features a ballsy female lead, has won quite a few awards and it’s due to come to our TV screens next year. If you can’t wait that long, then we recommend that you upload an American series called Breaking Bad. When we heard that Zadie Smith was obsessed, our curiosity was piqued. We’ve watched two of the first series so far and are gripped. Don’t be put off by the story line – it’s about a chemical teacher who learns he has terminal lung cancer so turns to making crystal meth – for it’s a truly dark, comic series that makes you laugh and gasp in turn.
If you missed this brilliantly gripping and much talked-about Danish detective series on BBC4, you’re in luck because we’re giving away a DVD boxset. And whilst we had to give up our Saturday evenings to see the ‘jumper of knowledge’ in action (or two hours catch up on BBC i-Player each week), the lucky winner can watch The Killing whenever they wish – although we wouldn’t recommend watching all 20 hours at once! Enter our prize draw by filling out the box below before 5pm on 21st April, or if you’re not feeling lucky buy the boxset on Amazon where they are selling it reduced from £58.99 to a much more thrilling £38.99.
If you liked Wallender, you’ll love this equally dark and fantastic new Danish tv series that kicked off with a double bill last Saturday night and has been nominated for an International Emmy Award for Drama. It features a steely female lead detective on the trail of whoever brutally assaulted and murdered a local schoolgirl. The gripping plot is full of twists and turns, with a local politician making the storyline even murkier. Don’t worry, though, if you missed it, you can see it on i-Player, followed by the next episode this Saturday night. And every weekend for the next 18 episodes…