Finding Branagh's Wallander

Sweden

The BBC's Wallander has supplied fans with a constant stream of locations over the years.

Finding Branagh's Wallander

By Stefan Roesch

We talked to UK-based photographer Ian S. Boltonan avid fan of BBC's Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh in the lead role.

What sparked your interest in the Wallander locations in Skåne, Southern Sweden?

"I remember watching Episode 1 of Season 1 – Sidetracked - in November 2008 and thinking 'this is not the idea of Sweden I had in my mind. Where is the snow, the grey sky, the profusion of saunas?' This version had blue skies, rapeseed fields and sunshine! And not a sauna to be seen…"

Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander in Season 1: Episode 1 - Sidetracked

Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander in Season 1: Episode 1 - Sidetracked

By the conclusion of the third and final episode of the first season of Wallander I was hooked. Now was the time to start organising a visit to southern Sweden."

How did you go about finding and identifying the locations?

"Having already identified and photographed locations from the cult film Blowup (1966), I had a good deal of experience in post-filming location research. I tend to use online mapping, film forums, and social media groups.

My first port of call was the production company Left Bank Pictures. They were very helpful and suggested I contact the film studios in Ystad. Here I made the most important contact in all of my Wallander research, Jack Löfving, who is currently the Director of Development at Ystad Studios Visitor Center. His help over the years has been invaluable.

Jack Löfving during the construction of the Ystad Studios Visitor Center which opened its doors in 2018.

Jack Löfving during the construction of the Ystad Studios Visitor Center which opened its doors in 2018.

I eventually got to visit Ystad in 2012 and, as they say, the rest is history. I have been privileged to meet some really friendly people from both sides of the camera in my travels around Skåne. It's like a second home."

Ian's top Wallander locations in the town of Ystad:

1. Ystad Studios Visitor Center

"This is where Jack Löfving works. He's a fountain of knowledge about anything and everything around film in Ystad!"

Ystad Studios. The adjacent Visitor Center opened its doors in 2018. The address is Elis Nilssons väg 14, 271 39 Ystad.

Ystad Studios. The adjacent Visitor Center opened its doors in 2018. The address is Elis Nilssons väg 14, 271 39 Ystad.

2. Ystads Teater

"With an average of 170 events per year and nearly 40,000 visitors, Ystads Teater is a cultural hub. I visited here with my wife to see W – The Truth Beyond (the Wallander opera) in August 2016, and I can assure you it is a marvellous venue."

The picturesque Teater is located in Sjömansgatan 13.

The picturesque Teater is located in Sjömansgatan 13.

3. Ystad Saltsjöbad

"This fantastic hotel, spa, and conference centre was briefly home to filming during Season 3. The well-known Danish actor Søren Malling played the part of a Latvian policeman who was billeted here during his stay to investigate the deaths of two of his countrymen. He stayed in Room 253."

Ystad Saltsjöbad features in Season 3: Episode 2 - The Dogs of Riga. The address is Saltsjöbadsvägen 15.

Ystad Saltsjöbad features in Season 3: Episode 2 - The Dogs of Riga. The address is Saltsjöbadsvägen 15.

4. Ystad Stortorget

"Stortorget is the home of the 13th century Sankta Maria Kyrka (St Mary’s Church). According to Henning Mankell's books, this is where Wallander was married in 1970, and also where his colleague Svedberg’s funeral was held.

The square is edged by many cafés and restaurants including Restaurang Store Thor, Restaurang Loong Sching, Café Lurblåsaren, Restaurang Le Cardinal, all of which have appeared in either the Swedish or BBC UK Wallander."

The square features in Season 1, Episode 2: Firewall and Season 2, Episode 2: The Man Who Smiled.

The square features in Season 1, Episode 2: Firewall and Season 2, Episode 2: The Man Who Smiled.

5. A Murder in the Woods

"This location in the woods next to the Ystad Film Studios was the site of one of the most graphic murders filmed for the BBC’s Wallander. Gosta Runfeldt, the second of three victims, is frogmarched to a tree, tied to it and then strangled to death."

The coordinates are (approximately): 55.433806, 13.849697

Kurt Wallander examines the crime scene in Season 2, Episode 3: The Fifth Woman.

Kurt Wallander examines the crime scene in Season 2, Episode 3: The Fifth Woman.

Ian's top Wallander locations in the Skåne countryside:

1. Baldringe Kyrka

"In two separate episodes Wallander buries his colleague Svedberg and his father at this beautiful 12th century church. Check opening times on their website before your visit."

The Baldringe Kyrka features in Season 1: Episode 3 - One Step Behind and in Season 2: Episode 3 - The Fifth Woman. The address is Ljungahusvägen 517, Ystad.

The Baldringe Kyrka features in Season 1: Episode 3 - One Step Behind and in Season 2: Episode 3 - The Fifth Woman. The address is Ljungahusvägen 517, Ystad.

2. Svaneholms Slott

"The fictional Farnholm Castle - home of Alfred Harderberg (played by Rupert Graves) in Season 2: Episode 2 - The Man Who Smiled. At Svaneholms Slott you'll find a museum, restaurant and nature area."

"Svaneholms Slott near the town of Skurup was erected in the 1530s. Original 'murder holes' used to pour hot sand or scalding water on attackers are still intact!"

"Svaneholms Slott near the town of Skurup was erected in the 1530s. Original 'murder holes' used to pour hot sand or scalding water on attackers are still intact!"

3. Kåseberga and Ales Stenar, Löderup

"Bustling and busy in the summertime, it’s home to everything from wonderful little art galleries, restaurants and souvenir shops to smokehouses selling fresh fish and seafood.

This is a place Wallander visits regularly. It featured in Season 1 as an internal location for his police station and in Season 3: Episode 2 - The Dogs of Riga as the harbour where two murdered men mysteriously came floating in on a rubber raft.

When you visit Kåseberga take time to stroll up to Ales Stenar. This mystical, early iron-age monument consists of 59 massive boulders arranged in a 67-metre-long outline with a magnificent view over Skåne’s hilly landscape and the Baltic Sea."

In the Swedish TV show, Kurt Wallander likes to sit amongst the stones and contemplate life.

In the Swedish TV show, Kurt Wallander likes to sit amongst the stones and contemplate life.

Ian's favourite Wallander episodes:

Season 1: Episode 1 - Sidetracked - "This first episode introduces both our hero and the Skåne countryside."

Season 2: Episode 2 - The Man Who Smiled - "I always loved this one as the case of the man who smiled brought Wallander back to work after his torment at shooting a man dead."

Season 4: Episode 3 - The Troubled Man - "The final, sad episode of the whole Wallander series. Not much blue sky here."

Want to know more about the various filming locations?

Ian runs a very detailed website of Kenneth Branagh's Wallander locations.

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