Brand new series Annika has started streaming on BritBox in November 2021. It features Olivier Award-winning actress Nicola Walker, who you can also see on BritBox in Unforgotten opposite Sanjeev Bhaskar. She stars as Detective Inspector Annika Strandhed in a crime drama adapted from a BBC Radio 4 series.

The Scandinavian detective travels from Oslo to head up the Marine Homicide Unit on the waterways of Scotland. As expected, the Scottish coastline, including the seaside village of Largs, is a character in its own right, providing our heroine and her team with a stunning backdrop to their murder investigations.

Annika Season 1 on BritBox
The cast in Annika S1

NICOLA WALKER comments on Annika Season One.

You’ve lived with Annika for a while because you played her in the radio foreplay by Nick Walker, what was the transformation like playing her on TV?

Yes, her first life was on Radio 4 and Nick wrote all of them. We’ve been doing them for a number of years and we have a very loyal fanbase for that. Then during the first lockdown Arabella Page Croft decided that she would do this amazing thing – that Black Camel would try to transplant Annika from Norway to Scotland and not only that, to do it during lockdown and that’s what we did.

There are significant changes for people that know her from the radio. She has a new team, she has a daughter now – she had a son in the radio – but it is still essentially Annika from the show transposed to Scotland.

Tell us about her quirks, she’s definitely not your average detective is she?

No she’s not, because what I think Nick Walker is really aware of are all of those types of shows, that was the whole point of Annika from the beginning. He’s written something that is really aware of those character types ang giving them a spin and that’s what she does, so she had quirks – she would probably dislike being called “quirky”.

I can already imagine Annika hating that. And yes, on the radio obviously you have that intimacy and Nick and Black Camel worked very hard on working out how to get that intimacy on screen and they came up with the idea of breaking the fourth wall which I think works really well so you still have that direct line to Annika.

The amazing thing about her is that she’s an outsider because she has these Norwegian roots and her parents have given her these Norwegian traits – she’s very direct. That is the key to Annika, she’s direct with her team, she’s direct with her daughter, and she’s very direct with you (the viewer).

Was it unusual to be speaking straight to the camera? What was the process for you?

Well, it destroyed me! I’m filing at the moment and I keep getting told off for looking at the camera. It has completely ruined me and I was worried about that at the time, on the first day we did it it was so weird – if you look at the camera normally on a drama you get told off, so this was the complete opposite of what you’re supposed to do.

It was difficult on the first day but after that, I’ve really really liked it and I’m slightly obsessed with it. Now I’m filming on something else and I’m driving the DOP on this mad!

I know he doesn’t find it funny, I’m sort of turning into Annika, he doesn’t think I’m remotely amusing because I keep flicking him looks into the camera and he thinks I’m insane. I really enjoyed it because I imagined talking to someone sitting at home on their sofa as if they were my silent partner in crime. I reveal stuff to them, I hold stuff from them, I comment on all of the actors you’ve got there.

What was Annika’s relationship with her team like?

Her managerial skills are very interesting, I don’t think she has them. She skipped all the courses, she lied to her new boss that she went on the managerial course before she took the job – she didn’t. She doesn’t believe in any of that, she has her own process, it’s a very unique process. And the team knows that, she has a reputation so they know what they’re getting. What I also find incredible about her is that she also has no trouble showing when she adores her team.

Morgan is such a big part of course, and later in the series there’s talk about teenage mental health – is that important to focus on?

Absolutely, yeah completely and Nick has done it so well. That mother and daughter relationship is written so well! I feel like I’ve seen in drama a lot that mother and daughter relationship is done in a way that’s all about friction and combat and arguing. But actually with Annika and her daughter it’s always just been those two and Annika really really loves her, but her daughter is hitting 15/16 and is having trouble for various reasons.

I absolutely love that there’s love supporting that mother/daughter relationship, and they do work things out and Annika is not afraid to talk about it and she knows her daughter.

What: Annika Season One Britbox
When: 18 November 2021
Where: Britbox
WS