Say hello, bonjour, hola and ciao to some of the best foreign language shows out there.
With an increase in demand for non-English speaking shows in the UK, we have been lucky enough to experience the best of what foreign series have to offer. Whether it’s hair-raising Spanish thrillers, suspenseful Nordic Noirs or gripping French dramas, there is no doubt about the generous variety of genres available to us. Below are a few which will hook you right from that start.
First, let’s hop over the English Channel and make our way to Belgium, the setting for the peculiar crime drama, Professor T. Now onto its third series, Professor T explores the idiosyncratic behaviour of a criminology professor (Professor T) and his obsessive and methodological examination of police evidence. When his former student, Inspector Annelies Donckers, calls on him to assist in a case, Professor T’s meticulous attention to detail does not go unnoticed. The police later recruit Professor T and use him to help solve a series of puzzling crimes.
Not only does this series raise awareness of the mental disorder OCD, it also contains elements of humour thanks to Professor T’s matter-of-factly way of speaking and unquestionable genius appearing side by side.
- Available to watch on All 4
I Know Who You Are (Sé quién eres)
The second foreign production which definitely deserves a watch is the series I Know Who You Are, which is set in Barcelona. Right from the start the viewer is thrown into the action when a well-known lawyer, Juan Elías, crashes his car in the middle of a forest. He claims to have amnesia, and with his niece missing, the lawyer must try and defend himself after accusations of murdering his own flesh and blood.
As time goes by, we learn more and more about the true personality of the mysterious Señor Elías. With twists and turns throughout the plot, the far-from-predictable storyline leaves you intrigued after every episode and thirsty for more.
- Available to watch on BBC iPlayer
Locked Up (Vis a Vis)
Staying in the same country, we now turn to another of Spain’s curious productions: Locked Up. This exciting series has received a flood of rave reviews across Spain and it’s easy to see why. Viewers are introduced to an array of unforgettable characters throughout the series and has to grapple with a fast-moving narrative.
Set in a women’s prison, Macarena Ferreiro is sent there for corporate fraud, something which she strongly denies. On the first day she befriends Yolanda, another inmate locked up for stealing a large sum of money which has never been found. However, we later discover that Yolanda has been killed.
Desperate to pay for bail, Macarena attempts to retrieve the stolen money that Yolanda had hidden somewhere. This task is made complicated as Macarena must tread carefully in order to avoid the wrath of fellow inmate, Zulema, who is also in search of the same money.
- Available to watch on All 4
My Brilliant Friend (l’Amica Geniale)
Our final stop is Italy, where we come into contact with a compelling production based on the literary series by Elena Ferrante. My Brilliant Friend offers viewers an insight into the heart of an unsafe, but nonetheless attractive, 1950’s Neapolitan town.
Now an elderly lady, Elena Greco reflects on her friendship with best friend Lila Cerullo who has suddenly gone missing. The viewer is treated to a beautiful and enjoyable tale of love, friendship, honour and betrayal. It should be noted that some scenes may be difficult to watch due to the crude depictions of the harsh Neapolitan lifestyle. However, this is definitely a worthwhile watch, with a truly attractive and appealing plot.
- Available to watch on Sky Atlantic
Jago Di Piro
Image: Next Episode, HBO, Just Watch, BBC