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Dear Ann,

I stumbled upon something fun to listen to while you knit. It’s a series of 31 radio stories by Nick Walker, featuring detective Annika Strandhed of the Oslo Boat Patrol. The genre is murder mystery, but not all of the (initially) unexplained deaths involve foul play. The stories are told by Annika herself, in 14-15 minute monologues that are akin to having a chatty but well-edited friend tell you about their day.

I’ve gone and buried the lede: the main attraction for me to listen to these stories is that the soliloquizing Annika is voiced by the formidable Nicola Walker, whom I’ll watch—and now, listen to—in anything.

Annika is blunt, precise, and an overthinker, but a wry, playful one. Her tales take off on tangents of Norwegian history and culture, science and nature, that enlighten and entertain, whether or not they have anything to do with the corpse at hand.

You can listen to the Annika Stranded stories on BBC Sounds here.

The 15-minute format is ideal for getting in a daily garter ridge on your temperature blanket, or you can do as I did and binge them all, while making great progress stitching and snipping on my Cropped Car Jacket from The School of Making.

If 31 stories is not enough Annika Strandhed for you, I also recommend the new  Annika on PBS Masterpiece Mystery. It’s the same character, played by the same Nicola Walker, doing the same job, but in Scotland. Which is close enough to Norway that the subject of Vikings does come up, so don’t worry on that account. Having listened to both (the TV series before the radio), I can see that the television people wanted to make the stories take up more time, and fit more squarely into the police procedural format than they do in the audio version, which wasn’t necessary for me. It’s surprisingly ok for a mysterious death to turn out not to be a murder!

Both versions are excellent storytelling by any standard, and in conclusion: Nicola Walker.




  • “ and in conclusion: Nicola Walker.” 🙂 🙂 🙂
    And that is all you needed to write. I love her too. Yay! For a new listen!

  • Am always looking for a PBS series both my husband and I can enjoy together. He loved Prime Suspect and Last Tango, so this sounds perfect. Thanks, Kay.

  • Highly recommend Unforgotten. She,s excellent in it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • You guys are my tribe! ❤️

  • Can’t wait to start both these! I’ve been a huge fan of Nicola since watching her as Ruth Evershed in MI-5/Spooks. Highly recommend the more recent series The Split.

  • I’ve been obsessed with Nicola Walker ever since Unforgotten. I inhaled Last Tango in Halifax and Annika. Now I’m making my way through The Split. I didn’t know I could listen to this audio series, though. THANK YOU!

  • I was just talking about this with my husband the other day. On our list to watch when we finish Doctor Blake.

  • Thank you-can’t wait! I need a break from the dark hole Emile Zola has taken me down courtesy of DG (BBC: Blood, Sex, Money)

  • I stumbled on to this TVseries last week (its on Passport, the public television streaming service .Free to me as a member of my local PBS channel). It was a happy discovery: an almost cheerful police procedural. Definitely worth a look.

  • Love her! And nice to see that someone else cited River. (That song! I watched this at least 6 years ago and still think about it.)

    I’ll knit to anything, but involving Nicola Walker makes it even better.

  • MDK has introduced me to a lot of new shows/music, but my husband and I have already devoured this show. We love everything that Nicola Walker does.

  • I will also watch almost anything with Nicola Walker in it. Looking forward to the radio pieces.

  • I loved listening to them, her asides to give further details always yeilded interesting facts. Having raved about the radio stories to my husband we watched the series but I’m afraid I didnt enjoy that any where near as much. The monologues, which were natural on radio, seemed a bit strange and I’ve no idea why they changed a young son to a teenage daughter – or the setting.
    Listening is best

    • If you spot The Split, save it until you have watched and listened to all of the above.
      Just when you thought NW couldn’t get any better, along comes the lawyer.

  • Thank you. Just started listening and it’s easy to get into. I’m also recommending it to my poor sis, who now is suffering from Covid despite being vaccinated and all that. The short segments might be workable for her and a welcome distraction.

  • I love Nicola Walker in anything she’s been in. I started the series, but I’m waiting for another installment.

  • Nicola Walker! She’s an everywoman.
    Saw her on stage in NYC a few years ago, in ‘A View from the Bridge’ w bonus Mark Strong.
    Not an audio listener but will give this a go!

  • p.s. – ever see her in MI-5? Brilliant. (Called Spooks on other side of the pond)

  • Nicola is amazing

  • I loved her in Unforgotten. I was sorry when her character ended.

  • Thank you! Listening for knitting and car rides (which are at the same time, if someone else will drive) and a new Mystery to look forward to. (We have Passport, but mostly I wait for the series to air – like rationing a box of good chocolate). Nicola Walker

  • I’ve been watching this on PBS but didn’t know about these audio snippets. Will check it out….Thanks!

  • I loved the PBS series! So looking forward to the radio version. Thanks Kay!

  • oh boy! Radio with a wonderful voice.

  • oh, compelling Scandi snack-sized radio drama

  • I love Nicola Walker in everything. She’s always the “different” person when it comes to her POV about something. I loved the Unforgotten and she was in The Last Tango in Halifax. I cried when she was killed in the Unforgotten.

  • I would listen to Nicola Walker read (or act out) the phone book!

    • I love Nicola Walker and will watch anything she’s in. Found River haunting and unforgettable. Thank you for this audio series. Can’t wait to knit to it.

  • I’m looking forward to seeing NW in The Corn is Green this week on an often-canceled-during-the-pandemic trip to London, lucky me!

  • I just started watching the series on PBS – two episodes in – trying not to binge! Love her!

  • Thank you for turning me on to this terrific podcast. I’m loving it!

  • Thank you for sharing this! I have been knitting to the PBS version for the last few weeks, joyfully getting ahead on some socks for Christmas gifts!

  • I was knitting while watching an episode and made a huge mistake 3 rows back on a baby blanket, ripple pattern. Whoops!!

  • Once again, MDK has come through with a wonderful knit/watching recommendation, except I need to get better at knitting while watching! Every time the camera turns to the land- or seascape I have to stop. Every time it turns to Nicola Walker I have to stop. I just don’t want to miss Annika’s enjoyment of her little jokes and I love her asides taken from literature, history, and mythology that connect with the story. Thank you for for another absorbing weekend adventure!

  • Hey! No one mentioned her fabulous mohair, color block jumper. Not to mention other fiber work that enters the story…

  • I’m a huge fan of hers and love the new tv series. Thanks for telling us about the audio series.

  • Thank you, thank you! I’ve been knitting in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA, the desert! Boy did I need this.

  • Has THE SPLIT not reached you yet? Excellent storylines, great acting and (oh boy) the clothes!!

  • Love the PBS version of Annika, look forward to hearing the audio. Reading through the comments I now have a list of new shows to watch. Yay!

  • Hi Kay!
    Do you recommend listening to these in order from first to last, or are they each self contained stories? Intrigued by a 15 minute murder mystery 🙂

  • Loved Annika……NicolaWalker has become one of my favorite actresses.

  • Have loved Nicola, since I saw her in PBS “Unforgotten”, ” Last Tango in Halifax”, and now in “Annika”. She has so much depth as an actor. And yes, would listen to her recite even math equations as I knit as her voice is so mesmerizing!

  • I love Nicola -her acting is superb. I was rather. upset when Unforgotten killed her off. I am so enjoying this new series. I am hoping.I can listen to the radio episodes (I’m in Canada).
    There was another series where she was in where she was a uniform police officer that was excellent.

  • What excellent advice! I have started myself.

    Thank you,

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