PBS' new spring lineup, arriving on Sunday, March 20, brings a double dose of period drama heavy-hitters. At 8 p.m. ET Call The Midwife will begin its second decade with Season 11, returning to the springtime berth it typically occupies after last year's Fall edition. At 9 p.m. ET is the long-awaited return of Sanditon, as fans will get their first look at the canceled-and-then-uncanceled Season 2. But the mystery title at 10 p.m. ET is one that not everyone will recognize: Before We Die, an English language remake of the Walter's Choice series of the same name.
Walter Presents, the anthology franchise series that Americans know as "Walter's Choice," recently celebrated six years since launching in the U.K. The program, geared towards finding critically acclaimed foreign language series popular in their home countries and bringing them to a U.K. audience, first started on Channel 4 in January 2016 before coming across the pond just before the pandemic in 2019. Since its arrival, it has been a staple of PBS Passport and found homes across the country on various local PBS stations. The success of the series inspired founder Walter Iuzzolino to start remaking the most popular of show's titles in English, aimed at an ITV audience with an eye towards American broadcast on PBS.
The first from Iuzzolino's Eagle Eye Drama studios was a remake of the ultra-popular comedic Belgian mystery series, Professor T. It arrived stateside last summer, about a month after its premiere on BritBox UK, with Ben Miller taking over the titular role originated by Koen De Bouw. Before We Die is the second series to come from this project (though it was the first to be commissioned), with Lesley Sharp (Scott & Bailey) playing the lead role of Hanna, originated by Marie Richardson in the Swedish language version. The action moves from Stockholm to Bristol, but otherwise, it looks like (as with Professor T) the drama's plot won't stray far from the original.
Here's the show's synopsis.
Determined to solve her lover's murder, Detective Hannah Laing persuades one of his confidential contacts to help her. But when Hannah discovers the informant's identity, she realizes there is far more at stake than bringing the killers to justice.
Sharp stars alongside Patrick Gibson (The White Princess), who plays her son, Christian. Bill Ward (The Bill) plays the boyfriend whose murder sparks the series mystery. Rebecca Scroggs (Grace) and Vincent Regan (Flesh & Blood) are also featured. The six-part series debuted in the U.K. at the end of May 2021 to mixed reviews. Those who had seen the original saying (like Professor T) the new version didn't measure up, while those who had not seen the Nordic Noir series it was based on finding it quite intriguing.
Professor T and Before We Die are the only two Walter's Choice dramas currently planned for a remake — Eagle Eye Drama's third recommission is the Spanish gameshow, Game of Talents, which likely won't be picked up by PBS. But Before We Die isn't the last we'll see from the production studio, which has now branched out into producing original series. Its first, the 1920s Italian-set Hotel Portofino, starring Natascha McElhone, debuted on BritBox UK in January 2022 and is expected to come stateside to PBS later this year.
Before We Die premieres on most PBS stations on March 20, 2022, at 10 p.m. ET and will air on a weekly schedule. The entire series will also arrive on PBS Passport as a binge-watch the same day. As always, check your local listings.