Temple, Sky One

It seems I wasn’t the only one who loved criminally-underappreciated Norwegian drama Valkyrien when it debuted on Channel 4’s Walter Presents in 2017. Sky liked it so much they commissioned an English language remake and even persuaded Mark Strong to take the lead role.

Strong plays surgeon Daniel Milton, first seen nicking equipment from an operating theatre late at night and then, suited and booted, giving the eulogy at a memorial service for his wife Beth – and acting just weirdly enough to suggest that either (a) he's so grief stricken he's losing it or (b) he's up to something fishy.

It turned out it was (b). The something fishy was an illegal clinic-cum-laboratory set up in a cavernous space beneath London’s Temple Underground station, a clandestine endeavour undertaken with the help of Lee Simmons (Daniel Mays), a sort of Artful Dodger character with a white van and keys for the sort of places the general public aren’t meant to go.

It was virtually a scene-by-scene remake of Valkyrien (named for a station on the Oslo underground), right down to the flashback sections in which we learned that medical researcher Beth (Catherine McCormack) was trying to find a cure for a rare condition she herself had, and an opening scene in which a bank heist went comically wrong and the sole escapee wound up with a bullet wound and three holdalls containing £2 million in used notes.

The clumsy robber was one Jamie Harris (Tobi King Bakare) and – wouldn’t you know it? – he was a good friend of Lee’s. One spleen removal procedure later, Milton had himself a new patient to add to the curmudgeonly George (Donald Sumpter), whose presence we could only speculate about, though by this point the more clued-up viewers had guessed there was a third patient hidden behind the door Milton always kept locked. Surprise! Beth wasn’t dead after all. Instead she was being treated by her husband in his make-shift hospital as he sought to cure her.

Paranoia, guilt and obsession were all key drivers in Valkyrien and they’re present in Temple too. As for the over-arching conceit, it’s pleasingly bonkers and for the set design alone the series is probably worth a look. But what made the original so enjoyable was the interplay between the two leads, and in Mark Strong and Daniel Mays you have two of our most versatile and watchable actors. If Temple continues to at least match its source material, it'll keep this viewer happy.