Lockdown Binge #5: Twin

Our writers tell us what TV series are getting them through being stuck in their houses. Here's why spellbinding Norwegian drama Twin should be added to your watchlist.

Kristofer Hivju and Rebekka Nystabakk in Twin

What have you been doing on Saturday nights during lockdown? Perhaps you’ve been taking part in virtual pub quizzes with family and friends, or losing yourself down the rabbit holes of Netflix.

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Me, I’ve been transported to the stunning fjords of Norway, immersed in one of the best drama series I’ve seen in a long time.

What’s Twin about?

Twin is a Nordic noir, a Norwegian thriller that played out quietly in double bills on BBC Four. Its title refers to Adam and Erik, identical twins in looks but not character, estranged for 15 years for reasons that slowly reveal themselves via flashbacks over the course of the series.

Adam is a beloved father and capable businessman, managing a guest house perched on a fjord where tourists come to take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife. Erik, on the other hand, is a surfer free of responsibilities, living at one with nature on the beach.

His existence may sound idyllic, but Erik is a drifter without an income who finds himself in severe financial difficulty. Following an argument with his landlord and driven by desperation, he visits his brother to plead for help – but their meeting has devastating consequences, leading to a deception that threatens to unravel at every twist and turn…

How long is it?

There are eight 45-minute episodes, so Twin doesn’t require a huge amount of commitment.

Where can I watch it?

The whole series is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.

Why should I watch Twin?

If a series can be both gentle and edge-of-your-seat, then this is it. Without wanting to give too much away about the plot, Twin is about a crime, family tensions, sibling rivalry and secrets and lies, all set against an otherworldly backdrop.

Twin features a stellar performance by Kristofer Hivju (you may recognise him as Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones), who plays the contrasting roles of the brothers to perfection – the calm, considered but internally tormented Adam, and the laidback, grizzly-bear-of-a-man Erik, whose life is lacking fulfilment. Watch this series and you’ll know what I mean when I say that the acting doesn’t stop there…

There’s a strong female lead too, in Adam’s wife Ingrid (Rebekka Nystabakk), whose world is suddenly turned upside-down by Erik’s reappearance, along with that of her already-troubled teenager Karin (Mathilde Holtedahl Cuhra) and young adopted son Fredrik (Oyvind Samuel Palerud). Meanwhile, a dogged young policeman (Gunnar Eiriksson) is determined to uncover the truth – but dispel clichés from your mind, his and the other characters feel fresh and real.

Meanwhile, like the home crowd at a football match, the breathtaking Norwegian setting is the extra player, arguably deserving of a credit on the cast list in its own right.

Filmed on the Lofoten archipelago in the north of the country, the brooding skies, crystal-clear waters and snow-scattered mountains are simply a joy to behold, even more so in these times of confinement. The guest house featured in the series is a genuine business, and when all this is over and travel restrictions are lifted, the owners will have to make up some more beds to accommodate the extra visitors Twin will undoubtedly have attracted (and that includes me).

The Lofoten archipelago, Norway
The Lofoten archipelago, Norway

The reaction on Twitter to Twin was overwhelmingly positive, with some fans clamouring for another series after the finale had aired. But the ending was flawless, so a second run would be unnecessary.

So, if you fancy escaping your living room for a few hours of bliss, head on to over to BBC iPlayer and dive into this glorious drama. You’ll be glad you did: Twin is truly one of a kind.

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Check out our list of the best TV shows on BBC iPlayeror see what else is on with our TV Guide