“Mad euro director, Americam remake, Stephen King, gotta be a dud”
If you absolutely can, get Lars Von Trier’s The Kingdom (Riget) out on video. Have you done that yet? Do it now! Go.

If you can’t, or are too lazy (let’s face it what’s the point of telly if you aren’t too lazy?), then Kingdom Hospital isn’t going to give you the same thrill, sorry. Going by episode 1, the story is left largely intact (Von Trier is Exec Producer), but it’s annoyingly predictable that an American remake, through the eyes of Stephen King, of a gloriously quirky and visually distinct television play should end up so ordinary looking.

I’m not demanding that every TV director be as mental as Von Trier, but the original’s visual technique bounces off and ties in with the disorienting docu-soap stories and becomes part of the telling. A translation that doesn’t take that into account is no translation at all.

Trouble is that everyone who has enjoyed the original will review this remake in much this way. What I don’t know for sure is how this looks through fresh eyes. The stories (if as I hope are well preserved) are pretty whack, so should be enjoyable for that. Absolutely everyone said the original was Twin Peaks meets ER. I’ll say (predictably for me) Sapphire & Steel meets The Office… on acid. Be prepared for a slow pace if you want to try it out though.

One thing that I want to know is, has King translated the crazy character names sincerely? There is a Dr Jesse James, an (absent) Johnny B Goode, and one of the main characters is rechristened Dr Hook. (And from there the humour arises.) But was this phenomenon in the original? The subtitled translation didn’t hint at it (as I fuzzily recall), and my Danish was never going to be up to it, even if I knew what the Danish equivalent of Dr Hook was.

Kingdom Hospital is on BBC3 at some time or another, and on BBC2 this weekend – what you think I carry a tv listing mag around with me?