Nordic Noir: The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction (BBC documentary)

Monday, 20 December @ 9pm on BBC4:

Nordic Noir on BBC4

From the BBC: “Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north for a documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction – yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn’t live to see any of his books published. It is one of the many mysteries the programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre’s most acclaimed writers and memorable characters. It also looks at Henning Mankell’s brooding Wallander series, with actor Krister Henriksson describing the challenge of bringing the character to the screen, and it asks why so many stories have a political subtext. The programme finds out how Stieg Larsson based the bestselling Millennium trilogy on his work as an investigative journalist and reveals the unlikely source of inspiration for his most striking character, Lisbeth Salander. There are also segments on Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian rock star-turned-writer tipped to inherit Larsson’s mantle, and Karin Fossum, an author whose personal experience of murder has had a profound effect on her writing.” Visit the programme website here. This documentary also  features Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (UCL Scandinavian Studies)



Filed under Scandinavian crime fiction, tv crime

3 responses to “Nordic Noir: The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction (BBC documentary)

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed and been gripped by Steig Larsson’s trillogy (The Girl With….) and thought the films made so far have done the books justice. To see another fine series on BBC TV4 of The Killing has been fantastic. It has also made me want to find out more about the author Soren Sveistrop and if he has written any others? I cannot find anything on the usual book selling sites, has nothing been translated into English? Anyone any info?

  2. Brigitte Bertout

    I thought this was a really good documentary. It helped go beyond the plots and focus on the social / sociological aspects of the society the novels take place in. I was also struck by the fact that some of these novels, such as Miss Smilla’s (etc…), are really well written, or to be more precise, translated, something you tend to forget when you are focusing on the plot. The reading from Miss Smilla was particularly enlightening in this regard. And I loved the interview of Hakan Nesser and Maj Sjöwall.

  3. jakobstougaard

    I am wondering what those of you who viewed the Nordic Noir documentary on BBC4 last night thought of the programme. I noted that the good people who made this documentary had visited a lot of different places and landscapes in Scandinavia – they offered some really suggestive backdrops to the diverse landscapes of Nordic crime; that they had met with a good number of the most interesting crime writers over the past 40 years (though missed out on Finland); that they focused on the critique of the welfare states in the crime fiction, and that our first guest in the Nordic Noir Book Club, Hakan Nesser, had a great line, which exactly expressed what we are up to in the book club. After seeing Wallander stare melancholic out of the window, Nesser said: “this is how you all see us!”, or something like that. This us-and-them is really interesting. What is the image of Scandinavian countries that we get from the crime novels?

    What did you think about the documentary?
    What was the image of Scandinavia that the documentary investigated?
    Did the documentary fit with your understanding of Scandinavian Crime?
    What did you think about it generally?

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