Category Archives: tv crime

Nordic Noir expert Barry Forshaw discusses our fascination with Scandinavian fiction

Thanks to our friends at Nordic Noir & Beyond, here is a short video captured at last year’s Nordicana of Barry discussing the influences of particularly Nordic TV crime and drama.

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Kierkegaard, the Uncanny and Nordic Noir

Staaende_figurer_på_Langebro_lys

Unsettling Copenhagen in Philosophical writing and contemporary drama

5 May 2013 marks the bicentenary of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s birth. The aim of this symposium is to explore Kierkegaard’s writing on Copenhagen in relation to the theme of the uncanny. This will be done by superimposing the Copenhagen found in Kierkegaard’s writings with a contemporary and notoriously unsettling representation of this city: the TV-drama The Killing.

Join the PUBLIC SYMPOSIUM on 17 May, 2013, 10-5 PM. UCL, Pearson Building (North East Entrance) G22 LT (map)

The event is free but please register your participation here as seats are limited. For further information and the programme visit the website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/scandinavian-studies/kierkegaard.

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The Bridge Briefing

Following up on our successful Borgen Briefing back in February, Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you: The Bridge Briefing! Join us on Wednesday 2 May, 6.30pm, at Seven Dials Club, 42 Earlham St, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9LA. Tickets are available here.

Directions to the venue (updated 1 May 2012)

This is a note to help guide you to the venue. The street address is 42 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LA. Official guidance from Seven Dials and a map can be found here: http://www.sevendialsclub.com/contact/location-2/

It’s a very nice venue but a little bit tucked away, and it doesn’t always seem to come up very accurately on google maps. Here are instructions from the two most likely approach directions:

If you’re standing at the Seven Dials roundabout / monument with the Cambridge Theatre on your right and the Crown pub opposite you, turn right along Earlham Street. About half way down the street, on your left hand side, you should see the red signs for the Donmar Theatre. Seven Dials Club / Covent Garden Community Centre (our venue) is number 42, on the right hand side of the street, before you reach the Donmar. It has a black brick frontage and glass entrance doors.

If you get off at Covent Garden tube, walk towards Marks and Spencer on the other side of Long Acre. Just to your right is Neal Street. Walk up Neal Street, past Shelton Street on the left, and take the next left turn into Earlham Street (Urban Outfitters is on the corner). Walk towards the red signs of the Donmar Theatre. Seven Dials Club is just after and opposite the Donmar, at number 42 Earlham Street, on your left, with a black brick frontage and glass entrance doors.

***

The nation is holding its breath in anticipation of Saturday’s British première of The Bridge on BBC4. The Radio Times this week features Sofia Helin as Detective Saga Norén on its cover, interviews Helin, and offers us a frenzy of coverage of ‘SIX new Scandi-crime dramas you can’t miss’.

What’s really interesting about this series, I think, is that it plays on the awkward friendship between Denmark and Sweden – all those linguistic and cultural misunderstandings that arise between two nations now connected by a ten-minute train ride after centuries of bitter rivalry. In 2000, the opening of the bridge and tunnel across the water between Copenhagen and Malmö created a new, transnational region known as Øresund. Cross-border trade and commuting became quicker and easier, but a genuine sense of shared identity in the region has proved elusive. Even the bridge itself was given an official name that is neither Swedish, nor Danish, but a mishmash somewhere in between: Øresundsbron. Twelve years on, does the making of a Swedish-Danish crime series set on and around the bridge show that the Øresund region is beginning to exist in the imagination of its residents?

Anyway, enough Øresund geekery from me. We know you’re going to love this series, and if you’d like to know more about the culture, history and language of this starkly beautiful stretch of sea and land where two very different nations meet, come to The Bridge Briefing. We have imported a local especially for the occasion: Anders Mortensen (a Swede with a very Danish name) from the University of Lund will be explaining just why Denmark and Sweden are ‘two countries separated by a common bridge’. Dan Durrant, who is writing his PhD about the politics of architectural ‘megaprojects’ (what a great word!), will tell us why this bridge continues to stir up so much controversy amongst local communities. PeiSze Chow and I will provide a veritable smörgåsbord (sorry) of examples of how other writers, artists and filmmakers have depicted the region. And after Jesper Hansen’s smash hit performance last time round, where everyone learned fluent Danish in the space of twenty minutes, this time we’re pitting our Danish and Swedish teachers against each other. Which language has the most ridiculous-sounding vowels? Why do Swedes do that strange sing-song thing? Will the hastily-assembled joint Swedish-Danish police team in The Bridge arrest the wrong suspect due to a horrible linguistic misunderstanding?

Oh, and there will be wine, and rival Swedish and Danish snacks. We hope to see you there!

Photo: Silvia Man/imagebank.sweden.se

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Borgen Briefing

Saturday 18 February 2012, 2-4pm. Mercer Room, Covent Garden Community Centre, London WC2H 9LA

Featuring Annette K. Olesen, Director of Borgen episodes 9 and 10.

When the Danish drama Borgen hit British television screens last month, we asked our Twitter followers what kind of cultural background information would help them make sense of this political drama. They told us they wanted to know about Danish language, the Danish television industry, Danish coalition politics, and Danish pastries. So our Borgen Briefing will include short, fun presentations by UCL experts on Danish language, culture and politics, and a Q&A with our very special guest from Denmark Annette K. Olesen, who directed episodes 9 and 10. We couldn’t find an expert on the cultural history of Danish pastries, so we decided we’d just serve up lots of coffee and wienerbrød on the day. Space is limited: book your ticket here!

Directions to the venue (updated 17 February 2012)

This is a note to help guide you to the venue. The street address is 42 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LA (the postcode 6LA has been circulating – we think this might be their admin office). Official guidance from Seven Dials and a map can be found here: http://www.sevendialsclub.com/contact/location-2/

It’s a very nice venue but a little bit tucked away, and it doesn’t always seem to come up very accurately on google maps. Here are instructions from the two most likely approach directions:

If you’re standing at the Seven Dials roundabout / monument with the Cambridge Theatre on your right and the Crown pub opposite you, turn right along Earlham Street. About half way down the street, on your left hand side, you should see the red signs for the Donmar Theatre. Seven Dials Club / Covent Garden Community Centre (our venue) is number 42, on the right hand side of the street, before you reach the Donmar. It has a black brick frontage and glass entrance doors.

If you get off at Covent Garden tube, walk towards Marks and Spencer on the other side of Long Acre. Just to your right is Neal Street. Walk up Neal Street, past Shelton Street on the left, and take the next left turn into Earlham Street (Urban Outfitters is on the corner). Walk towards the red signs of the Donmar Theatre. Seven Dials Club is just after and opposite the Donmar, at number 42 Earlham Street, on your left, with a black brick frontage and glass entrance doors.

We’ll have scouts with signs out on Earlham street looking for lost-looking Borgen fans…

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Scandinavian crime in British pop culture

If one is wondering whether Scandinavian crime fiction gets any exposure in Britain, one only needs to consider the references to Scandinavian crime in current British tv-comedy. I have just seen the opening of The One Lenny Henry (BBC1) in which two Swedish-speaking police officers on a crime scene are concerned that they have been sent Lenny Henry to help out with the investigation despite it being a morose Scandinavian detective drama – and Lenny, it is implied, is far from known as morose, or Swedish. Over Christmas the Absolutely Fabulous reunion featured a cameo by Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund in a dream sequence where Edina is pretending to speak Danish to Lund – fabulous indeed. Though, I have no idea what this says about the international reception of Scandinavian crime fiction.

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Danish TV-thriller Borgen hits the British Isles

Danish TV-drama Borgen on BBC4

For all the viewers of the Killing I and II on BBC4 the past year, the airing Saturday of the new Danish political TV-thriller, Borgen, should be great news. Nordic Noir fans should be warned, if you still have Borgen queued on BBC iPlayer, however, that Borgen, now with its third season in production by Danish Radio Fiction, is in a very different genre than the nail biting and dark police procedural of the Killing. Viewers of the Killing should by now be experts in the Danish political system (Both I and II had important political side plots), coalition governance, and the dark side of the Danish welfare state – and should be able to follow Birgitte Nyborg (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen, one of my 4 favourite Danish actresses!) with little effort: her balancing act between ‘staying true to ones values’ and the desire for political power; the modern woman’s Herculean task of being the perfect mother and wife while being ambitious and having a demanding career in a ‘masculine game’. This theme, and such female characters, have become expected of Scandinavian drama, thrillers and crime fiction (read this excellent article “Nothing like a Dane” in The Independent about the strong female leads in Danish TV-drama). Obviously Birgitte Nyborg and Sarah Lund are very different characters though both strong willed – and when the BBC will show Broen/Bron/The Bridge later this year we will welcome yet another interesting female character to the list (in my view The Bridge is by far the most thrilling crime series to come out of Scandinavia). I would love to hear some opinions about the difference in their characters, and also about the way Danish politics are being represented in these dramas, The Killing and Borgen.

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APPLY FOR FREE TICKETS TO ‘THE KILLING II’ PREVIEW AND Q&A IN LONDON

Nordic Noir fans in the UK will be pleased to learn that the Embassy of Denmark has made a limited number of tickets available for “The Killing II preview”

The Embassy of Denmark in London is very pleased to announce that we have a limited number of tickets available for an exclusive ‘The Killing II’ preview in London on 31 October 2011 at 18:30. The event is organised by BAFTA in partnership with BBC Four and the Embassy of Denmark in London. This event coincides with the launch of the ‘The Killing II’ on the BBC. There will be a preview of one of the episodes followed by a Q&A with senior producer Piv Bernth and actress Sofie Gråbøl.

To apply for free tickets (winner + one guest), please send an e-mail to: ibethi@um.dk. Please include your full name, full address and a contact telephone number in the e-mail. If you fail to do so, your application for tickets is invalid. The e-mail must reach us before 14:00 on Tuesday 18 October 2011, when a draw will take place. The successful applicants will be contacted individually shortly after.

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