Tag Archives: The Killing

Forshaw explores the sounds of Nordic Noir TV drama

Danish composer Halfdan E has scored all three seasons of ‘Borgen’. His music won the Fipa d´Or Grand Prize in 2012 for best score.

Barry Forshaw has published a fascinating article on the CrimeTime blog, and wanted to tell us in the Nordic Noir Book Club about it.

Barry Forshaw: “I met the talented composer Halfdan E at a meal at the Danish ambassador’s for the stars and creative team of such shows as Borgen and The Killing – and I discovered we had a connection. I’d written the introduction for the Norvik Press edition of Dan Turrell’s Murder in the Dark, and Halfdan had collaborated with the late writer on the CD ‘An Introduction.’ I asked the composer about his work on Borgen.”

Read the interview on CrimeTime.


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Danish language for The Killing fans

For those of you looking forward to the new series of The Killing, starting on BBC4 tomorrow evening, have a look at this short film with a crash course in Danish, featuring Jesper Hansen (with obligatory Forbrydelsen-style sweater) from the UCL Scandinavian Studies. Co-starring our departmental Polar Bear Skull.

Full details here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/video/2012/nov/16/danish-the-killing-video


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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.


Filed under Danish crime fiction, tv crime


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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‘Sarah Lund’ in London promoting The Killing II (SOLD OUT)

The Killing's Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl). (Photo: BBC Four)

Actress Sofie Gråbøl will be in London for a The Killing II preview and a Question & Answer session at BAFTA in late October. The event is presented by BAFTA in partnership with BBC Four and the Embassy of Denmark in London.

The BAFTA TV Preview and Q&A Interview with actress Sofie Gråbøl and senior producer Piv Bernth takes place at BAFTA’s Princess Anne Theatre on October 31st at 18:30.

Unfortunately tickets are already sold out for this event, before the Book Club even heard that a date had been found for the event. Hopefully, some book-club members got tickets and can blog and tweet from the event.

Visit the Danish Embassy website for further information about the event and the forthcoming second season of The Killing.

BBC is yet to announce when the first episode of The Killing II will be aired.

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The Culture Café Radio Show on The Killing

Tuesday, March 15, 1.15 – 2.00 pm, there will be a short talk about The Killing and Scandinavian crime fiction on BBC Radio Scotland’s show, The Culture Café. I will talk with host Clare English and TV critic Jane Graham about the recent success of the Danish TV crime series, and I may just give away how you knit the perfect Sarah Lund jumper (en islandsk sweater, as we call it in Danish). Here’s the blurb from the programme site:

The actors wear chunky-knit jumpers, it’s filmed largely in the dark and rain and it has a less than inviting title. But BBC4’s The Killing, a subtitled Danish thriller that slowly unfolds over 20 hours as police hunt for the murderer of a 19-year-old girl, has proved a perhaps unlikely hit. The show has been getting higher viewing figures than Mad Men did when it was shown on the channel and the BBC has confirmed that it has bought the second series. The show, which has been a hit across Europe, underscores the growing popularity of Scandinavian TV crime, following as it does the Swedish Wallander series. To explore the attraction of Nordic Noir Clare’s joined by Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, lecturer in Scandinavian literature at University College London and TV critic, Jane Graham.

We are most likely going to talk about how it can be that a subtitled Danish crime thriller has become such a hit in the UK and beyond, and not only with the hardened Nordic Noir crime fans. As some of you may have seen, I was quoted in The Guardian a few weeks ago for my surprise reaction to its popularity. My point is, it is not usual for British TV viewers to spend 20 hours in the company of a language that sounds like somebody speaking while “eating a hot potato” (as a student of mine said once), and having to be constantly distracted to read the subtitles at the bottom of the screen. Not that I have low opinions about the multi-tasking skills of British TV viewers, but it is something that you have to get used to.  That British viewers don’t mind, I think, is unusual, especially compared to Scandinavian TV, where viewers more often than not view programmes that are subtitled from one language or another.

And then there is the question of the story. Again, isn’t it surprising that people get hooked on a series with multiple plot lines, where the crime elements are constantly over shadowed by the story of the grieving family, Lund’s inability to make a relationships work, or even her inability to be a good mother, a good daughter, etc. And we don’t really know why she is like that. I also can’t be the only one wondering about the portrayal of Lund. She is not the first female crime investigator in Scandinavian crime or even crime made for TV, but she is fundamentally different. She is gendered differently, and so is her partner investigator. She is no feminist, she is herself: maybe she has become a traditionally male gendered crime investigator to make it in that world: she shows no real empathy with anyone, she is all work at a great cost to her family life, etc.

This is what Danish media critic Karen Klitgaard Povlsen writes about The Killing in a chapter in Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas’ recent book, Scandinavian Crime Fiction (an excllent study of all things Nordic Noir – can’t recommend it enough! I will write a review as soon as I get to the end):

Sarah Lund is a clever police officer, but a bad mother and lover. She has no empathy, and is incapable of bonding or identifying with other women. Indeed, she might be described as a stereotypical and conventional male detective in a feminine disguise … This series depicts the investigator’s career in dystopian terms, at the same time as it depicts Danish politics as another dystopia. (Karen Klitgaard Povlsen)

Is this partly what makes her character so appealing – so enigmatic; does it matter? And what does this say about Women in the Danish welfare state?


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The Killing and Scandinavian Crime in The Guardian

The Guardian in the UK is running a blog on The Killing currently being screened on BBC4. Here’s a link to today’s post:


Saturday, they will bring an article on the Killing and Scandinavian Crime Fiction, in general.

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