The Killing is so 2011. Sarah Lund and her jumpers? No thanks. I’d rather have BBC Four’s new import, Borgen – a Danish political drama taking the country by storm.
The programme follows Birgitte Nyborg, the surprise winner of the Danish Prime Ministerial elections, form a government, and takes us on a journey through Danish coalition politics. She does all this with her political team and spin doctors, whilst managing a marriage, and looking after her two children. Unlike The Killing, Nyborg has a tendency for flattering skirt suits, as opposed to Christmas jumpers.
Nyborg, played by the stunning Sidse Babett Knudsen, has a gritty persona to her character, with the first season displaying a slight digression on her party manifesto, whilst maintaining her impeccable standards for loyalty. It’s a wonderful quest that takes us through politics as we’ve never seen it on British television before – as it’s in Danish and subtitled.
Many expected this to be the drama’s downfall – having discussed it with people researching this post, the general consensus was ‘How can you watch a drama whilst reading subtitles?!’ With ease.
The flowing storylines, combined with developing sub-plots, love triangles, ministerial hatred and an insight into the private life of a Prime Minister has the potential to cause a web of confusion. However, the programme has been written in such a way that can be followed from any point during the season – each episode is a separate insight into the Danish government, and therefore can be viewed at leisure.
The quote thus far in the series has to be ‘I’m having scheduled sex with the Prime Minister’, which really does give you an idea of the general way the drama follows. Think The West Wing in Danish, mixed with a touch of The Thick of It, and then put it in a blender with Loose Women. Then you’re about halfway there.
Borgen is something I didn’t expect to be gripped to in the slightest. I wasn’t a big fan of The Killing – it was far too complex for me. However, Borgen is two hours a week where I sit down and enjoy the high-brow nature of a decent TV series. An import for the BBC – how novel.
600,000 people watched the opening programme of the season, compared to the 1.5m who watch it in the programme’s native Denmark. It says a lot about what we crave as the British public these days. The final episodes of the first season are shown this coming weekend, and Seasons 2 and 3 will follow shortly afterwards.
David Cameron and Ed Miliband are said to be big fans of the programme, whereas Knudsen herself is a self-confessed junkie for Downton Abbey. But don’t expect her to be lining up alongside Lady Grantham any time soon.