Knowledge on the Nordics

Global Audiences of Danish TV Drama

November 30, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Knowledge on the Nordics
Global Audiences of Danish TV Drama
Show Notes Transcript

The global success of Danish TV drama in the late 2000s and early 2010s was surprising because of the relatively small number of people who can understand the Danish language and because the programmes were produced largely for a domestic audience by public broadcasting corporations. Audiences around the world appear to have responded to the combination of authenticity, emotional proximity and the portrayal of gender as well as the exotic Nordicness of the series. Many people from the Anglophone community as well as elsewhere were prepared to watch drama with subtitles in English for the first time. In 2020, the wave of hype around these programmes appears to be over, but key aspects, along with what is often considered to be Nordic Noir, arguably still influence mainstream television-making.

Researchers Pia Majbritt Jensen and Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen from Aarhus University are ideally placed to help us find out why Danish TV drama is popular the world over as they have been involved in an interdisciplinary project which started in 2013 involving seven other scholars from Aarhus University and affiliated scholars in eight different countries focusing on The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge. 

Listen to Pia and Ushma discuss with editor of, Nicola Witcombe, how different players at many different levels from key broadcasters in the television industry down to bloggers created an organic hype around the series, arguably leading to key elements from the series becoming mainstream today.

Find a list of the programmes mentioned in the podcast.

Be sure to listen to the other podcasts on Nordic identity, or the Nordic Model.
#nordicsinfo #ReNEWHub   

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  0:09  
Why on earth should drama series produced in Denmark primarily for a Danish audience, and all of a sudden this unexpected popularity that they start popping up and appearing in other parts of the world that was very unusual. It was very, very unusual.

Nicola Witcombe  0:29  
That was the voice of Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen, associate professor at Aarhus University. Ushma is ideally placed to answer the question: Why does Danish TV drama travel? Only about five and a half million people speak Danish, yet Danish TV drama has been popular around the world since the late 2000s. Even enticing English speaking audiences out of their comfort zone to read subtitles push my researches how language works with different globalizing processes and how language intersects with culture power and knowledge. She was my guest along with Pia Majbritt Jensen, also associate professor at Aarhus University but in the media studies department. Pia works primarily with television including format drama and crime drama. Pia and Ushma can help us to find out why Danish TV drama is popular the world over.

Welcome to this podcast. is a research dissemination website based at Aarhus University in Denmark and publishes material by researchers on many different aspects of the Nordic countries within the social sciences and humanities. is part of the university hub Reimagining Norden in an Evolving World (ReNEW). This podcast series is based on me, the editor of, Nicola Witcombe, catching up with different academics and discussing particular topics of the day with them. I caught up with Ushma and Pia at the Department of Media and Journalism studies at Aarhus University in October 2020, to try to get to the bottom of why TV produced by a small Nordic nation has ended up having a global audience. Thank you very much for being here today and letting me interview you. Can you briefly explain how the project started?

Pia Majbritt Jensen  2:45  
Yes. First of all, we could see like from from traveling around the world conferences, that all our international colleagues were commenting on, on these weird shows from Denmark that they had seen on their, on their home channels. For example, in Australia, British colleagues, were starting to comment Hi, this is Danish show, killing and you know, even older shows. So we knew there was something happening. And of course, the Danish press had also started writing about the fact that the new series could now be sold to markets that we had never sold series to before. So it was this thing about the Danish series challenging the center periphery structure of the television industry, where of course the Anglophone countries, especially the US and the UK, had had somehow had the power to be very dominant. 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  3:43  
I think one of the this sensitizing concept of what we were thinking about was this whole idea of this unexpected popularity is that why on earth should drama series produced in Denmark, primarily for a Danish audience, with this sort of tradition, there is that, you know, families gather on Sunday evenings at eight o'clock and watch high quality Danish productions. And all of a sudden this unexpected popularity that they start popping up and appearing in other parts of the world

Pia Majbritt Jensen  4:22  
That was very unusual

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  4:24  
it was very, very unusual. And maybe to add to that, that perhaps it became even more unusual, because there is this whole piece I mentioned it earlier in terms of the periphery core structure is such that this whole trope of smallness that is so strongly associated with a lot of Nordic things that small languages, small population, small countries, small nations, that small, small, small. So, how could it be that small people, small nation, smaller languages suddenly became popular in very major markets?

Nicola Witcombe  5:12  
Could you explain a little bit about the sort of practical reasons why these TV dramas have been able to travel?

Pia Majbritt Jensen  5:25  
Yeah, the timing of when the series were produced in Denmark coincided with the rising of streaming worldwide. So this rising of streaming services, such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon, and of course, also streaming services in each country's like local streaming services meant that they were there was a there was a craving for content, and also craving for content that was a little bit different.. That could set each streaming service out from the next that could somehow brand the stations and say, "we are the ones who have Nordic Noir". Or, you know, and it didn't have to be with streaming services, you don't have to have a gigantic success, you just have to have some viewers. And because Danish series were, and probably still are, fairly cheap to buy, compared to other series from the Anglophone countries, I think it became a key driver, I'm not sure that they would have traveled as widely if it hadn't been for the streaming services. And then there was another thing that was really, really surprising was that the content originated in public service work. Whereas the whole theory on media economy at this time was saying that commercial broadcaster will have much more chance to create popular content, especially to travel because they can cater very strongly to popular taste.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  7:02  
Because there is this sort of tendency to think that commercial organizations are more flexible. I mean, they're able to cater very quickly for niche markets, and they're very malleable. And you know, they can move direction very quickly. Whereas public broadcasters, because of this responsibility to such a wide group of people, that they're more heavy than, you know, they have their very many things that have to take into consideration before they invest.

Pia Majbritt Jensen  7:40  
They have a remit that tells them more specifically what they have to do also, quality and, yeah, and yeah, I think it was the idea before and the theory was that, because there are strong obligations in the public service broadcast that they have to do, like, especially within drama, they have to do something that is very Danish, like it has to really hit the broad Danish audience, then that that can't travel. 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  8:13  
And that's what made us sort of question well, if these things struck such a chord with with a population, or viewers in Denmark as such, how could this also strike a chord with people who are so, so different in terms of their worldviews, in terms of their cultural practices, in terms of their languages, in terms of what is contemporary for them, and what is relevant for them? So these are some of the things that entered, you know, our, our thoughts and our curiosity to pursue these things further. Yeah.

Nicola Witcombe  8:55  
Great. Well, should we go on to the project itself?

The project has been quite extensive. When researchers do audience studies in several different countries, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Denmark. Could you say a little bit about how those countries were chosen? 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  9:26  
When we were committed to investigating the global travel of Danish television drama, then it was very important for us to have voices, to have the global voice present. Then when we talk about the circulation of symbolic goods, such as television programs, made in one part of the world and traveling to another part of the world, that we're actually working with all sorts of travel between all sorts of cause and periphery, uh, depending on where you're positioned and where people are positioned, and this sort of sensibility had to be present throughout throughout the project.

Pia Majbritt Jensen  10:10  
We had to choose countries where we knew there was some sort of access to, to the three day series that we somehow settled on very early in the process. And those series was 'The Killing', [Forbrydelsen], 'Borgen', and then 'The Bridge', which is the Swedish Danish co production. And so that was sort of our first first likely all three series had to be available in the countries we went to, because those were the series we would focus on in our study. And then because Borgen, at the time, hadn't traveled quite as widely as the other two, it did eventually after, after we started, but at the time, so it did narrow down our countries a little bit. But then, at the same time, we wanted to, we had to have big, dominant markets. So that, of course, was the UK, Anglophone, the second biggest market and the second biggest exporter of tech, television content in the world. And then we also wanted like strong languages like strong languages, world languages, so of course, Spanish in Argentina, Portuguese in Brazil, German is not not a world language, but it's a very strong European language at least. And we also wanted, you know, markets that were import dominated. So that would be the German market, for example. And then, of course, we wanted to maybe you can elaborate on that like, completely different languages and completely different markets where the cultural distance was, at least on paper very, very big.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  11:51  
When looking at Brazil, for example, what really characterizes Brazil was this extremely commercial television landscape, and Portuguese. Why? Because there were many people in Brazil, who actually wanted to watch the watch the series in the subtitle versions. So Brazil was was an important market to look at. And then the insistence on having an Asian powerhouse in itself in terms of Japan, because you cannot talk about the global travel of Danish drama, if, if you don't have Asia involved. Then how global is it? Right? So it was also to sort of secure a fair representation that when if we were to speak about a global movement, if we were to speak about an international, the world spanning travel, then we couldn't do it and forget Asia. 

Pia Majbritt Jensen  13:02  
And that's when you can only do it in western countries. 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  13:05  
Exactly, exactly. 

Pia Majbritt Jensen  13:06  
So, so Tokyo, of course, was also a very, very, very important place to go. And Turkey is, is an interesting market, because they're actually exporting a lot of content to the Middle East. And they're like a huge market. You know, many, many people live in Turkey, I think, yeah, more like actually can't remember, but they're bigger than Germany, for example. So they have their own market. 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  13:31  
One of the curiosities of the whole, the whole traveling aspect that these drama series were traveling in another language than those that normally travel. So, so that was something that we were, you know, very curious about. How, how could this happen?

Nicola Witcombe  13:58  
And isn't it true or I've read proposals and the, the subtitling of that was a sort of watershed, but that managed to sort of break down the glass wall or whatever you can call it to, you know, non English television abroad. I don't know whether that's true or not?

Pia Majbritt Jensen  14:22  
Yeah, like the Anglophone world. Yeah. Yeah. So it broke, it definitely paved the way in it in the Anglophone world, because, yeah, for subtitle content, because, you know, the English speaking countries they subtitle as well, they don't dub. Yeah, whereas of course, it wasn't the same glasswall that had to be break broken through in countries that dub because, you know, they were used to content from other countries okay, but because because the Danish series became a success in a very influential market, the UK, then the rest of the world saw that "okay, if a subtitle Danish show can make it and become relatively like actually a huge success, then we can use it too". So it's more like a quality stamp that if you can break through to one of the most closed markets for non English language content, then we can probably use it to in Italy, we can use it in, in Argentina, we can you know, I think a lot of professionals were saying that at the time. So, so opened the world's eyes. 

Nicola Witcombe  15:37  
Okay, thankyou. Uhm really interesting. You've used a methodology that you call the three leaf clover. What does that mean exactly? 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  15:50  
Yeah, I think that Pia should answer *laugh*

Pia Majbritt Jensen  15:54  
Yeah, it's really, it's really it's the three leaves of different audiences. The first group were was the group called the gatekeepers, which were like, international broadcasters, international distributors, that was the first group because there were somehow gatekeepers to the different markets at the Danish serious moved into. Then the second group or the what we call the cultural intermediaries, which are the journalists writing about the series in the respective countries, movie critics, serious TV critics, bloggers, blogging about the series, and so forth. So they, the cultural intermediaries, were instrumental in creating a hype within the countries and also probably international around the danger series. And then, of course, the third group of audiences is what we usually understand the audiences meaning you and me regular audiences watching our television on a Saturday night. Broadcasters and international distributors, we had to somehow get their eyes open to Danish content for them to buy it to their respective, for their respective markets. Because it wasn't as if Japanese people were hearing about this show in Denmark, you know, we wanted to us, we want to, we want to see it in Japan, it wasn't like that. So it was a crucial audience to begin with, that this distributors and broadcasters had to open their eyes that there was this thing that happened because some of the debut series won prizes. And then of course, the success on the BBC Four, you know, that really opened, you know, that BBC, BBC is just some some, it's a broadcast that everybody knows in the whole world, and they look to what's happening in the British market.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  17:52  
So yeah, the important thing was that the whole you, we always spoke about the gatekeepers.

Pia Majbritt Jensen  17:58  
Yeah, there was the gatekeepers to the markets, at least to begin with, before the series really took off. But I think all audiences were equally important in creating the success of Danish drama series internationally.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  18:12  
When we talk about the audience that, you know, we really sort of try to develop an idea about audiences being very many actors, who inter-, you know, who interact with one another. And each exerts a sort of influence, which encourages the viewing of these, these drama series. And when we use the methodology, it's also to make these connections between for example, the hype that's constructed in, in newspapers, in the UK, and how that sort of travels to what a buyer or a gatekeeper in another country it would be reading and, and it's then influenced, to actually acquire these, these strong series. And then they know someone else, a friend, who then is a blogger, who then blogs somewhere else in the world. And that blog is then read by someone else who is interested in Nordic drama series, for example, in a fifth place in the world. So it was really to try to map all these linkages all over the world between different types of actors who, who exert some sort of agency in different capacities. And the methodology was there to try I mean, we wanted to we didn't want to be fixed on "Now, we're going to ask these regular viewers what they think about the, the, the series", but instead try to trace and map and narrate how these series traveled through different people, through different voices, through different communities of interest, all interacting in a way, which was very organic in many ways. Right? Yeah. One influencing the other.

Nicola Witcombe  20:15  
So you use the methodology that equal the three leaf clover. Were there any challenges involved in that methodology? 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  20:24  
Yes, it was, the challenges were I mean, how can we produce material, which was similar? And therefore would allow or enable some sort of comparison? And could we actually do that? Well, this was in a global investigation in very many different types of contexts. So if you want to generate the same amount of, the information that you generate in your research project will always be different, depending on on the context for which it is being extracted. All these conventions of how we approach people and how much people will tell you. I mean, these are all there are a lot of cultural considerations here that we had to.. That, that were challenging and we negotiated them, and we worked our way through them. And then of course, language issues; language, when we had to ask people to give us their views and perspectives of what had motivated them, or what moved them, what they had learned from these, these series. We were asking them in English, and there were interpreters present. So you know, some things were naturally lost in translation, as we know, they always are.

Nicola Witcombe  22:03  
So what was this about the shows themselves that people wanted to watch? Given the number of countries there must have been a variety of reasons? Could you summarize a few?

Pia Majbritt Jensen  22:15  
Yeah. Yeah, there were a variety of reasons. But there were also like, I would say, four, four things that really, like yeah, for things that really sort of, was shared by almost all of our audiences actually, it was quite, quite surprising. And I think one sort of very important thing was that the series came across to international audiences as super, super authentic. Like, almost like very, very similar to, you know, to, like, almost as if this is how Danes are, and you're like, it was, it was like, they were not even watching actors, they were watching real people on screen with real life problems. And, and, yeah, and if you look at the series, they are very, they're certainly not overplayed. And there is some some of the aesthetics in the series and the acting styles that you can understand why, why people saw them as very authentic. So they really, yeah, and this authenticity, authenticity in the series, somehow translated into sort of, with international audiences into sort of a, an emotional realism as well. That that they really emotionally connected with the characters, almost to degrees that yeah, like I already said, they weren't characters, they were real people. They were not not an actor playing the role. They were really like, a lot of the struggles that the characters have in the series. Also, of course, Birgitte Nyborg with being a prime minister and struggling family besides and divorcing her husband, and you know, they were all real life problems that really resonated with a large, large, large majority of the audiences.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  24:12  
I think that that authenticity was also expressed in contrastive terms, in in the sense that they were not like what you see coming out of Hollywood. Which were then, that, that contrast was constantly made; that these these series were authentic, these people are real. They have real life problems like I have, they look real. They look like like I do, they don't wear stilettos in the kitchen, for example. Right? It's so I think that there's certainly something about that that was extremely..

Pia Majbritt Jensen  24:57  
They became everything that Hollywood was not, yeah, basically, they became the complete opposite to Hollywood. And also maybe more than they actually are, if you were to texturally analyse them, because they actually do have quite high production values. Yeah, they just became everything that Hollywood isn't. Yeah, and and I think another thing that resonated with many audiences male as well as female was the they saw gender a lot in them. I don't think Danes realize that when we watched him, but just the fact that gender was never a topic, but there were women in strong positions. But it wasn't made into the topic of the series, they were sort of just there, the women were strong, they were a bit quirky, they didn't wear makeup, but they didn't have to wear makeup, they didn't have to please the men. You know, and that was really picked up by, and that was seen as something very liberating to international audiences, which I don't think we really realized in Denmark when we were watching it.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  26:04  
And to add to that, it's, it wasn't only the strong women, or the women who are trying to juggle career and family, which is really, something, a key that goes through many of these series, not only a portrayal of the struggles that women have everywhere, you know, irrespective of where they're living, but also a view of men; Men as sentimental, men as not being able to take decisions, men as people who were vulnerable, men who took care of children. So there were also these visions of men. So when we talk about the gender differences that were you know, it wasn't only about women, but it was just as much about men behaving in in ways that in many of these societies or that it's not, it's not really common, or even if it is common, it's not something that is portrayed in public. 

Pia Majbritt Jensen  27:25  
Yeah, I think that's it was probably more common in the, in some of the countries we went to e.g. in Australia. Yeah, people were commenting that this is like how we live in Australia, but, but we don't see that on Australia drama. 

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  27:39  
So it's more or less portrayal of, of, of men and women in in a way which seemed, which was one of the key things that people noticed where they actually went. 

Pia Majbritt Jensen  27:53  
And then I think another, like a fourth thing that that also cut across countries, was they saw that somehow the exoticness of the Nordic countries. Like, they were watching, you know, interior design and how we live and how we look maybe a little bit different to other places, both our physique, but also very much the, maybe, yeah, the way we just, the colors, the the landscapes, the cityscapes, most importantly, maybe with the Danish series that we're talking about was more the cityscapes. And it is Nordicness. And, and I think most audiences also look up to the series because they came from the Nordic countries, and Nordic countries are seen as progressive. Hence, the series must be progressive as well. So they also read their, their idea of the Nordic countries into the series, I would say, whereas the Danish audiences we talked to didn't see the series is very progressive, actually, they were actually talking about, for example, females being stereotyped in the series, for example. 

Nicola Witcombe  29:04  
Interesting, very interesting.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  29:06  
I mean, Nordic wires always talked about landscape, the importance of the landscape. And that, the further you went from Denmark and spoke to people, many audiences would say, "is it really true it rained so much?", "Is it really true it's so grey that there isn't any sunshine?",  "Is it really true, you know, that people look a little bit sad?", yeah. You know, so, definitely, they helped to reinforce some ideas of the code most, which, you know, it's certainly not always the case because we also have very warm and sunny summers, right. But but but, but it helps you consolidate those images, those sensations, those those ideas of what Nordic is

Nicola Witcombe  29:59  
Great, super. So do the audiences in different parts of the world perceive the series as Danish or Nordic? Ushma, you just mentioned Nordic Noir, are we able to say? 

Pia Majbritt Jensen  30:13  
The further away you go from Denmark, the more Nordic or even just European they become. They say, for example, it was really funny in Australia, they knew very well they were Danish series, but so if you ask them what what, which country is this from? They would know they were Danish, but they kept referring to them as European, for example. You know, and of course, European not being British as well, even though the UK is in Europe, but you know, more like continental Europe.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  30:45  
There's a lot a lot of conflation between Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Nordic Europe. Yeah. Some places also just Western. Yes, as well. Right. So you have different intensities of conflation going on, depending on who you're speaking to. And really, I mean, that would also depend on how much they had traveled themselves, or how much they knew personally of, of different things in the world. But it's not really anything that that came as a surprise right?. Because I mean, if you ask people in, in Denmark, to say anything about other parts of the world, you will have, you will face the same forms of conflation about other parts of the Latin world or of Africa or Asia or of the Pacific area, which Australia is a major part of. So you know, this, we just see how the conflation of nations and regions and territories, it is not a prob- it's not something that happens elsewhere. It just happens everywhere, including here, right?

Nicola Witcombe  32:00  
Interesting point. I guess the reason why it might be of importance is because often a lot of money is spent on branding the Danish or branding the Nordic. I mean, would you, could you comment on that? What has been the relationship with the the overriding perceptions of the Nordics as progressive countries and whether those sort of branding techniques have been, have been coming through in the other countries?

Pia Majbritt Jensen  32:33  
I would say it has, Denmark has definitely exercise its share of soft power via the series, no doubt. And it could be that in Brazil, they think it's more Nordic countries, not Denmark, per se, but it's still it still affects Denmark again that the Nordic, Nordic countries are branded as progressive and as as sort of a creative powerhouse for the industry. So definitely. And I think that people, if you're looking at it from an industry perspective, of course, the industry knows it's Danish, they know it's not Norwegian, they know it's not German. So the people giving money know where the series are coming from, maybe the individual audience member doesn't. But I don't think, I don't think that matters so much for the industry itself and for the money generated. I would say that would be my take, but I think there is there's definitely a fair share of soft power being exercised by the series.

Nicola Witcombe  33:41  
Even though they're about murder.

Unknown Speaker  33:43  
*everybody laughs*

Pia Majbritt Jensen  33:45  
Which is very odd, because the series don't paint a very, very flattering portrayal of the Nordic countries.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  33:56  
And I would say that that crime, the crime genre, really was very important in the Japanese context, for example, it really struck a chord with the genres that are extremely popular there. So it's also you know, what are we actually becoming popular on? There are also some, some lucky coincidence and some coincidences which are fortunate, in some cases.

Pia Majbritt Jensen  34:25  
The big flows, the normal flows would be that the Anglophone like the UK, the US, they create series, they, they, they, they, they're the agenda setters, and then the rest of us are the rest of the world copies. But, but the Danish series created a counter flow to that, so that way the Danish series were produced somehow traveled into other parts of the world.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  34:53  
But going back to the soft power, I would say that certainly that there has been a lot of branding and a lot of image construction of what the Nordic countries are like in terms of their creative, you know, competence or expertise, to be able to produce certain things in certain industries. Also the portrayals of life in this part of the world that you see through the representations. They've all been there, but the only, the only thing that, I mean, one also has to think of that many of these images that are constructed in the sort of world we live in right now, our soft power can be power at one moment, and yet it can be easily replaced by something else, which emerges. And I think when we talk about the the audio visual industry, and the whole notion of popular culture, and the transfer and the circulation of popular culture globally, it's a field where things come and go, and they they're doing so at an alarming rate. So, something that is popular and important and powerful at one moment, you know, easily it becomes eroded in the next, and then you see the emergence of something else, which is fashionable, interesting, consumable, important. And then again, that becomes, that that's eroding, and been replaced by something else.

Pia Majbritt Jensen  36:40  
I mean, I think what's happened is this Nordic Noir, the Danish series, I just read that actually, Danish series are still very known and I know that there's a demand for Danish series and also probably other Nordic series, also in other genres and crime, but I think it's become maybe more the mainstream now. It's not so surprising anymore. And people, I think what we also found, was it's it's created a creative counterflow. So now everybody wants to make drama in the style of the Nordic Noir. And every the Belgians are making dark stuff. The British are making 42 with the Nordic actors in a very weird dark story in the in the, in the North Atlantic. And, and so now I think what we can, I think safely say is that it's mainstream. Now. It's not, it's not going to win awards. It's not surprising. It's not new. Now, it's more the mainstream, like more.. But I don't, I think it's probably viewer wise, almost more popular than ever, because it's mainstream.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  37:51  
Yes. Yeah, exactly.

Pia Majbritt Jensen  37:52  
Yeah. And but it doesn't have any hype around it.

Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen  37:56  
Yeah, I think the point that you just made with that it's sort of... One of its perhaps one of its lasting, legacies of it is that, is that it's helped to construct this whole noir way of portraying, and narrating stories. And you see, it's in you know, it Delhi Noir, for example, from India or Nuuk Noir from Greenland. So you have this whole idea, being you know, moving and, and emerging in all sorts of unexpected places. And perhaps that's where, where it's really had some sort of impact. But this thing about that it has now become so mainstream. So what it did was it moved it simply from the periphery into the mainstream.

Pia Majbritt Jensen  38:54  
But I think now you're saying all this, that it's influenced other things, but you know, the Danish series also didn't come out of nothing. That also build on a long tradition, especially maybe from Sweden with crime fiction, the famous authors in Sweden and the Millennium trilogies and, and a whole change of mindset with the Danish broadcaster that goes back into like the beginning of the 90s. So of course, it didn't just pop out of nowhere as well. It also built on something.

Nicola Witcombe  39:33  
The global success of Danish TV drama in the late 2000s and early 2010 was perhaps surprising, despite the popularity of Scandinavian crime fiction which preceded it. It was surprising for many reasons, not least the relatively small number of people who can understand the Danish language and that the programs were produced largely for domestic audience by public broadcasting corporations. Audiences around the world appear to have responded to the combination of authenticity, emotional proximity, the portrayal of gender and the Nordicness of the series. In 2020, the wave of hype around these programs appears to be over. But key aspects along with what is often considered to be Nordic Noir arguably still influence mainstream television making.

Transcribed by