Borgen

I have a unique habit of being the last one to catch onto a new thing when it comes to watching TV. The West Wing was one example of a show that I didn’t start watching until its whole seven seasons were over. The Inbetweeners another, as well as Gavin and Stacey and The Big Bang Theory. And this new show is no exception.

It started last week on BBC4, a Danish political drama, a story of how Moderate Party Leader Birgitte Nyborg became the first female Prime Minister and how she will govern Denmark.

Sharing ground with The West Wing is difficult for most shows but I believe that Borgen has managed it on two fronts:

  1. sophistically portraying political life
  2. paving the way for progressive changes with the country’s electorate:

A year after Borgen was broadcast in Denmark, the Danes elected their first female prime minister in Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Reviews have already been positive: TelegraphHuffington Post UKMetro, and the Guardian. You should be able to catch the first 4 episodes now – available on BBC iPlayer here if you’re in luck.

But to wet your appetite here’s the opening credits:

**Note: The rest of his blog includes spoilers if you haven’t seen up Episodes 1 to 4 **

The story has opened revolving around two leading ladies – Birgitte Nyborg leader of the Moderates and Katrine Fønsmark a journalist whose stock is on the rise.

Nyborg is presented as a politician of conviction and character in the first episode when she rejects an opposition partner who shifts to the right on immigration policy and is returned with more seats in the Danish parliament than expected.

The storyline gives the audience the opportunity to connect with her because unlike President Bartlett in The West Wing she is presented as a character – warts and all:

  • She errs a number of times before realising what those around her are advising to do in order to secure the top job in Parliament in Episode 2: Count to 90 whereas a character President Bartlett would never err, even with MS.
  • She fails to meet her promises to her family when in the job in Episode 3: The Art of the Possible.
  • She gives more away than she needs to do, because its the right thing to do for another country, in Episode 4: 100 Days. These things set her apart from her opposition, two men, who are characterised by their actions as bad men.
Sidse Babett Knudsen, who portrays Nyborg, has a captivating presence about her and instantly draws you to the character and is believable. You can empathise with her as a mother, a partner and a politician.

Katrine Fønsmark, played by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, butts heads with Nyborg, whilst Leader of the Moderate Party, in a TV interview during the election campaign over comments made by opposition partner Michael Laugessen the Leader of the Labour Party on immigration.  However the main focus of her plot is an opening storyline that has her involved with the Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ole Dahl, briefly before he dies whilst they are together and then managing once she finds out she is pregnant.

If you get chance to watch it do let me know and then I’ll know I’m not the only person in Stafford watching it.

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