We finished watching the first series of Borgen the other night. I can’t remember any British series over the last 20 years having so engaged me as did this Danish political drama.

Watching it just made me think how mediocre is the fare we’re served up night after night in the UK. The writing is terrific with such subtle characterization, which in turn seems to provoke superb acting.

What I really appreciated was that they played out all the difficult scenes and they were in no hurry. It takes all ten episodes for the post election joy to turn into pressure of work, gradual withdrawal from family life, lack of communication until finally they hit the buffers of divorce. And you don’t even realize that it’s a story line.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve really cared about a cast of TV characters, but I cared about all of them. Even the prime minister’s spin doctor, who we should hate. I especially liked the device of the audience being let in on the secret of his terrible demon while the other characters operate without that knowledge.

I thought The Killing was very good, although at times the plot creaked away, but again they never shied away from the difficult scenes of, say, the parents of the murdered girl whose pain and suffering is played out over almost all the episodes.

It’s as if we’ve got to relearn the art of patience.

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  1. Kathryn Barton says:

    Well, Robert, things could be worse ….. try Australian telly! The only good thing about our content is YOUR content. We love our UK-made dramas …. even the gloomy slow-paced and perpetually overwrought Messiah. We seem to make bugger all TV shows anymore … unless they are reality driven.

    Just love your books. Am reading In The Company of Strangers … taut or what! Have read all the Falcons and then will get to the Medways.

    Met you at Mosman Art Gallery a few years back. In Sydney, that is. Hope you do another tour downunder one day. Best wishes.

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