BBC4’s Danish thriller Borgen has us hooked. If you haven’t already got your teeth into the story of fictional Danish female prime minister, Birgitte Nyborg – and the complex political world she inhabits – then here are a few reasons why you should…
1. It’s from the same production stable as The Killing/Forbrydelsen, the show which brought us the brilliant, flawed detective Sarah Lund, and which had us nibbling our nails further down towards our knuckles with each thrilling episode. It might not have a murder story thread but there’s enough mystery, backstabbing, betrayal, and blackmail to make it compulsive viewing.
2. It has a strong central female character. Birgitte (below) is less tortured, at the moment at least, than Sarah Lund; she’s funnier (she jokes about her lumpy bits) and friendlier – and unlike solitary Lund, lives with her husband and two kids in a big, homely apartment.
3. Talking of which… the Scandinavian design is to die for, each scene looking like a page from Wallpaper* magazine — or at least the IKEA catalogue.
4. The gender politics in the show – and by extension Danish society – are a breath of fresh air. The prime minister is a feminine, empathetic, morally centred, political powerhouse. Last October, life mirrored art and Denmark elected Helle Thorning-Schmidt the first female leader of the country’s centre-left coalition party.
5. There’s life after death for The Killing’s Sarah Lund’s police partners. Soren Malling (Jan Meyer in series) and Mikael Birkkjaer (Ulrik Strange in series two) play TV news producer, Torben Friis, and Birgitte’s husband, Philip, respectively.
6. It gives us the perfect excuse to snuggle under a blanket on the sofa on a Saturday night instead of going out as it airs in double-episode bundles from 9pm on cosy BBC4.
7. The Danish language and accent is addictive. If you saw Edina’s attempts at it in the Christmas Day Ab Fab, you’ll what we mean. Tak.
8. A team of talented women are behind it. Producer, Camilla Hammerich says “it’s absolutely wonderful” the UK love Borgen as much as the Danes.
9. It makes us want to delve into our own country’s politics. Watching a proposal for a new motorway being discussed in Borgen – and finding it weirdly gripping – makes Ed Milliband battling with Andrew Marr on a Sunday morning kind of exciting, too.
10. Borgen 2 has been filmed and there’s a Borgen 3 in the pipeline.
by Sarah-Louise James