Borgen (Government)


How is your Danish?  Mine is hardly conversational, but slowly improving, the reason for this increase in my Northern European language skills can be directly linked to the amount of good Danish drama that BBC Four have been showing.  First was ‘The Killing’ and now “Borgen”, which my improving Danish can tell you stands for Government, see subtitles can help you learn.

Fans of The Killing will be pleased to know that this 10 part drama is “by the same people” and focuses on politics, a concept introduced during “The Killing”.  The setting is an upcoming general election and unlike UK and US politics Denmark seems to have a plethora of political parties.  The main star is Birgitte Nyborg of the Moderate Party, a middle-aged married woman with two kids, who seems to be struggling to keep the support of her party as their leader.  She has limited expectations entering the election and has put her support behind the opposition Labour Party led by scheming Michael Laugesen.  Her support is withdrawn after Laugesen reverses a policy decision on Immigration during live TV, a situation which embarrasses Nyborg who herself was being interviewed and forced to comment.  So whilst you may struggle with the language the topics covered are very relevant.

The show follows a number of other key characters, as well as Nyborg there is a young upcoming TV reporter, Hanne Holm and Moderate Party spin doctor, Kasper Juul, an early plot twist involves these two.  The show deals not only with the inner working of government but the home lives of these characters this should draw you in if politics doesn’t interest you too much.

Due to the fact that we split time between these main characters, the pacing of the show is good, no tedious long scenes with lots of text but like “The Killing” we maintain a healthy speed.

Borgen is also heavily influenced by some popular TV shows like The Manageress (80’s Football Drama about the first female Manager), The West Wing (Heavyweight US Drama) and Commander-in-Chief (short lived US drama about a female US President).  These all managed to blend strong female characters and politics, and of course majoring on the lives behind the jobs.

Borgen is on for the next few weeks on BBC Four, they are showing two episodes every Saturday, but fans will be pleased to know there is a Series 2 already made and Series 3 is in production.

Catch up on iPlayer here.

Gary Redrup


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