Thursday 14 December 2017

Eilis O'Hanlon: What lies ahead in the next episode of our very own political drama?

It's hard to watch the new 'Borgen' without detecting parallels to Irish current events, says Eilis O'Hanlon

DISENCHANTED: The fictional Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) of the Danish TV series 'Borgen', decided to form her own party of 'like-minded, homeless politicians'
DISENCHANTED: The fictional Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) of the Danish TV series 'Borgen', decided to form her own party of 'like-minded, homeless politicians'

Eilis O'Hanlon

These days, no crime novel is complete without a blond manic-depressive trudging about in the snow, and the airwaves are positively filled with left-leaning sociologists telling us how life would be so much better if only we followed the Nordic model of equality, social justice and wraparound childcare. Now Scandinavians are taking over political drama on television as well, with the return of Borgen for a third series on BBC Four.

Borgen is possibly a little too antiseptic for some tastes. The interiors are all very Ikea, and the personalities much more buttoned up than viewers might be used to from US drama. This isn't The West Wing. People tend to meet and mutter on misty bridges rather than rush down corridors shouting into cellphones. They can even be a little robotic, which doesn't exactly do much to dispel Scandinavian stereotypes.

But even two episodes in, it's hard to watch the new series without detecting parallels to current events. The latest instalment takes place two years after the end of the last series. Birgitte Nyborg is no longer Danish Prime Minister. Instead, she sits on the board of various companies and is becoming increasingly disenchanted with the direction of the Moderate party she once led, which has now got into bed with the right-wing Freedom Party to tighten immigration laws. By episode two, Nyborg has decided to form her own party for "like-minded homeless politicians", the New Democrats, in the hope of steering the country back in the right direction.

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