Fiction crisis at Danmarks Radio, the creator of “Borgen” and “The Killing”

Borgen, The Killing, Bron, Les Héritiers, Les Initiates … All these Danish series have one thing in common: they came out of the incredible factory with international success that has long been the fiction department of the public broadcasting group Danmarks Radio (DR), a real machine to win Emmy Awards.

Today, the flagship of Danish television is teetering. On September 13, fiction director Christian Rank was fired. Two weeks earlier, this producer, appointed to head “DR Drama” in 2018, announced the cancellation of the series. Leonora christina : an ambitious biopic, dedicated to the life of the Countess of Schleswig-Holstein, daughter of King Christian IV, who wrote Jammers Minde, one of the classics of Danish literature, from her prison in Copenhagen, where she spent more than twenty years.

Shock wave

The series was due out in 2024. Filming was due to start in a few weeks. DR cited two reasons for the cancellation. Firstly, “ it became clear that it would not be possible to carry out the project and at the same time stay within the given financial framework ”, specifies the press release. Then the group says they had difficulty recruiting “The experienced forces needed to run a production of this magnitude”. In question : “The very high world demand for television fiction. “

Until a few years ago, producers and TV channels came from all over the world to study the “Danish model”

The cancellation of the series and then the dismissal of the director of the fiction caused a shock wave in Denmark. DR Drama has the status of an institution that has contributed to the influence of the country and its culture abroad. “The lighthouse is collapsing”, headlined the daily Politiken, September 13.

Until a few years ago, producers and TV channels came from all over the world to study the “Danish model”: series produced in-house, with screenwriters hired from the early stages of the project; complex characters; the small plot mixed with the big one, following the rebounds of the news and telling universal stories.

So what happened? DR first made a choice, according to Jakob Isak Nielsen, professor of media studies at Aarhus University: “With the desire not to limit oneself to the genre of Nordic black, the channel has recently produced fairly dark series, of quality, but which have not had such wide success with the public and have perhaps traveled less well. “

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