Inside Borgen: New Series Teasers

Borgen's creator discusses explains how the show began and offers some teasers to the third series which starts tonight 

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I had been writing a very successful cop show for TV2 when its competitor, DR, asked me if I'd be interested in creating a new series. I immediately wanted to do a drama that had nothing to do with blue flickering lights and dead bodies.

I have always been interested in politics because my parents, who were both heavily involved in the theatre, were members of the Social Democratic Party. Everyone who was doing something cultural at the end of the Sixties, start of the Seventes had some kind of relationship with the party.

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I thought politics would be really interesting, but I fully expected DR to be reluctant; like the BBC, it is regularly accused of being leftish. But they suggested I give it a go, so I started thinking about the impact of a politician's career on his or her private life. My mum always worked and so I've seen the consequences first hand; as a child I was the victim of my parents' ambition and success.

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Almost immediately I came up with Birgitte Nyborg, a Moderate Party MP who is elected Prime Minister. It wasn't about wanting to create a Danish version of The West Wing or even creating a female PM some years before we had our own real life female premier in Denmark. It was rather about looking closely at a woman who wants it all: a great career, a wonderful husband, happy kids, a home life. We're in the age where we think we can have everything – but it's just not possible.

Borgen is basically a feminist project written by three men. All the men in the series are weak. Look no further than Birgitte's former husband, Philip. He's so in love with her, despite having left her for a younger woman; he can't quite let go.

In the new season there's a scene in which you can see a flicker of jealousy when Birgitte tells him about a long lunch she's just had with a potential financier. You watch, thinking, 'Why can't they be together? It's so fucked up!

We had so many letters at the end of season two asking if we were going to bring them back together, but it's the last thing we'd do as it would be too repetitious.

I can see why people have responded to having strong women at the heart of a political thriller, but I'm staggered by the international success of Borgen. It's sold to over 70 countries and right now HBO and BBC Worldwide are considering doing an American remake.

We've had some discussions about how to do the transition from the Danish to the American political system and it's a challenge. But if you move the action to governor level it has the potential to work. That way you can retain as much as possible from the original version — which is not at all bad for a show that no one thought would travel much further than Sweden.

The third series of Borgen begins on BBC Four on 18 November

SEASON THREE TEASERS by Borgen creator, Adam Price

BIRGITTE NYBORG
Former Danish Prime Minister. Now a highly paid public speaker

“In the first season she sacrifices her marriage for politics. In the second season she has to choose between her job and the sanity of her daughter. My god, it shouldn't even have been a choice. She had to take time off to be with her child. It doesn't end there — it only gets worse. In the third season we challenge her even more.”

PHILIP CHRISTENSEN
Nyborg’s ex-husband

“Sometimes men feel let down when they're not praised and they hurry into affairs. Philip does it in a credible way; he gives up his job for Birgitte thus castrating himself professionally. But he will always regret leaving the love of his life.”

JEREMY WELSH
Architect and Nyborg's new love interest

“Jeremy turns up for the first time at the start of the third season. We talked endlessly about what kind of partner Nyborg would find having been PM. Most men would be too impressed. Jeremy takes it in his stride. We see Birgitte trying to shut him out, but he constantly manages to get his foot in the door. And that's the man she needs.”

KATRINE FØNSMARK
Former journalist, now press adviser to Nyborg

“I like the way she's a bitch at the start of the third season. She's had too little resistance for too long. She's awful to her mother. But then again her mother is a bit too pushy and tries to take over the mothering of her child, Gustav. She has a lot to come to terms with in season three.”

KASPER JUUL
Former press advisor to Nyborg, now a TV journalist

“His personal life is so sad: he desperately wants Katrine, the love of his life. But the moment he gets her, he has to run away. He can't trust anyone who loves him. They have had a child together at the start of season three, but they can't be together.“

TORBEN FRIIS
Head of News at TV1

“He's the typical middle man, constantly caught between the journalists and the top bosses of the TV department. In the third season we see his private life and watch a man losing it in a tale of modern stress.”

 

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