At the beginning of the first series, the character goes by her married name of Birgitte Nyborg Christensen, but, in the course of the series, she divorces her husband Philip Christensen and is thereafter known simply as Birgitte Nyborg. In the first episode, Birgitte is the leader of a minority political party, the "Moderates". However, as a result of a sequence of events following a closely fought general election, she finds herself a compromise candidate for the role of Prime Minister of Denmark and remains in this position until the end of the second series. In the elapsed time between the second and third series, Nyborg loses her position and becomes a businesswoman and public speaker, returning in the third series to form a new political party, the "New Democrats".
Origins of the character
The character of Birgitte Nyborg is popularly believed to be based on Denmark's first female prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, even though Thorning-Schmidt was not elected until after the second series of Borgen had been made. Adam Price, the creator of the series, has stated that: "I definitely want you to believe there is a shred of idealism in Birgitte Nyborg that is real. She's also become a very professional political being, but there is definitely that idealism, and that's important."
Sidse Babett Knudsen, who plays Nyborg and assists in developing the script, described her relationship with the character in an interview. "They liked to see a woman feeling guilty and I didn't like that... I think [Nyborg] should be responsible for her feelings. And when she has to make unsympathetic decisions, she should stand by them. I don't want her to feel sorry for herself or suddenly become a soppy mess in her private life, because you wouldn't believe her as a prime minister if she did that."
- BBC Four - Borgen - Birgitte Nyborg. Accessed 20 December 2013
- "Clive James: Losing sleep over beautiful Birgitte", The Telegraph, 20 November 2013. Accessed 20 December 2013
- "Borgen supremacy: DR reveals the secret to its success", The Copenhagen Post, 20 January 2012. Accessed 20 December 2013
- "Sidse Babett Knudsen: 'We had no idea Borgen would have any appeal outside Denmark", The Guardian, 1 February 2012. Accessed 20 December 2013
- "Borgen creator Adam Price on what's next for Birgitte Nyborg in the show's third and final series", The Guardian, 14 November 2013. Accessed 20 December 2013
- "Borgen: Sidse Babett Knudsen interview", The Telegraph, 27 Jan 2012. Accessed 20 December 2013