Borgen (TV series)
|Created by||Adam Price|
|Written by||Adam Price
Jeppe Gjervig Gram
|Directed by||Søren Kragh-Jacobsen
|Starring||Sidse Babett Knudsen
Birgitte Hjort Sørensen
|Country of origin||Denmark|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||30 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||26 September 2010– present|
Borgen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈb̥ɒːˀwən]) is a Danish one-hour political drama television series. It tells the story of charismatic politician Birgitte Nyborg who unexpectedly becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. "Borgen" ("the Castle") is the nickname of Christiansborg Palace, which houses all three of Denmark's branches of government: the Parliament, the Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court.
The series stars Sidse Babett Knudsen as Birgitte Nyborg Christensen. The other main actors are Pilou Asbæk as troubled spin doctor Kasper Juul, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as ambitious news anchor Katrine Fønsmark, and Søren Malling as Torben Friis, editor-in-chief for TV1 News.
The show is created and written by producer Adam Price and co-writers Jeppe Gjervig Gram and Tobias Lindholm. It is produced by DR, the Danish public broadcaster that has also produced another international Danish hit series, The Killing.
Thirty episodes, divided into three seasons, have been produced. The series was first shown in Denmark in the autumns of 2010 and 2011. A third season premiered on 1 January 2013. Prior to the airing of the third season, Price revealed that this was likely to be the final season of Borgen.
|Aicha Nagrawi||Fadime Turan||Solidarity Party member|
|Amir Diwan||Dar Salim||Green Party leader, Energy and Climate Minister|
|Anne Sophie Lindenkrone||Signe Egholm Olsen||Solidarity Party leader|
|Benedikte Nedergaard||Marie Askehave||Freedom Party politician|
|Bent Sejrø||Lars Knutzon||Finance Minister (Moderate Party)|
|Bjørn Marrot||Flemming Sørensen||Foreign Minister, Labour Party Leader (replacing Laugesen)|
|Birgitte Nyborg Christensen||Sidse Babett Knudsen||Prime Minister and Moderate Party leader|
|Cecelie Toft||Mille Dinesen||Paediatrician and girlfriend to Phillip Christensen|
|Hanne Holm||Benedikte Hansen||Journalist on TV1, later Ekspres journalist|
|Hans Christian Thorsen||Bjarne Henriksen||Defence Minister (Labour)|
|Henriette Klitgaard||Stine Stengade||Minister for business (Moderate Party)|
|Jacob Kruse||Jens Jacob Tychsen||EU Minister (Moderate Party), later EU Commissioner|
|Jytte||Hanne Hedelund||Prime Minister's secretary|
|Jørgen Hedegård||Olaf Johannessen||Soldier's father|
|Kasper Juul||Pilou Asbæk||Journalist and Communications Chief for Birgitte Nyborg|
|Katrine Fønsmark||Birgitte Hjort Sørensen||TV1 presenter|
|Lars Hesselboe||Søren Spanning||Leader of the Liberal Party; Prime Minister at start of series and season 3|
|Lisbeth Hesselboe||Ida Dwinger||Wife of Lars Hesselboe|
|Michael Laugesen||Peter Mygind||Labour Party Leader (start of series), then editor of the Ekspres newspaper|
|Niels Erik Lund||Morten Kirkskov||Prime Minister's Permanent Secretary|
|Ole Dahl||Claus Riis Østergaard||Communications Chief for Lars Hesselboe|
|Pernille Madsen||Petrine Agger||Labour Party deputy leader; Minister for Equality (later Minister of Finance)|
|Phillip Christensen||Mikael Birkkjær||Lecturer at Copenhagen Business School; Husband of Birgitte Nyborg|
|Pia Munk||Lisbeth Wulff||TV1 editor|
|Sanne||Iben Dorner||Prime Minister's personal assistant|
|Svend Åge Saltum||Ole Thestrup||Freedom Party leader|
|Tanja||Patricia Schumann||TV1 make-up artist|
|Torben Friis||Søren Malling||TV1 editor-in-chief|
|Troels Höxenhaven||Lars Brygmann||Justice Minister and Labour Party Deputy Leader|
|Ulrik Mørch||Thomas Levin||TV1 journalist|
|Yvonne Kjær||Jannie Faurschou||New Right leader|
Political parties and media
- The Moderates (De Moderate), Birgitte Nyborg's centre-left party in the first two series, is based on the Danish Social Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre)
- The Labour Party (Arbejderpartiet) is based on the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterne)
- The left-wing environmentalist Green Party (Miljøpartiet) is similar to the Socialist People's Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti)
- The far-left Solidarity Party (Solidarisk Samling) is similar to the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten)
- The centre-right Liberal Party (De Liberale) is based on Venstre
- New Right (Ny Højre) is similar to the right-wing Conservative People's Party (Konservative Folkeparti)
- The far-right Freedom Party (Frihedspartiet) is stated by party leader Svend Åge Saltum to be a successor party to Mogens Glistrup's Progress Party (Fremskridtspartiet), just like its real-life successor Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti)
Following the 2011 parliamentary election, the Social Liberals, the Socialist People's Party, and the Social Democrats did form a coalition government, with parliamentary support from the Red-Green Alliance, and with Helle Thorning-Schmidt becoming Denmark's first female prime minister (though, in the real-life coalition, the Social Democrats were the leading party).
The fictional broadcasters and newspapers also have their real-life equivalents: the public broadcaster TV1 is based on DR1, the tabloid newspaper Ekspres is inspired by Ekstra Bladet, and the commercial TV2 is very similar to the real TV 2.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release dates|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 2 (Denmark)||Region 2 (UK)||Region 1 (US)|
|1||10||26 September 2010||28 November 2010||23 December 2010||6 February 2012||12 March 2013|
|2||10||25 September 2011||27 November 2011||29 November 2011||4 February 2013||25 June 2013|
|3||10||1 January 2013||10 March 2013||14 November 2013||16 December 2013||21 January 2014|
The series has been well received by critics and audiences alike. It became a hit in the UK as well as Denmark, becoming one of several Danish series to do so in recent years. Maggie Brown of the Guardian cited the strong female characters, originality and an ability to "uncannily forecast actual developments in Danish politics" as reasons for its success Jane Merrick of The Independent published a list of similarities from Borgen series 2 to actual events in present day UK politics following the conclusion of series 2 in the UK.
The US critics have been similarly positive, with Newsweek dubbing Borgen "the best TV show you have never seen" and bestselling novelist and Entertainment Weekly columnist Stephen King put the series on the top of his top 10 list of the best TV shows of 2012. The New York Times also offered praise, describing Borgen as a "bleaker, Nordic version of The West Wing" and saying it "finds a remarkable amount of drama and suspense in center-left alliances, pension plans and televised debates."
With several middle of the road 3/6 star ratings, the Danish media’s reaction to the third series was noticeably less positive than for the first two series. Politiken commented that the third series “ended like a soap opera” and “never succeeded in breaking free from predictability”; with Berlingske's review declaring that whilst the third series “tied up the loose ends in pretty bows and was, like the rest of the series, well performed, it was also insidiously dull”. Tabloid paper BT however claimed that the series "finished on a peak" and with this third season had "become the best Danish series in years". The critique came after several months where storylines from the third series in an unprecedented manner for a Danish drama series had sparked media headlines and created hefty debates in real life Danish politics on, among other issues, prostitution and pig farming, epitomised by Danish MP Mai Henriksen from Conservative People's Party, who was widely accused by colleagues and journalists of advocating a bill of rights for prostitutes, solely because she was inspired by Borgen.
|International Emmy Award||2012||Best Performance by an Actress||Sidse Babett Knudsen||Nominated|
|Monte Carlo TV Festival||2011||Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Sidse Babett Knudsen||Won|
|2013||Best International Drama TV Series||Borgen III||Nominated|
|Best European Drama TV Series||Borgen III||Won|
|Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Birgitte Hjort Sørensen||Nominated|
|British Academy Television Awards||2012||International Prize||Borgen||Won|
|Prix Italia||2010||Best TV Drama - Series and Serials||Borgen||Won|
|Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels||2011||Best TV Series and Serials||Borgen||Won|
|TV Series and Serials: Best Music||Halfdan E||Won|
Awards for the show include the 2010 Prix Italia for best drama series, a Golden Nymph to Sidse Babett Knudsen for Outstanding Actress in a drama series at the 2011 Monte-Carlo Television Festival., and the Fipa Grand Prize for Best TV Series as well as for Best Original Soundtrack at the 2011 Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels. The program also won the award for Best International TV series at the 2012 British Academy Television Awards.
The series has been sold to a number of broadcasters outside Denmark:
- Norwegian NRK1 started broadcasting the first season on Monday 11 October 2010., the second season on Monday 16 April 2012 and the third season on Monday 25 February 2013
- Swedish SVT1 started broadcasting the first season on Wednesday 2 February 2011 with over 500,000 viewers and started airing the second season on Monday 14 May 2012. The first episode of season two was the tenth most popular programme on SVT1 in its week, with an audience of 645,000 viewers. Episode 9 of series 2 was the sixth most watched programme on SVT1 during its week with 560,000 viewers. The third series will start at the end of April 2013.
- Finland's FST5 started broadcasting the first season on 31 August 2011 with both Swedish and Finnish subtitles and started airing the second season on 28 March 2012.
- US satellite and cable channel Link TV started broadcasting season 1 on Saturday 29 October 2011. Link TV is a service of KCETLink, a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network.
- British BBC Four started broadcasting the first season on Saturday 7 January 2012, with a repeat showing from Wednesday 13 June 2012 through the summer. The second season commenced on 5 January 2013. Initial overnight viewing figures were over the one million mark for the first episode of series two considerably up on the previous series debut episode. The third series began on 16 November 2013, with two one-hour episodes being shown back-to-back on BBC Four on Saturday evenings.
- South Korean JTBC started broadcasting the first season on Sunday 8 January 2012.
- French/German channel Arte started broadcasting the first season on 9 February 2012. The second season aired from 22 November 2012 and the third from 3 October 2013.
- The Dutch pay television channel Film1 Series broadcast the first season, beginning on 17 January 2012, and started the second season on 17 July 2012. The Dutch channel VARA started to broadcast the first season on Thursday 17 January 2013.
- The Flemish public broadcasting channel Canvas started broadcasting the first season on Wednesday 5 September 2012.
- The French-Canadian ARTV part of CBC started the first series on Thursday 13 September 2012.
- The Swiss public broadcasting channel SRF 1 started broadcasting the show on 28 August 2012 in German, RTS Un followed on 2 September 2012 in French.
- Greek public broadcasting channel New Hellenic Television (NET) started broadcasting on 18 October 2012. Previously aired episodes are also available on ERT's web TV. The 3rd season of the series will be broadcast in Greece on Thursday 21/03/13. Each episode attracts from 300,000 to 600,000 viewers.
- The Estonian public broadcaster ETV started airing Borgen on 22 September 2012. Season 3 is in the current run.
- Australia's SBS has purchased the series to start on April 24, 2013.
- In Turkey Dizimax Drama started broadcasting the first season on Monday 7 January 2013.
- In Croatia HRT 3 started broadcasting the first season on Tuesday 12 February 2013. The first two seasons were repeated on HRT 1 in the summer. Season 3 started on HRT 1 on Thursdays from 5 December 2013.
- In México Canal 22, a cultural channel of Mexican government, started broadcasting the first and second seasons from January to April 2013, with the Spanish name of "La esfera del poder".
- In Southern and Central California, KCET, started broadcasting the first season on May 17, 2013 and the second season on July 26, 2013. Season 3 will begin airing on Oct. 4, 2013. KCET is a service of KCETLink, a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network.
- In the Republic of Ireland the show airs on TG4 from fall 2013. The series is subtitled in the Irish language.
- In Israel the show premiered on 19 January 2013 on channel yes Oh (and its mirror channel yes Oh HD), three days before the general elections in Israel. Borgen starts when the general elections in Denmark are three days away.
- In Italy the channel "La F", little cultural channel, started the first season on May 2013, with the name "Borgen - Il potere" (Borgen - The power).
- The Bulgarian Nova TV channel started airing the series on June 9, 2013 as "The Government".
- In Japan Super! Drama TV started broadcasting the first season in July 2013.
- Kosovar television broadcaster Kohavision started broadcasting the series in July 2013.
- In Poland Ale Kino+ started broadcasting the first season in August 2013.
- Slovenia started with Season 1 on October 6, 2013. New episodes air every Sunday on RTVSLO at 8.00 pm under the title "Oblast". The series airs against stiff competition from commercial channels which show at the same time Top Gear, a popular reality show "Gostilna išče šefa" (Restaurant is looking for a Chef), and a folk music show "Raketa" (The Rocket).
In September 2011, it was announced that NBC would produce a US remake of Borgen, with a pilot being developed by David Hudgins and Jason Katims of Friday Night Lights fame. The series has yet to materialize.
DVDs of the first two series have been made available in Denmark and the UK among other countries. Both are coded Region 2 format and consist of the complete episodes as screened on DR1 and BBC4.
|DVD Name||Episodes||Release dates|
|Region 2 (Denmark)||Region 2 (UK)|
|The Complete First Series||10||23 December 2010||6 February 2012|
|The Complete Second Series||10||29 November 2011||4 February 2013|
|The Complete First and Second Series||20||28 November 2012||4 February 2013|
|The Complete Third Series||10||3 October 2013||2014|
A novelisation of the first series of Borgen was released in Denmark, The Netherlands and France on 19 February 2013. The Danish release from DR in conjunction with publisher Lindhardt & Ringhof is written by Jesper Malmose. Head of DR Sales Anders Kjærsgaard Sørensen hopes to have the book available in the UK soon.
On 26 February 2013, DR Salg, the commercial distribution arm of DR, made Borgen (Original TV Series Soundtrack), nineteen tracks of Halfdan E's original compositions for the show, available for digital download on iTunes.
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- "Borgen series three will likely be its last, reveals the show's creator". Radio Times. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- "Ten Things I'll Miss About Borgen's Phillip Christensen". Radio Times. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
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- "여총리 비르기트". JTBC. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
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- "Borgen Series 1". Canvas. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- "Une femme au pouvoir". La Presse.ca. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "BORGEN" (in Greek). ERT online. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- "NET program on Thursday 18/10/2012" (in Greek). ERT online. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- "Συνωμοσίες εξουσίας" [Power conspiracies] (in Greek). ERT online. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
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- "Nordic noir raises the standard". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
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