Is it really the same audience who fell in love with the dramas who fell out of love with Europe? Borgen, The Killing, The Bridge… I call them Crouch End dinner-party fodder. They’ve got subtitles. Anything with subtitles makes you feel a little bit smarter, a cut above the rest.
Also, it’s still a fairly traditional murder mystery, but the noir approach was something we hadn't seen in a while. We were coming off the back of a run of very traditional shows like Inspector Morse, Taggart, Dalziel & Pascoe, traditional investigators, and this was suddenly a new way of doing it. The slower pacing, the flawed characters – they reinvented the model brilliantly.
“I think an awful lot of people don't even regard Scandinavia as European… Those shows actually feel very removed from everything that was happening with Europe and Brexit.”
The other great thing is that they came in at the same time as Twitter and Facebook, these distractions for when you were watching TV and, suddenly, because these dramas were subtitled, you found that you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen. You couldn’t even eat a takeaway in front of them because you’d look down to eat and you’d miss something vital to the story. So you were engaged in a very different, and a very special way. You couldn’t talk to anyone while it was on.
Also, with regards to Europe, I think an awful lot of people don't even regard Scandinavia as European. Those dramas, and even those countries, are so branded as their own thing, their own place, smart and interesting, with great furniture. We don’t even see them in the same way we look at French or German, or even European. It felt like an insight into their unique world. There hasn’t been a French or German series that has clicked in the same way as the Scandinavian ones. There is something ‘removed’ about those dramas – and, as a result, they also feel very removed from everything that was happening with Europe and Brexit. They were actually a world away from all that.