Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Nordic Noir’

Nothing Like a Murder before Bedtime

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 6th May, 2017

Nordic NoirThe German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, once confessed that her favourite television programme is Midsomer Murders. This raised a few eyebrows, but I completely understand. Those of us who have busy and sometimes stressful lives, especially if this involves lots of face-to-face contact with strangers, need to wind down from time to time. And there is nothing like a good murder mystery to lift one out of one’s daily concerns and send one to bed somehow relaxed. Psychologists would doubtless have an explanation for this, not necessarily sublimation. I used to like Midsomer Murders too, though these days I find it a bit too formulaic and occasionally archly twee. Much more my style are the sometimes extremely gruesome Nordic Noir series that BBC Channel 4 broadcasts on Saturday nights, especially the ones from Denmark. The acting is often superb, the stories imaginative and the settings spectacularly atmospheric. The fact that they are sub-titled, not dubbed into English, is a definite plus as far as I am concerned, as one really enters into the spirit of the programme. Actually, I don’t own a television (though I do have a TV licence), so I watch them on my desktop computer, whose screen is as big as many TVs. That means I can complete my evening’s work at my desk and just switch over to iPlayer, journalism and politics pushed to one side, as I settle down to the latest grisly murder drama. So, guys, what’s on tonight?

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The Bridge

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 24th August, 2014

The BridgeI have only seen the second series of the TV crime drama The Bridge, but it made me an instant convert to Nordic Noir. The dynamic between the two mismatched detectives, one Danish, one Swedish, is quite special, as is the observation of their dysfunctional private lives. For those who haven’t seen the programme, its plots span the narrow divide separating Copenhagen from Malmo, and the Oresunds Bridge that provides both a rail and road link between the two cities also provides the title of the series, as well as being one of its most striking stars. The bridge didn’t exist the last time I was in Copenhagen for more than just a stopover, so of course I had to make a pilgrimage over it — by tran, in my case, which was remarkably simple, as even on a Sunday there seemed to be trains every ten minutes or so, and the journey takes just over half an hour. I found Malmo this morning packing up from the Malmo Festival, which ended on Friday, but that meant that there were no great crowds. In fact, the city was virtually empty and I easily found a table in the sun at the Gustav Adolf restaurant for lunch. The bridge has really boosted Malmo, which used to belong to Denmark, but then became something of a backwater when absorbed into Sweden. There are some lovely buildings and squares, and a beautiful cemetery garden right in the centre of town. Well worth a day trip from Copenhagen (and, no, I didn’t see any criminal activity of any sort, least of all a kidnapping or murder).

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