Saturday, 7 January 2012


Fielding press fire, Birgitte Nielborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) takes to the political spotlight in BORGEN. Images: DBC.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Well, rising star politician turned Prime Minister Birgitte Nielborg (played by the lovely Sidse Babett Knudsen) is going to find out whether this is true the hard way in the new Danish political drama series BORGEN, created by Adam Price, showing in double-bill episodes starting from tonight on the UK's BBC 4 (and BBC HD): a channel which continues to deserve its great success and accolades in showcasing great overseas drama within their now unique and unmissable Saturday night strands, having first hit the big-time when they lucked out with the incredible popularity and general addictiveness that was the original and best version of THE KILLING. In fact, one of BORGEN's likely strengths is that its from the same producers/writers of that show, which had strong doses of government intrigue and skulduggery hard-wired into its sub-plots, so we can expect high quality writing and characterisation, strong casting and atmospheric direction within the cold, often repressed, but intriguing climes of Denmark. Borgen is the actual setting for the show, the name of the Danish parliament (also known as the Gothic sounding "The Castle"!) where all the drama begins for the aforementioned Nielborg, a sharply intelligent and determined woman whose rise to fame in the political arena as both a politician and role-model wife/mother sees her quickly having to live up to the strong ideals she promised her constituents when originally elected to office. But with so much corruption, power plays, forged alliances, frightening Spin Doctors and back stabbing from both colleagues within her own party and from her bitter, revenge fuelled rivals, is it possible to maintain such a strong defencive wall to forge ahead with what needs to be done, and at the same time maintain a healthy and happy family life against the pressures and consequences of office? Will the unwanted road to compromise surely become inevitable?

Family values. Birgitte with husband Phillip (THE KILLING's Mikael Birkkjaer) and children at a press frenzy.

Terrific series title sequence: Borgen - Title sequence & identity on the Behance Network

With a strong and believable central performance from Knudsen, and fine acting support from the likes of Johan Philip Asbaek as Birgitte's clever Spin Doctor Kasper Jull, and Birgitte Hjort Sorenson as his ex-girlfriend, fiery and ambitious newswoman Katrine Fonsmark, adding interest to the series concurrent sub-plot strands, its no wonder that BORGEN's original ten episode run, dubbed by some critics the "Danish West Wing" would go on to great critical and public acclaim within its home territory, along with sure-fire second and third season commissions. Plans are also underway for a re-make by the US TV channel NBC, following the prior AMC success in adapting THE KILLING, where it will surely be intriguing to see who they cast in the lead role, and whether the chosen actress can live up to what has been established on screen by the charismatic Knudsen...

Birgitte holds her own in a political debate during the opening episode.
Birgitte with her main men: advisers Bent Serjo (Lars Knutzon) and Kasper Juul (Johan Philip Asbaek) 

BORGEN will also be released on DVD in the UK from 6th February from AMAZON: Borgen - Series 1 [DVD]: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Johan Philip Asbæk, Mikael Birkkjær, Søren Malling, Thomas Levin, Emil Poulsen, Freja Riemann, Adam Price: Film & TV)

Season Two of BORGEN is also available on DVD outside the UK. 

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