'What the critics say about subtitled Nordic drama'

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


"Who on earth wanted out-of-control Danish cops and politicians drowning in blood and subtitles? Well, we did" (Preston, 2011). If we accept Himmelstein's opinion that the role of the critic "helps us fine-tune our sensibilities so that we may better recognize what makes one work of art special" (1981: xii) then television reviewers can play an important function in signposting texts worth examination and features worth especial attention.

Preston's response to The Killing (BBC4, 2011) conveys the general surprise of television critics, to the popularity of the recent influx of subtitled Danish drama. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to examine the critical response of television reviewers to a selection of Northern European dramas and specifically, their commentary on the public's acceptance of imported drama that is subtitled.

In particular, this study will focus on the reviewers' reactions to The Killing, The Killing II (BBC4, 2011), Borgen (BBC4, 2012) and The Bridge (BBC4, 2012). These texts were selected as not only are they representative of this recent phenomenon (the importation of Nordic dramas) but they were all broadcast in the UK on BBC4. All have received critical acclaim and represent what Firth (2000) describes as 'valuable television' in that they attract quality audiences, to help brand the broadcasting channel (in this case BBC4) and are strong examples of commercial successes in the international market.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventSummer Conference of the Leisure Studies Association 2014: Sport, Festivity and Digital Cultures - University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Jul 20149 Jul 2014
http://www.leisurestudies.org/lsa-events (Conference website.)
https://issuu.com/uniwestofscotland/docs/lsa_conference_booklet_2014 (Conference programme.)
https://issuu.com/uniwestofscotland/docs/lsa_conference_booklet_2014 (Conference Programme)


ConferenceSummer Conference of the Leisure Studies Association 2014
Abbreviated titleLSA 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherLSA 2014, Sport, Festivity and Digital Cultures brings together comparative and contrasting perspectives upon both the digital age in leisure and upon digital practices as leisure - as prevalent in cultural forms, such as sport or festivity and other leisure pursuits. The conference takes place in a particularly important year for both Scotland and the global sporting and cultural communities. Scotland plays host to the XXth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup in 2014 at Gleneagles. Culturally, 2014 also marks the second “Year of Homecoming”, encouraging the successors of the global Scottish diaspora to return home for a year of cultural “extravaganza and festivity.
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