If men like Phillip Christensen existed, I wouldn’t be single. And if (like Birgitte) I were married to a man like Phillip Christensen, there’d be no whisper of the word “divorce”. Birgitte’s question: “How come I don’t spend more time at home with you?” would never pass my lips. Because I’d be out of the office door at 6pm every night.
As things stand, it all ended badly for Birgitte and Phillip. But let’s remember the happier times. Inspired by Phillip’s students, who drew up a list of ten things they’d miss about their lecturer when he left for a short-lived job in the business sector, here are ten things I’ll miss about Borgen’s hunky househusband…
1. His ability to look good in a vest. Normally, a man in a vest is a guaranteed passion killer (think Jim Royle; Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances; Bernard Manning). But on Phillip Christensen it works a treat, showcasing actor Mikael Birkkjaer’s broad shoulders and washboard stomach. Fellow Dane Sarah Lund notoriously sparked something of a fashion trend with her jumper, but let’s hope we don’t see the male of the species jumping on the “Phillip Christensen vest” bandwagon. Because very few men, bless ’em, are built like Mikael Birkkjaer (see also point 10).
2. He’s a great dad. Unlike some fathers I see, struggling to keep control of their unruly brood or, worse still, ignoring them entirely in favour of the weekend papers and a cup of coffee, Phillip actually likes spending time with his children. What’s more, he buys the Coco Pops and makes a mean smoothie, too. Making him not just the fantasy man for single women everywhere (see points 1 and 10), but for harried mothers everywhere, too.
3. His taste in music. Birgitte frequently came home from the stresses and strains of the office to the strains of light jazz in her living room. Her tension would slip away. Normally, I hate light jazz. But the thought that I might open my front door to discover Phillip Christensen sitting there listening to it increases its appeal one-hundredfold.
4. His ability to make Birgitte feel better. She gained weight; he consoled her that the dry cleaner had “shrunk” her suit. She fretted about the way she looked; he reminded her the family were proud of her intelligence and achievements. I strongly suspect Phillip Christensen was dreamed up by a woman. A smart, curvy woman. In full-time employment.
5. His sense of humour. From family to politics to sex, Phillip could laugh about anything. His relationship with Birgitte was always a jokey one. So when the laughs stopped coming in episode eight, we knew the writing was on the wall.
6. He’s not a sleazeball. OK, so he had an affair – but at least he had the good grace to admit it, explain why he did it and look regretful. And when you consider some of the male alternatives – smarmy, underhand politician Michael Laugesen, cowardly news editor Torben Friis, machiavellian spin doctor Kasper Juul, umpteen chauvinistic journalists and misogynist ministers – you soon start to forgive Phillip his little venture off-piste, don’t you?
7. He makes business lectures interesting. We have to take his students’ word for this one, since we only saw Phillip in a lecture hall once. But as a suspiciously high proportion of his students were young, beautiful and female, points 1 and 10 may have come into play when they formed this particular opinion…
8. He isn’t jealous of Birgitte’s success. Think of the Hollywood relationships that have imploded after she won an Oscar and he was still a bit player. Phillip’s supportive of Birgitte’s high-flying job and does his best to accommodate the huge changes it means for their lifestyle. The cracks only start to show after she takes him and his support for granted – and puts a tactless and emphatic stop to his own long-awaited shot at success in business.
9. His romantic nature. When it comes to the crunch and Phillip asks Birgitte for a divorce, it’s because he wants to preserve the sanctity of their old relationship – he isn’t prepared to lie to the electorate and pretend it’s still healthy. (Come on, Birgitte! This marriage can still be saved!)
10. To quote student Freja: “We will miss how good your arse looks in jeans”. I have nothing to add to this. Except perhaps: see also point 1.
Borgen series one is released on DVD on 6 February.