Meet the man behind Borgen: “We were told that this would definitely not travel”

Creator Adam Price talks to RadioTimes.com about his surprise at the astonishing popularity of his Danish drama

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Denmark has already waved farewell to Borgen and in Britain the end is nigh: the third and final series finally reaches our screens tonight. Yet Adam Price is still pinching himself at the popularity of his drama about Danish coalition politics. 

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“We could not believe it and we are still very much astonished,” he tells RadioTimes.com. 
 
“We were told that this would definitely not travel: that the Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders would perhaps buy it out of brotherly love or Scandinavian spirit. But they would air it at two in the morning and that would be it.” 
 
Price (who inherited his name from English ancestors) also explained the success of Denmark’s equivalent of the BBC, DR, although it only makes two dramas a year. Previous exports include The Killing and The Bridge, which were also acclaimed both at home and abroad. 
 
“After they green-light the show – to their great credit – they don’t ask many questions. The secret to the great success of Danish drama is that they believe in the creative people making it. We do not have a lot of executives constantly interfering with the process and changing the scripts because they want to be worth their salaries.”
 
“I hear a lot of French and German writers complaining that their system is too complicated: too many people want a stake in the final product and it gets diluted – the original vision is not clear any more.”
 
While there are no plans for a fourth series of Borgen, Price confirmed he’s collaborating with Michael Dobbs, the Conservative peer who wrote House of Cards. Dobbs has said that the drama will be about a political widow who follows in her husband’s footsteps. 
 
Price is revealing little. “I will quote one of Michael’s greatest works and say just like Mr Urquhart [the MP in House of Cards]: ‘I couldn’t possibly comment!’” 
 
His blue eyes twinkle mischievously. “I’ll just say that there’s a project, we’re working on it and we’re having great fun. And the moment that it’s hopefully commissioned we will be more than happy to talk about it…and obviously we’re not writing a Western!”
 
Like many of his countrymen, the creator of Borgen has long been a fan of British drama. “In Denmark, the UK is widely regarded as the cradle of television drama. I grew up with Upstairs Downstairs, the great Dennis Potter, all your crime shows. And right now Downton Abbey is huge in Denmark. We have a lot of British dramas and we love them.”
 
Borgen begins with a double bill on Saturday 16th November, BBC4, 9.00pm, and the box set is released on December 16th by Arrow Films.


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