Norway Slow TV invades the UK

The Foreigner spoke with a Briton who is documenting the TV phenomenon

Photo: NRK Minute-by-minute coverage of the Hurtigruten is one of the more memorable examples of Norwegian Slow TV. Now the model makes its first entry into the UK.

Photo: NRK
Minute-by-minute coverage of the Hurtigruten is one of the more memorable examples of Norwegian Slow TV. Now the model makes its first entry into the UK.

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

“I made a documentary about NRK’s series of Slow TV programs in connection with my trips to Norway last year,” says producer Tim Prevett. “I interviewed staff from the broadcaster in Oslo and Bergen, and was even present at NRK’s 60-hour live broadcast from Trondheim of the Norwegian Hymn Book.”

According to him, Slow TV is readily identifiable as originating from Norway. It started with the seven hours, 14 minutes of the train journey from Bergen to Oslo. Another famous broadcast was the 134 hours of minute-by-minute coverage of Hurtigruten vessel MS Nordnorge on her voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes.

There were spin-offs in connection with the Hurtigruten event. HM Queen Sonja of Norway accompanied the closing stages of the vessel’s voyage, sailing into Kirkenes on the Royal Yacht Norge.

Hurtigruten gave an 82-year-old pensioner from Sogn og Fjordane Country a free trip from Kirkenes to Bergen after he watched the entire program non-stop, just catching sleep every now and then.

“There is also little research into the genre. And, unlike other productions with producers deciding exactly what people should do and say, those who appear in front of the camera in some Slow TV programs bring their own content. This is very unusual in the world of television,” Tim explains.

The BBC showed its first Slow TV last week. BBC Four’s Goes Slow programs increased viewer figures by 50 percent. Some 400,000 usually watch the channel. An American Slow TV production is scheduled to air in November this year on Black Friday.

Tim Prevett says that his 29-minute documentary That Damned Cow: Just what is Norwegian Slow TV? is being shown at the Nordic Church in Liverpool this May 17 as part of the celebrations. These include a prayer at the Norwegian memorial at the Pier Head on Liverpool’s waterfront and a traditional procession.

He hopes that the production will knit together with people such as those interested in Norwegian culture and those with Norwegian ancestry at the Nordic community. “The documentary was partly spawned by my wish to express a big sense of gratitude. I never expected that I would be able to go to Norway to interview people or be present during the hymn book event in Trondheim,” comments Prevett.

The Foreigner asked Prevett if he has any connections with Norway or Norwegian culture otherwise?

“No. But Trollhunter is one of my favorite films.”

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the May 22, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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