BBC4’s The Killing – BAFTA International Winner 2011

A quick post in celebration of The Killing’s BAFTA win last night.

This low-budget Danish crime drama beat off stiff competition from Mad Men, Glee and Boardwalk Empire to take the International Prize for 2011. There couldn’t have been a more deserving winner in my view: a cracking day for quality Danish and European crime drama.

Lovely footage below of the award and a brief backstage interview with Piv Bernth (producer), Sophie Grabol (Sarah Lund), Soren Svelstrup (writer) and Birger Larsen (lead director).

(If the arrow button doesn’t take you through directly, just click on the ‘Watch on YouTube’ link that appears. Tak!)


For other Mrs. Peabody posts on this programme, click on ‘The Killing’ tag (bottom right-hand side of page). No spoilers 🙂

13 thoughts on “BBC4’s The Killing – BAFTA International Winner 2011

  1. PS, I should clarify – have not ever seen Glee or Broadwalk Empire though I know the latter is about, yawn, US gangsters. I did see the first couple of eps of Mad Men but could not tolerate, made me so angry.

    • I haven’t seen Boardwalk Empire, but loved Mad Men when it first came out and keep meaning to catch up on the series I’ve missed. Thought it was a brilliant dissection of the 60s and a real eye-opener in terms of gender politics (if you can bear another go, I’d advise persevering until the end of the first series: it’s a slow burner that packs an incredible punch at the end). I’m glad that a low-budget, subtitled Euro crime series was able to push MM to one side, though. It really is a remarkable win on the part of The Killing, given the money that’s poured into US series and the level of promotion they receive.

  2. That is good news for us serious crime drama viewers.
    I am enjoying the U.S. version these days, especially the lead actor who plays Sarah Linden, just a wonderful character and portrayal.
    However, I do wish we could get this Danish version over here, however that can be done.
    I don’t watch Mad Men, thought it would aggravate me no end, though friends like it as a parody. I can’t stand watching racism and sexism, but, hey, that’s just me. I’d be growling at the television. And I won’t watch gangsters, no appeal.
    Glee is fun actually, and the main stars are very talented and popular — and Jane Lynch is terrific.

    • Hi Kathy – I’m glad to hear that the US version is good, and that the lead actress is strong, though I do continue to wonder why the original could not have been shown in the States as it was here in the UK. Why do you think that is? Would foreign-language content and subtitling really put people off? I hope you get to see the original some day (possibly DVD?), as it is superb.

      Interesting to see the divided opinion on Mad Men. I thought it was a fascinating dissection of the difficulties women faced in the 1960s, especially in terms of fighting gender stereotypes and building a successful career. Watching it made me appreciate how far we have come (though arguably we still have a way to go…!).

  3. On the Danish version of The Killing, subtitles is one issue. Movie and tv viewers in the States do not watch many movies or programs with subtitles. It’s just not done much here. (It’s also true of books; not too many readers here read global, translated fiction.)
    The U.S. is very provincial in many ways, which is strange, given how many people live here and come from all over the globe, but they mostly live in big urban centers.
    Also, other things were changed. Some plot lines were changed, the killer was changed, or so I’ve read. The issue of anti-Muslim bigotry is an issue in the U.S. version, as a few suspects are Muslim and go to a mosque regularly.
    Any cultural themes or issues that would be seen as intrinsic to Denmark or to Europe would probably have been Americanized.
    I’d have to see the original Danish program to figure this out in depth.

    • Thanks, Kathy. I’d have to admit that The Killing was a bit of an exception in terms of its viewing figures and the excitement it generated the UK. It’s not typical for the UK either that a subtitled foreign language programme is such a success. And it’s mainly thanks to one TV channel – BBC4 – that Euro crime is becoming a bit more mainstream here. So there’s much the same problem this side of the pond, but with the key difference that the BBC was willing to take a bit of a risk, and it paid off royally. I was struck by a number of viewer comments on this blog that noted – with surprise – that the subtitles didn’t impede their enjoyment of The Killing. I’d like to think that those viewers will now be more likely to watch foreign-language films and TV as a result. Hope so.

      The question of what changes have been made to the US version of The Killing is a fascinating one! For info – the anti-Muslim theme is very much present in the Danish version as well. But a different killer?! Ooooh! Would be very interested to learn the reasons behind that change. Will make for a very interesting comparative study, as you say.

  4. I’ll know what’s in the U.S. version of The Killing, obviously. But I have read articles on the Web that say the killer has been changed.
    I am also curious as to what’s been changed. I would have to find a dvd of the Danish version or else read plot summaries of it online intensively.
    After the whole series is finished here, then I’ll try to find the European version sum ups to read.
    The Sarah Linden character is fascinating. She is more like a real person than any police investigator I’ve seen, except perhaps Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect, but Sarah Linden’s personality and ideosyncracies and much more are right out there to see. She is very human, the problems with the ex-husband, the current personal partner, the cop partner and her son — and obsessing over cases to the exclusion of all else, a quite interesting character.

    • Sounds like the US version is being pretty faithful in its characterisation of Sarah (good!).

      It would be interesting to compare the two versions, but I’m actually not sure whether I will want to watch the US version as the Danish one was so superb. There’s a post on Euro Crime with an intriguing little poll it carried out with viewers of TK. One of the questions was whether those who had already seen the Danish version would watch the US version (which will be shown on TV in the UK in the autumn, apparently). Quite a high proportion said no. See

      Anyhow, enjoy the rest of the series!

  5. Next episode, no. 11, cops were inept and got overwhelmed by their own family and other problems, so not much done on the case. Seem to have zipped over to a gambling casino, and trying to get legal access–a problem. So cops waiting for access. So this is where Rosie went on the Adela ferry. Meanwhile, children lost and found.

    • Hi Kathy. Almost none of that synopsis made any sense to me in relation to the Danish version, which is telling me there are significant differences between the two!

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