Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, actress in Danish show Borgen, talks about the final series.
Scandinavian dramas are certainly experiencing a surge in popularity at the moment, with Danish crime series The Killing (Forbrydelsen) and The Bridge (Broen/Bron) both spurring American and British spin-offs. But before both series aired, political Danish thriller Borgen was making waves of its own and its success has now spilled over into the international circuit. Now in its third and final season, we chat to Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, who plays ambitious young news anchor Katrine Fonsmark.
What’s the secret to the international appeal of Borgen?
The whole political landscape has changed in recent years and everything is up for debate. We might have to find a slightly different way to put together our society. It’s a really interesting time. I feel like there’s more interest in politics [because of Borgen]. A lot of people still think politicians can’t be trusted – but at least they care. And because we show the private lives as well as professional ones, that seems to appeal to a lot of people. We’re very fortunate to be a part of the trend that Wallander and The Killing started. And in the UK, the fact that there are two strong female leads seems to resonate a lot. Maybe in Denmark we’re a bit further ahead in terms of gender equality.
Can you pinpoint the appeal of Borgen for you?
After I did the first round of auditions, I was given the script of the first episode – usually they’re quite rough – but I gasped when I read it. It was a page-turner. I’ve learnt a lot about acting, politics, journalism – and it’s taken me around the world.
If Borgen is about maintaining principles while getting power, is Katrine winning that fight?
I think so. She’s very idealistic but also very driven – a real toughie! And now she’s kind of taken over the problems Birgitte Nyborg [now the former Danish Prime Minister, as the action has moved on by over two years since series two] was dealing with at the beginning as a working mum. Katrine was a fairly egocentric character, so it’s good that she now has to learn the art of compromise. Her mother says she’s still a bit of a child, and mothers tend to be right.
Has playing Katrine changed your view of the media?
The world today is difficult because everything happens so quickly – news can travel so fast, and often without people having the time to fact-check. So I do sympathise with that pressure. But I wish that people would be a bit more idealistic. I think one of the reasons Borgen has such a following is because the characters are actually quite positive people.
Borgen season three, Dhs181, is available at www.amazon.co.uk.