Borgen (or how the British don't do serious politics)

by / Filed under Thinking

Borgen–the Danish political drama–returns to BBC4 next Saturday. It’s my favourite television programme of the last ten years or so. Apologies if your Danish isn’t that good, but I’ve become fluent through a process of osmosis.

What UK viewers may find odd is the programme’s seriousness. Borgen is a straight drama, something the British are entirely unable to do when it comes to politics. We have made some wonderful political programmes, but they’re all, from Yes, Minister to The Thick of It, satires.

You can interpret this in several ways. British cynicism may reflect a healthy distrust of politicians, a tradition that has helped keep our rulers in check.

I’m not so positive. Ultimately, if we’re don’t engage with politics seriously then the right wins by default. While the British may view politics with distrust, Borgen represents a mature, broad view of the political world.