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Fortitude is latest Nordic Noir must-see

Sky Atlantic’s new Scandinavian drama Fortitude may not be the most authentic model of Nordic Noir but fans of the genre should still check it out.

Groundbreaking TV dramas The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge, brought to the U.K. by BBC4, have established Nordic Noir as a genre in its own right. Now Sky is getting in on the act with The Legacy and Fortitude.

Hardcore fans of the genre may dispute the Nordic Noir credentials of Sky Atlantic’s new big-budget psychological thriller. Fortitude was created and written by British producer Simon Donald and filmed in both the U.K. and Iceland. Nonetheless the show — set in Spitsbergen, Svalbard in the peaceful, close-knit community of Fortitude, which is rocked by a brutal murder after years of no criminal activity at all — has been labelled “Nordic Noir with a British slant.” The stellar cast includes Stanley Tucci, Richard Dormer, Christopher Eccleston, Michael Gambon, Jessica Raine, Sienna Guillory and The Killing‘s Sofie Gråbøl in her first U.K. TV role.

Video credit: Sky Atlantic/YouTube

More: Sky used a life-size polar bear to promote Fortitude on the streets of London

The Bridge

A joint creative and financed production between Sweden and Denmark, The Bridge began with a police investigation into a dead body found on the Øresund Bridge connecting the two Scandinavian countries. The first two series received great critical acclaim, largely due to the intriguing relationship between detective duo Saga Norén,(Sofia Helin) and Martin Rhode (Kim Bodnia), and a third series is in production.

Video credit: Nordic Noir & Beyond/YouTube


Political drama Borgen was another big hit for Danish television. It tells the story of charismatic politician Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) who unexpectedly becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. Critics believed the success of the three-series show was largely due to its strong female characters and uncanny ability to forecast Danish political trends.

Video credit: Nordic Noir & Beyond/YouTube

The Killing

The Killing is a Danish police procedural drama spanning three series and revolving around emotionally distant Detective Inspector Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl), who has an incredible collection of knitted jumpers. A huge hit in Denmark, the U.K and across the world, the show has received several awards and nominations including a Bafta and an International Emmy. In 2011 a U.S. remake was produced by cable network AMC.

Video credit: Nordic Noir & Beyond

More: Who’s flying the flag for the U.K. at this year’s Oscars?

The Legacy

Currently showing on Sky Arts, The Legacy revolves around four siblings trying to cope with the aftermath of their mother’s unexpected death. Veronika Grønnegaard was an eccentric legendary artist and the chaos of her life doesn’t end with her death. As her children attempt to wind up her estate they are forced to confront family secrets and lies. Hailed a “cult classic” by critics, the second series is being shown on Danish TV now so we can expect it on our screens in the not-too-distant future.

Video credit: Sky Arts/YouTube

Fortitude is on Sky Atlantic, Thursdays at 9 p.m. The final episode of The Legacy is on Sky Arts, Wednesday at 10 p.m. The Bridge, The Killing and Borgen are all available on DVD from Amazon.

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