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TELEVISION Norway

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Norwegian pubcaster NRK readying two major series

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- After the international success of Nobel - Peace at Any Price, next on the line-up of Norwegian TV dramas are State of Happiness and Home Ground

Norwegian pubcaster NRK readying two major series
Nobel - Peace at Any Price by Per-Olav Sørensen

Norwegian TV drama has found its place in the international television market, most recently with Norwegian director Per-Olav Sørensen’s Nobel - Peace at Any Price, which won this year’s Prix Europa for Best Mini-Series and was licensed to more than 190 countries by London’s DRG. 

Starring Norwegian actors Aksel HennieAnders Danielsen Lie and Christian Rubeck, and Swedish actress Tuva Novotny, the series aired by Norwegian pubcaster NRK follows a Norwegian soldier in the special forces: during a NATO operation in Afghanistan, he is caught up in a tricky political conspiracy, which has a huge impact on his life, his family and, in the end, Norway as a nation.

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Produced by Oslo’s Monster Scripted for NRK, and launched last September, the seven episodes of Nobel - Peace at Any Price have enticed more than one million viewers each – one-fifth of the country’s population. And last week, the Norwegian public broadcaster announced the two additional TV drama series that will take its place in 2018, both filming from early 2017: State of Happiness and Home Ground

Norwegian director Petter Næss, whose Elling [+see also:
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 (2001) was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign-language Film, besides selling 800,000 cinema tickets in Norway, and who has since made more than 50 films and stage plays, will helm State of Happiness, a €10.1 million, 8x45-minute drama series about the Norwegian oil adventure. 

Scripted by Nobel writer Mette M Bølstad, who also supplied the screenplay for Sørensen’s series The Heavy Water War (2015), State of Happiness describes the personal, political and social changes that took place in Stavanger during the first few years of the Norwegian oil adventure. Once one of the poorest cities in Norway, the rise of Stavanger is seen through the lives of four young people, from the moment the first Ekofisk oil field was discovered in 1969, until the international energy company Statoil was founded in 1972. The series will be produced by Synnøve Hørsdal and Ales Ree for Oslo’s Maipo Film.

Meanwhile, retired Norwegian professional footballer and Aston Villa striker John Carew will play one of the leads in Home Ground, a €7.7 million, ten-part drama created and mostly written by Johan Fasting, which Oslo’s Motlys will produce for NRK under the direction of Arild AndresenCecilie MoseidYngvild Sve FlikkeEirik Svensson and Stian Kristiansen. Carew will play an ageing player who has returned to Norway to finish his career, while Norwegian actress Ane Dahl Torp will be the first female first-division football trainer, working for the fictional Varg Club in Ulsteinvik.

But Fasting has emphasised that this is not just a series aimed at those audiences who are already interested in football. “It’s a story about a female football coach who has taken over a male top team, which has happened in France, but not yet in Norway. It is about much more than just being a coach – the fact that a woman walks into this top position in a male-dominated profession allows many more people to recognise the challenges she faces,” he concluded. 

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