From the makers of Denmark's The Killing and Borgen: a costume drama

Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:34pm EDT
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By Annabella Nielsen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark has launched a new television series that it hopes will emulate the global success of its previous hits Borgen and The Killing but, eschewing contemporary murder and political twists, it has moved into an entirely new landscape -- historical drama.

With the same actors and producers as the Scandinavian Noir dramas that were watched by millions around the world, Danish state-funded broadcaster DR says '1864' keeps the same recipe of character development and melancholy to get viewers hooked.

The series, the first episode of which aired on Sunday, follows the childhood friendship of two brothers and a girl, which turns into an emotional love triangle as they grow up in the years leading up to the 1864 war with Germany.

Denmark suffered a humiliating defeat in what is known as the Second Schleswig War, for which the brothers volunteer.

DR's Head of Drama Piv Bernth said the show has already been signed to air in Britain on BBC4 and although moving into period drama, traditionally a BBC forte, was a departure she hoped others could relate to.

"1864 is a tale about the birth of a nation and about how Denmark rises after the loss of land to Germany, and I believe that many other countries can relate to that, as all European countries more or less were at war in the 19th century," Bernth told Reuters on the phone while in Cannes.

Bernth, who was also the producer of The Killing, says despite the BBC and other contracts, DR has always stayed loyal to its main audience.

"We make television for Danes, being a Danish public service station. You cannot design something just to go abroad ... But sometimes you just hit the right note and it becomes relatable outside the country's borders," she said.   Continued...