This study is part of a research project with Lund University from 2013-2016, ‘Media Experiences’ led by Prof. Annette Hill. This project examines production teams and audiences in Denmark, Sweden and the UK. The aim of this project is to understand how production teams create programmes and how audiences experiences and engage with the media content. We have examined different programmes from reality TV show to documentary films. In this session, the British fans of Nordic Noir ‘The Bridge’ (Denmark/Sweden. Bron/Broen) will be discussed from interview and observation data from Nordicana events: how they engage with the drama.
In this project, people who watched The Bridge (Season 1-3) in the U.K. were interviewed. There are two types of audiences amongst the audiences of The Bridge: one is fans of crime dramas, and another one is ‘Nordic Noir’ fans. BBC4 has been broadcasting foreign language dramas on Saturday nights for two hours (2 episodes per a week). The Killing (2007) has become a successful drama in the U.K. on BBC (Frost 2011). The most of fans of The Bridge are super fans of ‘The Killing’ (Denmark) and Wallander (Sweden). Nordicana (London 2014, 2015) which were promotional events by Arrow Film, provides opportunities fans to meet actors and actresses from Nordic dramas and to screen new dramas from Scandinavia.
The Bridge fans who are middle class, over 40’s -70’s showed multi-layered engagements with the programme. Through the interview at their homes, they also had such as cushions of ‘detective Lund’ or wore ‘Lund Jumper’. When audiences discussed ‘The Bridge’, they often refer or compare the drama with the Killing. Some of them even want to become ‘Media pilgrims’ (Couldry 2003) by visiting the actual locations of ‘The Killing’, or meeting with actresses and actors at the events in London. The patterns of their fandom can be rather a classic way from Jenkins’ view (2013) where today’s fans make their own youtube videos or blogs. Watching BBC2’s foreign quality dramas which are highly complex storyline with subtitles on Saturday night slot gives them cultural capital (Bourdieu 1977). In a way, they were pushed to read alternative sources such as reviews on the Guardians’ website to reassure their understanding of the storylines and discuss what is going on in the Killing as Jenkins’ new fans do. In the age of new and old media, the older fans’ ‘habitus’ are becoming more dynamic between analogue and digital.