#13 The Most Dangerous Place In Britain

DS Scott:

I never realised archaeology was such a dangerous business. Is the body count always this high around here, sir?

DCI Barnaby:

It has been remarked upon.

Midsomer Murders — a gentle crime drama now entering its 20th year on British TV — is hugely popular in Sweden.

The setting is quintessentially English — village fetes, church committees, homely pubs. And the key to the show is the tension between this idyllic backdrop and the violence hidden beneath it. Most episodes contain 3+ murders.

It’s hard to imagine how Midsomer Murders could appeal so strongly in the land of Stieg Larsson (Millennium Trilogy) and Henning Mankell (Wallander). So I asked a few colleagues.

Mystery solved. Swedish TV audiences love exactly the thing that I thought would put them off: this show offers English traditions, picture postcard villages and quirky locals to viewers who find such things immensely charming. Just as we in Britain have a rose-tinted view of what Sweden is like, the Swedes have the same in reverse.

I started to joke with my colleagues that other thoroughly British TV shows would soon be making their way to Scandinavia. What about Escape To The Country, in which a couple decide between moving house within the UK or moving to the Costa del Sol?

That’s on Swedish TV every Tuesday and Sunday evening.