Scandi-geeks descend on Nordicana fan-convention

The cultural phenomenon from the region which has given us series such as The Bridge, Borgen and The Killing shows no sign of slowing

Normally the preserve of Spiderman and Star Trek devotees, the “fan-convention” was over the weekend given a new – albeit very tasteful – look, as several hundred “Scandi-geeks” descended on Nordicana, the UK’s first show celebrating Nordic fiction, film and TV.

The cultural phenomenon from the region which has given us series such as The Bridge, Borgen and The Killing shows no sign of slowing. A third series of Borgen is due to be aired in January, starring British actor Alastair Mackenzie.

Such is the devoted following these TV series attract, they are now emulating comic book aficionados’ autograph hunting get-togethers. In between talks with actors and writers of the hit shows, fans at the event in central London shopped for beautiful light fittings, strange woollen footwear and a smorgasbord or two of unappetising meat, washed down with a glass of Nordic vodka.

“I’m here because I love Scandinavian stuff!” said 18-year-old Alice Matthews from Kent, whose mother spent three months knitting her a Faroese jumper at her request. “I really want to go to Sweden and do the Wallander tour. I’ve been inspired to go to Scandinavia because of all these shows.”

For here, rather than the exotic costumes in homage to favourite superheroes and heroines, men and women adopted a more casual attire befitting the put upon Swedish and Danish characters which have dominated our screens in recent years. Women proudly wore Sarah Lund Faroese jumpers whilst others dressed as the leather-clad Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

“A lot of people have actually told me I look her [Lisbeth Salander], said Joanna Kapetaniou, 33, a designer. “I love everything Scandinavian. I first saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo when it first came out and I was hooked. I went to Copenhagen just because I watched Borgen and I wanted to see the parliament and everything.”

Whilst Chuquai (corr) Billy, 50, a comedian originally from the US but now living in London, said as well as coming to see the stars he “also came here to find out more about Scandinavian life.”

Whilst one million viewers tuned in to watch the final series of The Killing and Borgen attracted around 650,000 for its first season, it’s not just the audience this particular brand of television is having an effect.

Sidse Babett Knudsen, who, in her native country is considered one of the finest actors of her generation, said in an audience Q&A, she was only getting used to the attention: “The press has become much more… raw in Denmark in a very short time,” she said. “To us it’s quite new and paparazzi’s are a very new phenomenon - I’ve been followed by paparazzi’s. So it’s the new black in our country.”

She added however, that there was no mystery to Borgen’s success: “I think it is just a good old-fashioned classical drama. So much is going on in TV right now – some of it experimental - but this is really, really classical and there’s something nostalgic and social about that. It’s really unpretentious and easy to take in.”

The expo, rather appropriately, was set in a disused Victorian warehouse in Clerkenwell – one time manor of the notorious Adams family crime syndicate. And, as the rain began to pour – and not just any rain, mind – the kind of atmospheric, heavy drizzle any set designer from The Killing would be proud of - one could be forgiven for feeling like a TV extra.

UK crime writer Ann Cleeves said great story-telling about countries that are in reality often far removed from the British public’s imagination was part of the reason for their great success.

Cleeves, who is attending the expo to discuss her Shetland novels that will be turned into a six-part BBC One series next year starring Douglas Henshall following a successful pilot, told The Independent: “People had this image of Sweden being an amazing country, a social paradise full of beautiful blonde people.

When Mankell and Larsson wrote about the undercurrents of fascism and violence it was so new to us. Countries with bleak landscapes tend to have hidden secrets and, combined with great story-telling, it has proven to be a very fashionable formula.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices