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Nordic Noir: The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction, from Stieg Larsson's bestselling Millennium trilogy to Henning Mankell's brooding Wallander series.

Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north for a documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction - yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn't live to see any of his books published. It is one of the many mysteries the programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre's most acclaimed writers and memorable characters.

It also looks at Henning Mankell's brooding Wallander series, with actor Krister Henriksson describing the challenge of bringing the character to the screen, and it asks why so many stories have a political subtext. The programme finds out how Stieg Larsson based the bestselling Millennium trilogy on his work as an investigative journalist and reveals the unlikely source of inspiration for his most striking character, Lisbeth Salander.

There are also segments on Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian rock star-turned-writer tipped to inherit Larsson's mantle, and Karin Fossum, an author whose personal experience of murder has had a profound effect on her writing.

1 hour

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • The Cure

    A Forest

  • Knife


  • The Hives

    Main Offender

  • Björk


  • Trentemøller

    Always Something Better



  • Sigur Rós


  • Knife


  • Edvard Grieg

    Anitra's Dance

  • Tages

    The Old Man Wafwer

  • Carl Orff

    Veris Leta Facies

  • Maria Callas

    Vissi Darte

  • Fever Ray

    Concrete Walls

  • Jan Johansson

    Liksom en Herdinna

  • The Mars Volta

    Son et Lumiere

  • DJ Cam

    Twilight Zone

  • David Holmes

    Dexter's Appartment

  • Mayhem

    Freezing Moon

  • Leonard Cohen

    The Future


Role Contributor
Narrator Mariella Frostrup
Producer Robert Murphy
Director Robert Murphy
Series Producer Ben Southwell
Executive Producer Michael Poole