Do You Know What Slow TV Is ? by Tim Prevett
Ever wondered what makes Slow TV so popular, especially in Norway? Hours of a train journey, canal trip and even fishing? A Stretford film producer is giving a talk and screening of a documentary about Slow TV to shed a little more light on the genre’s story, its surprises and, in short, how to make Slow TV – like a Viking!
The Slow TV productions in Norway have grabbed huge audiences – 36% of the available audience tuned in for a 5 day voyage along Norway’s coast, 15% tuned in to the very first 7 hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo. The BBC’s own ‘BBC4 Goes Slow’ added nearly 50% to the channel’s usual audience, increasing from 2% to 2.8% of the market – that’s a further 200,000 viewers. More Slow TV in the UK wanted.
“That Damned Cow – Just what is Norwegian Slow TV?” explores the genre’s story interviewing producers, participants and distributors of some of the best known shows. The film is made by Tim Prevett, a Masters Degree television documentary production student from Salford University’s MediaCity UK site.
Tim also had the opportunity to film behind the scenes at a 60 hour live continuous Slow TV event in Norway last November which was covering the entire 899 songs in the Norwegian Hymn Book, during which Tim was interviewed live on Norwegian national TV.
Tim comments “What sets Slow TV apart from other kinds of TV is that it is more relaxing and when done in a way which allows public participation a kind of magic happens where people bring their own content to a broadcast. Slow TV is about a journey or activity being celebrated in the time it actually takes to do it.
Not with bits cut out or sped up. That’s what makes it ‘slow’. With BBC4 Goes Slow last month and an American Slow TV production in November, this sort of telly is about to get a lot more attention. When done to the right formula it generates an unforgettable broadcast event out of a surprising subject”.
The Slow TV talk is the second of two free talks hosted by The Ragged University at The Castle Hotel; the first talk is “Making Manchester a Centre of Excellence for Dyslexia” by Roger Broadbent.
Slow TV’s profile has grown since it emerged in Norway in 2009. NRK2, the second channel of the state broadcaster has been the pioneer in developing this real time marathon event broadcast format, taking surprise ratings at home and gaining global attention. Train journeys, a ferry voyage, knitting and singing a hymn book over sixty hours are some of the Slow TV subjects which NRK has shown.
“That Damned Cow”, subtitled “Just what is Norwegian Slow TV?” is a documentary which asks exactly that. It sets out NRK’s narrative through interviews with key NRK staff in Bergen and Oslo, from inception to international distribution.
It explores the relaxing experience many Slow TV viewers cite, from interviews at the Norwegian Hymn Book Slow TV event, with a Doctor of Media Psychology and with British Airways which has begun using the Bergensbanen train journey on some long haul in-flight entertainment.
“That Damned Cow” considers the future of Slow TV inside and outside of Norway. It offers ways of understanding the depth and potential of what at first seems a simple formula but evokes a spectrum of participation in real life and social media, engages national pride, heritage, community and identity.
Dr Arve Hjelseth
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
Dr Espen Ytreberg
The University of Oslo
Dr Adam Galpin
The University of Salford
Choir Members, Salmeboka Minutt for Minutt
Dr Pauline Prevett
Production Assistant (Oslo and Bergen)
Principal NRK Slow TV Liaison
The University of Salford:
Store and Technical Support Staff
Petter Ingholm Gustavsen, NRK
Stein Lillebo, Hurtigruten
RedShift Radio, Crewe
NRK footage and graphics used with permission, copyright NRK
British Airways images
British Airways Video Library
Purple Planet Music
Bergen, Oslo and Trondheim, Norway
Osmington Mills and London, England
Betws y Coed and Dyffryn Ogwen, Wales
Original Photography by
Produced and Directed by
Slow Television – The Slow TV Blog