Matador, or documenting the recent past


I got the wonderful Danish TV series Matador (“Monopoly”, as in the board game) on DVD for Christmas.

It follows a range of characters in the fictional town of Korsbæk between 1929 and 1947. It was made in loving detail, so apart from being great TV, it also makes for great history lessons.

Obviously, by now few people can actually remember that time well, but when it was produced (1978-82), it was still relatively recent history. It was the idea of Lise Nørgaard, who was born in 1917, so she was basically documenting Denmark as she remembered it from she was 12 until she turned 30.

It would be a bit like if person born in 1953 came up with an idea for a TV series set between 1965 and 1983, to be produced between 2014 and 2018. If it was done really well, it’s likely people would still enjoy it in 2048.

I think it’d be equally compelling whether it was set in Denmark, in Scotland or somewhere else.

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