• Sweden's news in English
 

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show

Published: 28 Aug 2014 15:21 GMT+02:00

Self-confessed Swedophile Danny Robins is taking on life in Sweden on a new semi-autobiographical radio programme on BBC4 called The Cold Swedish Winter, and he's well aware that he's not the only foreigner to do it. 
 
Indeed, hit TV show Welcome to Sweden has also tackled the "stranger in a strange Sweden" phenomenon, though Robins explains that the two shows are "stylistically quite different" and that his was in production a long time ago anyway.
 
"And anyway, Armegeddon and Deep Impact were both released at the same time and they both did well, didn't they," he adds with a chuckle. 
 
While life in Sweden may not be apocalyptic (at least not all the time), Robins' show shows a side of Sweden that he thinks resonates more with the target audience - expats in Sweden and the British public in the UK who tune in each Monday. 
 
With all this in mind, we sat down for a chat with the comedian to learn more.
 
The Local: So you say you're a Swedophile - what does that even mean?
 
Danny Robins: I'm a Swedophile because I've been indoctrinated into Swedishness by my wife to the point that I almost believe that everything is actually better in Sweden. But in all honesty, I'm fascinated by Sweden, partly because society there seems in many ways very recognizable and familiar to the British yet with something underlying that is mysterious and intangible.
 
The Brits are fascinated too, and Sweden seems to be a society like ours but which just works better. I mean, British politicians are often wondering why Sweden's schools are better, why their streets are cleaner. Sweden is like a more successful version of the UK and it feels like we'll never achieve it in such a cramped little country like the UK.  
 
What's the best thing about working with radio?
 
So far, the reaction has been nicest thing. It's always hard to know when you're fascinated by something if other people are too. I guess I was nervous at first as to whether Brits would be interested to hear about a man moving to Sweden, but I've got so many emails from such a wide spectrum of people that it's been amazing. And working with the finest Swedish comedy talent known to human kind has been incredible too. 
 
And it's been interesting because there's no real tradition of radio sitcom in Sweden, and these actors were all doing something new in a second language. But they instantly got it, and were even capable of some really moving moments. The other thing was the challenge of avoiding cliches and stereotypes. I didn't want to laugh at the Swedes, and one of the things I'm proudest of is when Swedes tell me I've revealed something about them that they hadn't considered before. Things they haven't thought of.

 
After a decade of dealing with Swedes, what do you still find to be the strangest?
 
I suppose strangest, at least to a British sensibility, is the respecting of authorities. In Britain we have a strong tradition of protest, we think all politicians are liars, and we think the royals are people who take lots of money and don't do anything. I'm struck by how the average Swede trusts the government. In Britain a lot of the comedy is poking fun at politicians, very satirically. Swedes are a lot less cynical. I had a Swedish friend who was once saying something critical of the king and he lowered his voice when he said it. I think the respect for authority runs a lot deeper than Swedes can even imagine. 
 
What could the Brits learn from the Swedes
 
Brits could learn respect for each other and society. I remember coming home once from the clean streets of Sweden and into a hell hole of dog poo, graffiti, and drunk people vomiting on the streets. This could all be down to the fact that it was Camden in north London, mind you.
 
But really, there's not much respect. In Sweden, everyone recycles, their dogs don't poo outside other people's houses. And the interesting thing is that it's not because Swedes fear the punishment, or fear getting a fine, it's rather that they know there'd be a greater social cohesiveness if they respected one another. That's one of the things I like the most.
 
 
What about the other way around? What could the Swedes learn from the Brits?
 
Relax! Take a chill pill. Whenever Swedes come over they tell me that they wish they had proper pubs back in Sweden, that a beer didn't cost a kidney, and that there could be more of a pub culture in general. That's what the Swedes could learn from us!
 
And lastly, let's get offbeat. Would you rather fight 100 beaver-sized elks or one elk-sized beaver?
 
Hang on. Do we call them elks? I say moose, all the Swedes I know say moose. In fact, I insist on it. 
 
You know, someone once told me a story about a moose killing someone. It sounded like a joke at first, but it got really serious and horrible. I'm all too aware how dangerous mooses are. So to answer your question, I'd rather fight a moose-sized beaver. Mano a mano, I think I could wrestle him down. Whereas if you think about those little horns, a hundred beaver-sized mooses could do some serious damage.  
 
The Cold Swedish Winter is a four-part radio series, the fourth and final episode of which airs on Monday. Listen to the first three here. 

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sony ditches streaming service for Spotify
Swedens most famous start-up is gaining rapid momentum. Photo: TT

Sony ditches streaming service for Spotify

Swedish music streamer Spotify will provide the soundtrack for Sony devices, the two companies have announced, spelling the end to the streaming music service from the Japanese tech giant that invented the Walkman. READ  

The Local List
Top five trends from Stockholm Fashion Week
Stockholm Fashion Week. Photo: Kristian Löveborg/Fashion Week.se

Top five trends from Stockholm Fashion Week

Stockholm's twice-yearly fashion week wrapped up on Wednesday night, with bare backs, bellbottoms and beige among the top trends spotted by The Local on the catwalks. READ  

Integration now second biggest voter issue
A mosque in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Integration now second biggest voter issue

Education is the top issue for Swedish voters, with integration coming second, in a new poll which also suggests growing concerns about rising Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Sweden. READ  

Sweden wins bronze at food 'World Cup'
Tommy Myllymäki from Sweden came third in the contest. Photo: TT

Sweden wins bronze at food 'World Cup'

The world's most prestigious food competition, Bocuse d'Or, has wrapped up in Lyon, France, with a top Swedish chef scooping a bronze and a Norwegian talent taking the crown. READ  

What's on in Sweden
What’s on: January 31st - February 7th
Jokkmokk Market is set to draw in the crowds this week. Photo: TT

What’s on: January 31st - February 7th

Gothenburg's Film Festival is underway, the Swedish capital has got its skates on as it hosts the European figure skating championships for the first time in decades, while Jokkmokk in northern Sweden is stepping back in time. READ  

'Nazi' question lands broadcaster in hot water
Crown Princess Victoria in Poland on Tuesday. Photo: TT

'Nazi' question lands broadcaster in hot water

Sweden's public broadcaster SVT was facing a backlash on social media on Wednesday after a reporter asked Crown Princess Victoria about her family's history during her visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. READ  

The Local List
Ten ways talking in English baffles Swedes
A Viking - sometimes pronounced 'Wiking', in Sweden. Photo: Shutterstock

Ten ways talking in English baffles Swedes

While Swedes are among the world's best English speakers, there are a few common - and often charming - mistakes The Local's team has spotted while chatting to Swedes in their second language (because yes, of course, it is still better than our Swedish). READ  

Arrest over Swedish journalist's Kabul murder
A Stockholm press conference last March on Nils Horner's murder. Photo: TT

Arrest over Swedish journalist's Kabul murder

A suspect has been arrested for the murder of popular Swedish-British national radio journalist Nils Horner last year in Kabul, but in Sweden many questions about the case remain unanswered. READ  

Huge cuts at Gothenburg ball bearing plant
SKF headquarters in Gothenburg. Photo: TT

Huge cuts at Gothenburg ball bearing plant

The world's biggest producer of ball bearings SKF announced massive job cuts on Wednesday even though its net profits soared fivefold in 2014. READ  

Fashion giant H&M to grow as profits soar
H&M's profits are growing. Photo: TT

Fashion giant H&M to grow as profits soar

Swedish fashion giant H&M has announced that its profits for 2014 rose by almost a fifth and pledged to speed up its global expansion. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: European Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm
National
Does Sweden help returning Isis fighters more than Swedish veterans?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: January snow snaps
Society
Is Sweden's healthcare system a national embarassment?
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Blog updates

26 January

The mysterious -s, part 1 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! How is your Swedish coming along? A while ago I read on a forum on The..." READ »

 

23 January

Editor’s blog, January 23rd (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday from The Local’s team in Stockholm. We can’t wait for the weekend, when we’re planning..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Property of the week: Skanör, Vellinge
National
Why Sweden's Left party wants a European 'Red Spring'
Lifestyle
'Life as a Swedish candy-maker is sweet'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's hottest new fashion designers for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who travels on Stockholm's different subway lines?
Lifestyle
Why this Swedish baby is a US hit
Lifestyle
'Limousine' snowplough for sale
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Gallery
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Society
Meet the 'beggars' buttoning up immigration critics
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Features
Learn Sweden's bizarre dating lingo
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Gallery
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Society
Why Sweden's viral 'genital' video is getting an English remake
National
Why does Sweden's Luleå have a giant ice beaver?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who are Sweden's richest one percent?
Business & Money
How a classic Swedish snack got a revamp for 'busy' Stockholmers
Lifestyle
The Local's top Swedish acts for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Årets Bild photography prize winners
Business & Money
'I met my Swedish man in Tokyo's first Ikea store'
Gallery
Property of the week: A cozy apartment in Bromma, Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: January 17th - 18th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish gravad lax
Lifestyle
Four hot Swedish home design trends
National
How The Local's video on a strange Swedish sound went viral
Gallery
People-watching: January 14th
National
The Local's guide to Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
Swedish Muslims react to new Charlie Hebdo magazine
National
The Local talks to Sweden's Home Affairs Minister about Paris attacks
Business & Money
Will Spotify launch on stock market after users rocket?
Accelerated
Texans and Swedes to play ice instruments
Gallery
Property of the week: An 18th century mansion in Stockholm
Business & Money
'Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden'
National
Are Sweden's royals moving to London?
National
How Sweden's Charlie Hebdo rally broke a winter protest record
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's 'no pants' subway day 2015
Sponsored Article
Everything you need to know about moving to Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to jump-start your career in southern Sweden
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,117
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options