• 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
Sweden to speed up nuclear reactors closure
Two nuclear reactors at the Ringhals plant in Sweden are to shut earlier than expected. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Sweden to speed up nuclear reactors closure

Sweden's state-owned energy group Vattenfall on Tuesday said it planned to shut down two nuclear reactors in 2018 and 2010, up to seven years earlier than expected. READ  

Julian Assange
Swedish court to hear Assange arrest appeal
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: AP Photo/Sunshine Press Productions

Swedish court to hear Assange arrest appeal

Sweden's Supreme Court has formally agreed to hear Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's appeal to overturn the arrest warrant against him for sexual assault allegations in the Nordic country. The move is the latest twist in the campaigner's long legal battle. READ  

Why Americans trust Swedish companies

Why Americans trust Swedish companies

Swedish companies can do almost no wrong - at least in the eyes of Americans - according to a recent survey by The Local, which also reveals that Americans’ love of Sweden extends across many areas. READ  

Sweden calls for ‘urgent’ international nuclear ban
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Sweden calls for ‘urgent’ international nuclear ban

UPDATED: Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has renewed Swedish calls for a global ban on nuclear weapons as the United Nations begins a major review of the industry. READ  

Presented by Saco
'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'
Photo: Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'

Countless degree holders who move to Sweden struggle to get their credentials recognized and find work. The Local speaks to a Swedish union group trying to change that. READ  

Sweden's brown bear population is at risk
A Swedish brown bear. Photo: TT

Sweden's brown bear population is at risk

Sweden's brown bear population is dwindling according to a report looking into the future of some of the nation's most iconic animals. READ  

Nepal earthquake
Swedish rescue team stuck on way to Nepal
A Swedish search and rescue team has taken off from Örebro airport. Photo: Kicki Nilsson/TT

Swedish rescue team stuck on way to Nepal

A Swedish relief team on its way to earthquake-hit Nepal faces delays after two planes carrying 43 first responders and rescue equipment failed to secure permission to land at Kathmandu airport, the Swedish Contingencies Agency told The Local on Tuesday. READ  

1,000 jobs to go at Swedish energy giant
Swedish energy giant Vattenfall is to cut 1,000 jobs. Photo: TT

1,000 jobs to go at Swedish energy giant

UPDATED: One thousand workers are set to be let go after Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall announced major staff cuts on Tuesday morning, in a bid to curb costs. READ  

Sweden's Zlatan set to stay on with Paris side
Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona last week. Photo: Emilio Morenatti/TT

Sweden's Zlatan set to stay on with Paris side

Sweden's top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to remain with his French club side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), the club's owner has announced. READ  

Opinion
'Sweden is ruled by unelected policy plotters'
The Swedish government and parliament buildings. Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

'Sweden is ruled by unelected policy plotters'

Sweden has long been seen as the epitome of a healthy democracy. But in this week's debate article, three researchers argue that an increase in unelected behind-the-scenes operators is threatening accountability in the Swedish political sphere. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Here's how a Swede became the world's boxing champion
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Leonore meets Pope Francis
Gallery
People-watching: April 25th
National
TIMELINE: Julian Assange sex allegations in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Forshaga
Blog updates

24 April

Editor’s blog, April 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Spring has well and truly arrived, as evidenced by the start of strawberry season. The..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedes bask in early summer sun
VIDEO: How did these Swedish cops become New York heroes?
Business & Money
Five crucial things you need to know before you move to Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
How the Stockholm School of Economics changes expat lives
National
What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Business & Money
Is this Sweden's priciest flat ever?
National
Brits in Sweden face NHS black hole
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Business & Money
The Swedish regions where you're least likely to stay jobless
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd
Sport
Sweden's Eriksson joins row over foreign England player quotas
National
MEP says ignoring migrant crisis like 'Sweden's Holocaust appeasement'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Swedish mining town that's being moved
National
How much would you pay for first Swedish strawberries of 2015?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
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

3,330
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
?>