• Sweden edition
 
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
The cast of The Cold Swedish Winter.

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show

Published: 28 Aug 2014 15:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 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
Politics
Nuclear freeze agreed by new government
A nuclear power station in Forsmark, Sweden. Photo: TT

Nuclear freeze agreed by new government

Sweden's Social Democrats and Greens Party have announced a coalition agreement to halt nuclear energy development. READ  

International
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum
A Swedish soldier in Afghanistan. Photo: TT

Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum

The Migration Court in Malmö has ruled that Sweden's Migration Board was wrong to reject the residence applications of seven Afghan interpreters without assessing their protection needs. READ  

The Local List
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
Speak Percussion will perform at Connect in Malmö in November. Photo: Connect

Top five winter festivals in Sweden

Autumn has swept into the country and chilly days lie ahead. But there are plenty of winter festivals where you can warm up in the coming months. With tickets already selling fast, here are The Local's top tips. READ  

Business
Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers
Workers at the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Photo: TT

Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers

Swedish car maker Saab has announced it has axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce. READ  

International
Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale
A Danish site is selling the works that the Swedish state wants destroyed. Screenshot: www.entartetekunst.dk

Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale

Work by controversial jailed Swedish artist Dan Park is on sale online and could reach a gallery in Copenhagen, despite a previous exhibition being pulled. READ  

Society
Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old
Pensioners in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old

Sweden has dropped to second place in an annual index measuring the quality of life of elderly people in 96 countries around the world. READ  

National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
Andreas Fransson, left. Photo: Markus Alatalo

Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche

UPDATED: The bodies of two of the world's top skiers, Sweden's Andreas Fransson and JP Auclair from Canada, were found on Tuesday after they were reported missing in an avalanche in the Andes. READ  

Politics
Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs

UPDATED: The Social Democrats and the Greens have agreed to raise unemployment payments and promised to create more jobs in the construction industry, The Local has learned. READ  

National
Ikea recalls elk pasta
Two types of pasta are affected. Photo: IKEA

Ikea recalls elk pasta

Ikea has pulled two different types of elk-shaped pasta from its stores in Sweden. READ  

Presented by Regus
How to get your own great office in Stockholm
A woman using a Regus workspace. Photo: Regus

How to get your own great office in Stockholm

Stockholm's business climate is hotter than ever, which leaves start-ups and business travellers hunting high and low for flexible office space. The solution is easier than they think. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
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

852
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN