TV blackout misses docusoaps

Anybody tuning in to watch the children's quiz programme "Vi i femman" on Tuesday evening would instead have found themselves eating their meatballs in front of the longest transmission failure in Swedish Television's history.

Almost all of the country lost SVT1, SVT2 and the digital channel SVT24 for 40 minutes around 7pm.

“This is extremely serious,” culture minister Marita Ulvskog said in Wednesday’s DN. “It’s essential that people have access to the state channels. I want to know precisely what happened.”

She wasn’t the only one, as SVT’s switchboard was jammed by curious viewers.

“All we know is that there is probably something wrong here in the building,” they were told by the operators.

It turned out that the connection between the ‘mother generator’ and the back-up system had failed and it took half an hour to sort the problem out manually.

Unfortunately – and against all the odds – the blackout didn’t coincide with any of Sweden’s numerous docusoaps. Much as The Local resents dealing with this most sordid aspect of Swedish life, it cannot neglect its responsibility to report what’s making the Swedish news. So here goes.

Viewers of Millionaire (you know the format – factory worker gets TV makeover as millionaire; a couple of dozen gold-digging lovelies do battle for his affections; one wins, declares her undying love and then finds out that he hasn’t got two crowns to rub together; she says she didn’t like him anyway) were devastated when suave Taco-packer Patrik Nestler confessed to Aftonbladet that he “chose the wrong girl”.

“I noticed that she was different after the programme. She wasn’t interested in me any more,” he said. “Maybe she was just after the money.” Maybe, Patrik, just maybe.

Happier news for fans of Big Brother (bunch of models and bar-tenders attempt to out-dumb each other until they are all voted off the show and into a short but lucrative career in seedy magazines and chat shows), who were privileged to witness the show’s first marriage proposal.

“It’s like a dream,” said Carolina, now engaged to a character called Olivier de Paris. Fantasy world, more like.

Meanwhile, Pia Flodner, the winner of Farm Africa (Big Brother on a farm in Africa), may be half a million crowns richer but told Tuesday’s Expressen that she has been “the victim of a hate campaign” since her victory last Friday. Apparently one of the losers called her “an amoeba” while another, 43 year-old Lise Hansson, claimed that she had been drugged on the final evening.

Finally, the producers of SVT’s cultural phenomenon “Robinson” (Big Brother on a Malaysian island with a twist of physical torture) are already working on building up their audience numbers for the forthcoming series.

Expressen reported that “among the women competing to appear on the show, there is a lesbian, a priest and, naturally, many with silicon breasts.”

Let’s hope SVT gets that generator fixed.