BBC buys acclaimed Swedish Aids drama

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BBC buys acclaimed Swedish Aids drama

A Swedish hit television series chronicling the arrival of the Aids epidemic in Sweden in the 1980s is set to be broadcast on the BBC after the British broadcaster snapped up rights for the three-part drama.


The series, a television adaptation of Swedish author and comedian Jonas Gardell’s trilogy Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves (Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar), is scheduled to air on BBC4 later in the autumn.

The drama was popular with critics and viewers when it aired last year on Sveriges Teleivsion (SVT). Now British viewers will get to see the show, which helped earn Gardell Swede of the Year honours from Fokus magazine in 2012.

"Wonderful news! BBC is buying Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar. That's fabulous, isn't it!" tweeted Jonas Gardell after hearing the news.

Stephen Mowbray, head of SVT international, echoed Gardell's excitement, expressing confidence that the story would appeal to viewers in the UK despite being set in Sweden.

"I'm so happy the BBC have bought this fantastic series which I hope leads to more sales in the future. Although the series is set in Sweden, I'm convinced it is a universal story which will appeal to an international audience," he said in a statement.

The three-part programme tells the story of two young lovers who find themselves and each other amid the backdrop of Stockholm’s 1980s gay scene. But the thrill of coming out is as short-lived as new friendships when Aids arrives in town.

It will be broadcast on BBC4, the same channel that has previously shown Swedish hit crime drama Wallander as well as joint Swedish/Danish production The Bridge, which regularly attracted more than one million viewers per episode.

Earlier this year, Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves won the audience prize at the Series Mania festival in Paris where it was in competition with American hits House of Cards and Game of Thrones.

"My goal was to break the silence about HIV and Aids and I am overwhelmed by the response," Gardell told news magazine Fokus in December 2012 upon being named Swede of the Year.

Gardell also won 'Gay of the year' in 2013 and was awarded the prize by Crown Princess Victoria.

In Pictures: Scenes from the 2013 Gay Gala in Stockholm

"We'll dry each other's tears with open hearts," the Princess announced at the Gay Gala in Stockholm in presenting Gardell with his award.

"Victoria, you may be the princess but tonight I'm the queen," quipped Gardell in response.

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