Year-Ahead Predictions

Flap off! No Donald Duck next year?

Flap off! No Donald Duck next year?
Donald Duck struts his stuff in the annual SVT Christmas special. Photo: SVT screengrab
Swedes have been going quackers for Donald Duck on Christmas Eve for over 50 years, but ratings were down for 2013. Could the unspeakable happen? asks The Local in its eight year-ahead gaze into that crystal ball.

Statistics revealed by the Swedish media monitoring agency (MMS) showed that 376,000 fewer people tuned into the annual hour-long entertainment/endurance feat of Donald Duck and his friends, broadcast on December 24th. 

Mind you, a more than healthy 3.5 million huddled around their flatscreens, down from last year but more than in 2011.

Last year, the mighty number of 3.8 million Donald Duck viewers was only beaten by the Melodifestivalen finale, when Swedes choose who to send to Eurovision.

Attempts to scrap Kalle Anka by national broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) in the 1970s prompted a negative press campaign and that oh so familiar Swedish trait – the angry letter! – from furious Duckolytes.

SVT caved and Kalle Anka has remained an ever present part of Swedish Christmas culture. Not that it hasn't come at a cost. Former host Arne Weise, who fronted the Christmas show for three decades, blamed the stress of Kalle Anka for his three divorces.

Quite what is Swedish about watching old American cartoons is anybody's guess. Suggestions that the show reinforces old racist stereotypes remains, with Disney's decision to edit out a scene featuring a black doll prompting fury from some devoted fans last year.

But with ratings on the wane and Sweden's attempts to find out what is sensitive and sensible on the new multicultural landscape, could it be that Donald Duck may not be quacking much longer.

You heard it here first… (but of course you'll have to wait almost  a year to find out).

The Local/pr 

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