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BIRDS

VIDEO: Norway’s ‘reality TV with wild birds’

Norway's ever-creative NRK network has come up with yet another strange but surprisingly compelling 'slow TV' experiment -- Piip Show, described by its creator as a "reality TV show with wild birds".

VIDEO: Norway's 'reality TV with wild birds'
A still from Piip Show. Photo: Magne Klann
The show, the brainchild of the photographer Magne Klann, follows the lives of a small cast of birds, including a nuthatch, a blue tit, and a bullfinch,  over three months in the specially constructed 'Piip Show' house. 
 
The action started last week in a bird feeder styled loosely after Java, one of Oslo's best-known coffee shops, and will later move on to two separate bird houses, where the show's creators hope their feathered stars will hatch and rear their young. 
 
"This is kind of a reality show with wild birds, so we are not able to do anything to make them act the way we want them to act," Klann told The Local. "We just have to anticipate what they will do. That’s a big part of the idea and that’s a big part of what fascinates people." 
 
The show, which launched last week and will run until the end of June, is already NRK's most watched web page, and no less a person than Crown Princess Mette-Marit is an avid fan. 
Klann launched his first version of the show back in 2003, winning a European internet media award, so he argued that the show could not rightly be seen as the latest emanation of Norway's slow TV concept, which has seen real time live broadcasts of a train journey, coastal cruise, burning fire and sweater being knitted. Also, unlike these outings, Piip Show is not being broadcast on one of NRK's channels. 
 
"It was before all this minute-for-minute programming, which they call 'slow TV', which has become a Norwegian speciality," he told The Local. "I don’t want to take credit for all the other projects, but in a way we were first."
 
He said that the idea for the show had come naturally from his interests and profession. 
 
"I’ve been a bird watcher since I was 12 and my start in photograph was bird photography," he said. "I moved into portraits and documentary and advertising professionally, so I sort of brought the professional photography back into my hobby as a bird photographer and combined the two."
 
This time around Klann has recruited the illustrator and model maker Lars Aurtande to design settings for the birds. The two have spent two years working on the project. 
 
"We just wanted to make it like a really good-looking coffee shop," Aurtande said of the feeder café. "We’re also going to have three different bird houses which are coming up in a month’s time, where the bird are going to raise their kids. They live in a quite nice Funkis-style house, which is also made to look like a human house, with interiors with wallpaper and everything." 
 
The two are also planning to release a children's book based on the  show early next month. 
 
Aurtande said he was pleased to see how many people were watching. 
 
"It seems like quite a lot of people put it on their computer and keep it going in the background for the whole day," he said.  "I heard yesterday about a home for the elderly where the nurse  taking care of these old people had put Piip Show on the TV in the living room. It’s only been going on for one week, so it’s still really fresh and new," he said. 
 
Klann hinted at some exciting developments in the plot coming next months.  
 
"In two or three weeks, I expect we are going to see some changes, but I can’t really tell you what at the moment," he said.   
 
Below are some video clips and pictures of the show so far: 
 

A squirrel walks into a bar

 
 

Nuthatch and blue tits:

 
 

Hawfinch, bullfinch and greenfinches:

 
 
 

 

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And here's the show in 2003:

 

 

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SLOW TV

Norway’s highest mountain to get ‘slow TV’ treatment

They’ve done a railway journey, a ferry trip, and the reindeer migration. They’ve burnt a fire and knitted a sweater in real time. Now NRK is giving the 'slow TV' treatment to Norway's highest mountain.

Norway's highest mountain to get 'slow TV' treatment
Although Galdhøpiggen is Norway's highest mountain it is not that difficult to climb. Photo: Atvelonis/Wikimedia Commons
On Thursday, a team from the broadcaster’s Lillehammer office will climb the Galdhøpiggen mountain along with a group of enthusiastic volunteers, broadcasting every minute of the seven-hour journey in real time. 
 
“There have been many minute-by-minute productions in recent years, and the tour with [adventurer Lars] Monsen came out just this summer,” said Ivar Arne Nordrum, the project leader for the project. 
 
He said he had been inspired by last year's programme following a group walking the nearby Besseggen ridge. 
 
Viewers in his Hedmark and Oppland district had, he said, a special relationship with Galdhøpiggen, which is Norway’s highest mountain at 2469m. 
 
“Many have been there, and even more would like to get there,” he said. “Now you’ll have the possibility to follow the journey on your screen wherever you are in the world.” 
 
Although the mountain is Norway’s highest, the climb is not particularly long or difficult, and two groups of schoolchildren are also taking part. 
 
The broadcast will start at 9.30am and go out both online on NRK.no and on the NRK2 channel. 
 
NRK has pioneered the concept of slow TV ever since producers Rune Møklebust and Thomas Hellum in 2009 put cameras on the front of a train travelling the entire journey from Oslo to Bergen, and then broadcast the journey in real time.