British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies

The Local Norway
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British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies
A still from NRK's 'Bergen Line minute-by-minute'. Photo: Screen Grab/NRK

Norway's NRK channel has struck a deal with British Airways allowing the airline to screen its pioneering Slow TV film of the seven-hour train journey from Oslo to Bergen on its flights.


From next week, hectic business executives and holiday-makers will be able to zone out to the Norwegian broadcaster's hypnotic footage of twisting tunnels and rolling Nordic landscapes. 
Rune Møklebust,  NRK's head of programming, who was one of the team which commissioned the 2009 documentary, said that the deal was just the latest surprise development for the film, which launched the long series of unlikely 'Slow TV' programs for the channel. 
"We didn't see this one coming." he told The Local. "It's about five years since the programme was commissioned and it still surprised us which direction the story takes. It was just a very strange and weird idea back then. Luckily we didn't just throw the idea away like you do with most ideas you come up with late at night in the bar." 
NRK broke new ground when it decided to film and broadcast the train journey  to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the train line back in 2009. 
The film, called 'Bergen Line minute-by-minute' was made by simply sticking a camera next to the train's driver for the duration of the stunning seven hour trip. 
To the programme makers' surprise, when they broadcast the documentary it garnered more views than Norway's version of X-Factor, which was shown on a rival channel, winning about 1.2 million viewers, nearly a quarter of the population of Norway. 
Richard D’Cruze said that the Oslo-Bergen film would be a similar experience for passengers as watching in-flight maps slowly update through their trip. 
"It fits perfectly with the ‘wallpaper’ style footage people find mesmerising in-flight, such as our moving maps which customers watch for endless hours," he said. "There’s definitely a hypnotic, calming and entertaining quality to 'Slow TV' that is perfect for in-flight entertainment."
Highlights from the film include children waving from stations, the changing weather, and stretches of total darkness as the train passes through long tunnels.
Møklebust followed up the success of the Oslo-Bergen film with a five-and-a-half day broadcast of the view from Hurtigruten Express ferry as it made its way up the Norwegian coast. 
"When I asked a few days later if I could borrow the airwaves for five and a half days to broadcast live from the Coastal Express (a cruise liner touring the Norwegian coast) I was told 'yes, of course'," he told AFP. 
British Airways plans to add the Oslo-Bergen film to the list 130 movies and 650 TV shows available to its long-haul passengers. 
The airline said it would wait for its passengers' reactions before deciding whether to stock up on other NRK Slow TV classics, such the Hurtigruten Express film,  a 12-hour show about a fire being built, lit and gradually consumed, or the National Knitting Evening, which features a team  knitting a sweater, starting with the original sheep. 



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