The BBC Four channel has already commissioned a live transmission of a two-hour canal trip in North Wales and two programmes on skilled artisans making respectively a knife and a Windsor chair.
Cassian Harrison, the channel’s head, told the UK’s Sunday Times that he had got the idea from NRK, which pioneered the concept with fixed camera broadcasts of the seven-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo, and the Hurtigruten ferry, a 12-hour knitting night, and a film of a log fire being painstakingly constructed and burnt.
“They found that their audience went up with these programmes,” Harrison told the channel.
He said watching skilled craftsmen work had a “calming effect”, pointing out that in the 1950s, the BBC frequently ran such slow footage to cover gaps in the programming or technical glitches.
Famous examples include footage of the potter George Aubertin making a bowl, and of a farmer sowing a field, films Harrison claimed had a calming effect on the viewer.
The ‘slow week’ is also likely to feature a broadcast of Empire, Andy Warhol’s seven-hour film about the Empire State Building.
While Warhol’s film is arguably the pioneer of the form, NRK was the first to realize the potential in the present day, starting with its 2009 broadcast to mark the centenary of the Bergen railway line.
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The experiment was an unexpected success, drawing in 1.2m viewers, around a quarter of Norway’s population.
Rune Møklebust, NRK’s head of programming, then took the concept further, broadcasting the progress of the Hurtigrutan coastal ferry up Norway’s rugged coast for a full five and a half days.
Below is a video documenting some of the highlights of its Slow TV programming.