Slow TV

hurtigruten

iyule

Slow TV is a genre of live ‘marathon’ television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. Its name is derived both from the long endurance of the broadcast as well as from the natural slow pace of the television program’s progress. The concept is an modernization of artist Andy Warhol’s slow movie ‘Sleep’ from 1963, which showed poet John Giorno sleeping for six hours.

The concept was adapted to local TV broadcast in 1966 by WPIX in NYC for a Christmastime ‘yule log’ (a looped film of a log burning in a fireplace, accompanied by classic Christmas music, broadcast without commercial interruption).

In 1984 by the British company Video125 formed with the intention to shoot slow TV films of British Railway lines from end to end. Following the success of the first film, the company continued to make Driver’s eye view documentaries of rail lines (including the Lisbon tram lines, Paris Metro, London Underground, and the Eurostar trains). From 2003 to 2008, Bahn TV (a German satellite channel dedicated to rail transport topics) showed almost daily almost daily driver’s eye view films of German rail lines.

In 2009, the genre moved to Scandinavia, with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s coverage of a 7-hour train ride (from the drivers view) along the Bergen Line (Bergensbanen). It was followed the live coverage of the Hurtigruten cruise ship MS Nordnorge during its 134-hour voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes in 2011. Both events received extensive attention in both Norwegian and foreign media, and were considered a great success with coverage numbers exceeding all expectations and record ratings for the NRK2 channel.

In 2013, 2013, NRK broadcast the 12 hour long broadcast ‘Nasjonal vedkveld’ (‘National wood fire night’) on the topic of firewood. Nearly a million people, or 20 percent of the population, tuned in at some point to the program. The broadcast was inspired by the best-selling book by Lars Mytting, ‘Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning.’ The show consisted of four hours of ordinary produced television, followed by showing eight hours of a live fireplace.

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