Published on November 12, 2013 | by Jack Redden


13 hour knit-a-thon huge hit on Norwegian TV

Close-up of person knitting

“Slow TV” is a growing phenomenon in Norway, attracting 1.3 million viewers for the latest instalment [flickr: Steve A Johnson]

The transmission of a 13-hour knitting marathon by the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK has attracted 1.3 million viewers.

The marathon is part of ‘Slow TV’ – an unusual style of broadcasting where hours are spent continuously filming a single subject or event.

It began in 2009 when NRK decided to broadcast a seven-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo in real time.

It was followed by filming a five-day coastal cruise which attracted more than three million viewers.

This new broadcasting style remains untouched by popular British television, which includes fast-paced entertainment shows like The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.

Adu Lalouschek, a BA Film and Television student at LCC said: “I think it’s a really big contrast to the TV we see here in the UK, everything here is fact-cut, it is as fast as possible and we just like dishing out formulaic and generic TV programmes.”


Yet Norway’s relaxed approach to television holds little interest for Adu as he doubts he could sit for hours at a time watching a single event. “I guess it’s in relation to the culture they have over there which is completely different from the UK,” he concluded.

Since the initial broadcast, NRK has watched their ‘Slow TV’ maintain a large viewership in Norway despite previous shows including 18 hours of salmon fishing and 12 hours spent filming burning firewood.

Shaneika Johnson-Simms, who studies media practice at LCC, explained: “I personally wouldn’t watch it but I think it’s interesting that they have enough dedication and time to actually follow something that intensely, and that people actually sit down and watch it.”

However, when asked if ‘Slow TV’ had a place in mainstream British television, such as on the BBC, she said: “Maybe BBC2 for something like a small feature. I think people just want drama and action, I don’t think they’ll actually sit down and watch something like a cruise for five days.”

NRK have already announced their next instalment of ‘Slow TV’ programming, which will be a 100-hour broadcast of chess.

Norwegian chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen will reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand in a supposed 19-day contest.




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