It’s been announced that BBC Four is to broadcast a brand new, precedent-setting season of shows inspired by the equally innovative recent trend of ‘slow TV’ made popular in Norway. Entitled ‘BBC Four Goes Slow’, the series will feature such titles as ‘The Canal’, a two-hour canal boat journey staged on one of Britain’s most historic waterways, as well as a fly-on-the-wall, three-hour tour of the National Gallery.
Accompanied, though without vocal interaction, by documentarian Frederick Wiseman, the film is one of many new films that are intended to both shed light on mundane, but no less fascinating, areas of British life and culture, and to relax viewers. ‘This surprising selection of programmes is the antithesis to the general direction much of television is going in,” says BBC Four channel editor Cassian Harrison. “Slowing everything down gives us the time to really observe things as they happen, and this series of programmes celebrates the simple pleasures of life in the slow lane.”
This new trend in television programming is heavily inspired by a series of programmes in Norway that include a live-broadcast of the knitting of a jumper and a seven-hour train journey from Oslo to Bergen, which premiered to a staggering 1.6 million viewers.
Designed to restore a sense of tranquility amongst viewers either entwined in the instantaneity of current modes of television digestion or alienated by the Netflix-style of consumption, which boasts everything at once for its millions of worldwide subscribers, this has proved something of a cultural phenomenon already. Says Thomas Hellum, a Slow TV pioneer and production manager at Norway’s public broadcaster, NRK: “I don’t think we are particularly stupid or weird in Norway to like this sort of thing. I think really it could work in other countries. Because we want to be innovative, we want to surprise people and make new things.”
A launch date for BBC Four Goes Slow is still to be confirmed.