Millions of Danes of all ages will continue a 50-year tradition tomorrow when they start their countdown to Christmas by sitting down to watch the first episode of a TV julekalender, a 24-episode TV Advent calendar that normally culminates on Christmas Eve. Every year since 1962, Denmark has embraced the seasonal spirit provided by the daily episodes of the Christmas-filled adventure.
This year’s Julekalender scriptwriting veterans Michael Wikke and Steen Rasmussen have teamed up again to produce a new series entitled ‘Julestjerner’ (Christmas Stars), to be broadcast on DR1.
Tomorrow, ‘Julestjerner’ will introduce Denmark to the Bjerg family, who are forced to relocate from the city to the rural village of Brorfelde, after their townhouse is damaged during a storm. There, the Bjergs are forced to lead a very different life from the one they are used to.
After the family arrives in the village, a new star appears in the night sky while at the same time strange events start occurring, and the Bjergs spend the next month unlocking the mysteries of Christmas.
While the show’s storyline may not be the most original, this year’s julekalender is a little different, as the series is set to stretch over 25 episodes rather than the standard 24. That was a decision that Wikke and Rasmussen had agreed to right from the start.
“When we were younger, we always felt so sad when the julekalender would end on December 24,” Wikke told DR. “It’d leave you feeling empty in a way. So we decided that this year, it should finish on December 25.”
While DR1 may be breaking new ground with its 25-part series, TV2 has decided to go with two re-runs. The station airs both a family julekalender in the early prime time slot, 'Jul i Valhal', while later in the evening it shows a more adult-orientated series.
In the late evening slot, TV2 will carry the cult classic ‘The Julekalender’. It’ll be the third Christmas in a row that TV2 has shown the series, which follows the misadventures of three nissemænd (Christmas gnomes) during the build-up to Christmas Eve.
This low-budget series was first broadcast in 1991, but quickly gained popularity due to its original use of language. The three nissemænd use a mixture of English and Danish vocabulary, grammar and idioms which result in lines like: “It’s hard to be a Nissemand” or “He who first gets to the mill is he who first gets to grind.”
If DR and TV2 leave you hungering for more Christmas cheer, there is plenty more to fill up on, as most channels broadcast some type of julekalender. So whether you’re looking for something new, something old, something satirical or something for the kids this Christmas, there’s probably a one that will tickle your holiday entertainment fancy.