Borgen for Burgundy; Sarah for Sherlock

September 1st, 2013

This article is more than 11 years old.

Swapping the small screen in Denmark for the big time overseas

The country’s first female prime minister, long before Gucci Helle took over the reins of power, has announced her first English-language project. It will see Sidse Babett Knudsen, who plays PM Birgitte Nyborg Christensen in the hit series ‘Borgen’, swap the corridors of power for the stately homes of the English nobility.


Or so the title suggests, as ‘The Duke of Burgundy’ is actually more moths and mores than cloaks and corsets, depicting a modern day relationship in which a lepidopterist struggles to find sexual fulfilment from his straight-laced lover. 


Directed by Peter Strickland (‘Berberian Sound Studio’) and produced by Ben Wheatley (‘Sightseers’) – two of British cinema’s brightest prospects right now – it is a project that could see Knudsen gain considerable recognition.


The role will be Knudsen’s first in English – a surprising first for an actress who started her career back in 1994. The closest she had come previously was her appearance in the ‘Dogville’ pilot in 2003, but for the feature-length version, director Lars von Trier elected to shoot it in English and replace the entire cast. Knudsen’s role was given to Nicole Kidman.


Knudsen is not the first star of ‘Borgen’ to this summer land their first plum role overseas. In late July, it was confirmed that Lars Mikkelsen – who is also one of the main starts of ‘Forbrydelsen’ (‘The Killing’), and the older brother of actor Mads – has been cast as a villain in the third series of the BBC crime series ‘Sherlock’. 


Mikkelsen, who plays Søren Ravn for five episodes in the third series of ‘Borgen’ and mayoral candidate Troels Hartmann in ‘Forbrydelsen’, will play Charles Augustus Magnussen, a blackmailer. 


The role might even see him become more internally recognised than his ‘Forbrydelsen’ co-star Sofie Grabol, whose biggest English-language role to date is a cameo in a 2011 Christmas episode of ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, in which she reprised her character Sarah Lund for a dream sequence. 


Both Mikkelsen and Knudsen are currently shooting the DR series ‘1864’, which is scheduled to broadcast next year as part of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Dybbøl. 


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