Holiday in my loungeroom
COURTESY of the abundance of boxed sets of television crime series filmed in exotic climes, I travel extensively in my loungeroom most nights. Such is my addiction to, say, The Killing, that I have watched 12 hour-long episodes in one hit, in which time I could have got half-way to Copenhagen and made a fair fist of knitting myself a chunky Sarah Lund sweater in preparation for a guided tour of the sites used for the hit show’s filming.
Copenhagen looks like a very small place and it does have to be said that the same locales (and actors) pop up in all those so-called nordic noir series. If I do get to Denmark, I think it will feel delightfully familiar.
The Danish language seems a breeze, too. Tak, tak seems to cover almost everything and so my partner and I readily communicate our thanks to each other in telly Danish, sounding all the while like a couple of cuckoo clocks gone batty. My French is pretty good but I have terrific new gangster vocab, thanks to Spiral, the Parisian cop cult series we discovered (belatedly) these summer holidays. It stars Gregory Fitoussi, the most handsome man ever, as public prosecutor Pierre Clement, and if we were to meet I feel confident I would dazzle him with my command of courtroom French and underworld slang.
It’s got so silly chez Kurosawa that we have begun to eschew some boxed sets without subtitles as being too loud and declaring and, well, blinking obvious. Downton Abbey is one exception, and there you have a splendid example of how a fascination with characters and set- tings can drive tourism trends. Highclere Castle, where it is filmed, is now one of the most visited places in Britain. Located on the border of Berkshire and Hampshire, it has been the ancestral home of the earls of Carnarvon since the late 17th century and the incumbent 8th Earl, Geordie, and busy, blogging wife Fiona, must be chortling all the way to the bank.
At the very least they’ve surely recovered from an unsolicited offer in 2010 by neighbour Andrew Lloyd Webber to buy Highclere as a home for his art collection. Apparently he got wind that the owners needed millions of pounds for essential repairs.
There are other, much earlier, examples of the tourism-pulling power generated by screens wide and small. Witness the rush of visitors to north Yorkshire’s Castle Howard after Brideshead Revisited was such a hit in the early 1980s and the safari boom in Kenya when Out of Africa was released in 1985 and we all dashed to tog up in leopardprint scarves and khaki trousers.
In this week’s issue of T& I you will see that Albuquerque in New Mexico is now quite the place to go, thanks to the extraordinary impact of Breaking Bad. I met the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, on a train in Scotland in 2011 and we got chatting. It took many pressing questions before he revealed he worked in Hollywood and developed Breaking Bad.
‘‘Nothing big time,’’ he shrugged. Well, tak, tak, Vince, as we say in the land of boxed sets. Close the curtains, lock the door and let’s feed that habit.