🇩🇰 NEW NURSES 🇩🇰
New Nurses (2018-) aka The New Nurses and Sygeplejeskolen is a Danish TV family drama series available on All4 Walter Presents U.K.; Hoopla and MHz Choice US & Can. This review is of season 1 which has 6 x 40 min episodes.
“Love, sickness, health and exam anxiety at a Danish hospital in the 50s. Erik (Morten Hee Andersen) and Anna (Molly Blixt Egelind) are among the first to be accepted into a nursing school with men and women being trained together. Due to a lack of trained nurses, the danish [sic] government decides, on a trial basis, that it is acceptable for a man to work as a nurse. It is not easy for the men to be accepted as nurses in an [sic] working environment with old-fashioned hierarchies and strict disciplinary work ethics. (Morten Albrekt Lange)
Morten Hee Andersen as Erik Larsen
Molly Blixt Egelind as Anna Rosenfeld
Asta Kamma August as Susanne Møller
Jesper Groth as Bjørn Toft
Jens Jørn Spottag as Bent Neergaard
Katrina Greis-Rosenthal as Nina Neergaard
Anna Stokholm as Lis Sommer
Anette Støvelbæk as Ruth Madsen
Benedikte Hansen as Margrethe Lund
Mikkel Hilgart as Peter Rømer
Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Christian Friis
Mikael Birkkjær as Bjørge Larsen
Creator: Claudia Boderke & Lars Mering
Writers: Claudia Boderke, Lars Mering, Anne-Marie Olesen
Director: Roni Esra
Composer: Mikkel Maltha
Production Designer: Thomas Greve
Costume: Helle Nielsen
Make-Up: Marianne Færch, Kamilla Bjerglind, Anja Holm, Julie Holst, Berit Jensen, Barbara Kehlet,
Music Supervisor: Leslie Ming
This series is filmed at Skt Hans Hospital, Roskilde, Denmark.
I have not watched a hospital drama for more years than I care to remember and I am not usually drawn to “family-friendly” shows either. However, I decided to break the decades-long run of “no hospitals for me, thank you very much”, and started New Nurses. Why? Principally because I have watched Morten Hee Andersen in Ride Upon the Storm and Deliver Us and was mightily impressed and they do say a change is as good as a rest (just so long as it is not in a hospital bed!) So what did I think of this foray into a different sort of show?
New Nurses is a gentle show set in a 1950s hospital in Denmark. It establishes the context really well from the start with the location (a real hospital that fits the bill) and the context, of male nurses entering training for the first time in a profession that was previously a female preserve.
Everything about this show reinforces the era from the accurate costuming and hair to the meticulous set dressing and props.
The accurate treatments and attitudes may make us shake our heads today. This show is episodic and focuses on one or two “cases” in each episode. It was upsetting to see the victims of polio (remember this is pre-vaccination) and how difficult it was to keep them alive, let alone not crippled for life. Other cases involve such things as alcoholism, lice, physical abuse, loneliness and behaviours towards those women who were “collaborators” during the Second World War and occupation.
The cases are interwoven through the ongoing storylines of Erik, his father, his friends amongst the student nurses and their relationships. We see infidelity and affairs, first kisses (“Sodom and Gomorrah!”) and loves, pregnancy and the rules regarding abortion at the time. In addition to the youngsters in the storyline, there are the established medical staff and their views and actions. Needless to say, there is an overlap between these two groups.
As New Nurses progresses the characters are filled out more, with backstory and also a nice amount of contrasts within them. Not everyone is painted as being saintly and the internal and external conflict is a good thing for the drama. That a man can be a philanderer and yet also a compassionate doctor makes for a far more interesting character. Another strong point is that Erik struggles and makes some big mistakes but as a character, he grows and learns. I can see why Morten would be attracted to this role.
I thought the acting throughout this very solid, from the younger cast to the older stalwarts and the patients.
I mentioned setting the context of the era earlier and aside from the costuming, sets etc. it is the music that does enhance this. The opening piano theme with a little light orchestration evokes exactly what you are about to watch. The rest of the incidental music is also consistently in keeping. Alongside this is a solid choice of music for the soundtrack (played on a record player or “wireless”, of course) which again helps to maintain the era.
This show does not offer up any major surprises in the plot and it does tend towards being a bit twee but nevertheless, I enjoyed watching it as a relief from more intense productions. If you are looking for intense and gritty this is probably not the show for you but it is one you could watch with anyone in the family. I will happily watch season 2 next time I need to “decompress”.
7 nominations for S1-3
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