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BBC buys new Swedish drama as SVT unveils int’l unit

Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without GlovesThe BBC is hoping it has found the latest hot Scandinavian drama with a new Swedish acquisition, which comes from a revamped SVT global sales and acquisitions division.

The UK pubcaster has bought three-part miniseries Torka Aldrig Tårar Utan Handskar (Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves) from the new look SVT International and will broadcast it on BBC Four later this autumn. Icelandic pubcaster RUV has also bought the show for a debut this year.

The award-winning series has been picking up traction internationally after first broadcasting on SVT in October last year. It is based on novelist Jonas Gardell’s book Love, which follows the struggle of a homosexual community coming to terms with the AIDS epidemic, and had Simon Kaijser attached as director.

The TV series, from SVT’s in-house production team with Maria Nordenberg as executive producer, is set in Stockholm in the 1980s and focuses on a love story between two young gay men (played by Adam Lundgren and Adam Pålsson, pictured) whose lives begin to fall apart as the spread of AIDS takes hold.

In Sweden, the show took a 34% share on SVT1 and was a huge critical success, leading to it taking the Audience Award at the Series Mania Festival in Paris last April, beating off competition from US series Game of Thrones and House of Cards.

Scandinavia is a hotbed for scripted programming at the moment, with series such The Bridge, The Killing selling both as a finished programme and a format to English-speaking markets. Both the original The Bridge, titled Bron and Killing (Forbrydelsen) broadcast in foreign language slots on BBC Four.

The deal is the first major agreement from newly named SVT International, which TBI has learned launched after a summer of restructuring and comprises the formerly separate SVT global sales and acquisitions teams.

Stephen Mowbray, formerly head of programme acquisitions, is now head of SVT International. Paulette Rosas Hott (aka Paulette Olofsson), who was head of programme sales, remains a key sales executive but under the new structure, she reports into Mowbray.

Mowbray said of Never Wipe Tears: “I’m really pleased that the BBC have bought this fantastic series, which hopefully will lead to more sales in the future. Although the series is set in Sweden, I am convinced that it is a universal story that can appeal to an international audience.”