Sunday 22 January 1993 saw the premiere of the first episode of the sitcom Mot i broset.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary, tv2.no made a special reunion – with the cast Niels Vogt (74), Sven Norden (65) and Hilda Leran (60) – which can be seen at the top of the article.
Siw Anita Andersen (who played Målfrid) refused to participate in the anniversary broadcast. Arv Oppsal (who played Henry) passed away in 2007.
– You should be allowed to be proud
Played by Karl Reverud, Nils Vogt is happy that the 30th anniversary of Mot i brøset is being commemorated and celebrated.
– It’s strange to think about it, 30 years old. We’re still young and fit, so it’s hard to understand. But it’s nice to celebrate a birthday like this. It was an experience for all of us.
Colleague Sven Norden, who played Nils Svendsen, agrees.
It’s nice to think we helped make TV history. In other words, we’ve created a program that has held up well over time. We feel a little bit like we pioneered when we started this, accelerating a lot of TV productions and commissions in Norway. So I think we can be a little proud of that.
Hilde Lyrån (60) – who entered Season 5 as Nils’ friend Trine – is surprised that new generations are embracing the series.
– We should be proud of it here. However, 30 years later, people still remember her. What’s funny is that there are a lot of young people – who weren’t even born when we finished the series – who have caught up to him, says Leran (60).
Brave story in the breast
Courage in the Chest story began with the series creator and screenwriter Tori Ryan (76).
From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, Ryan lived in Los Angeles. There he noticed how popular situation comedies were at the time in the United States. Series like Cheers and The Cosby Show gathered millions of TV viewers each week.
When Rain was visiting Norway in 1991, he was asked by the founder and program director of TV 2 Dan Burgi Akeru If he can make a suggestion for a comedy series for tv 2.
Then Rein had the idea to create a Norwegian sitcom, which was filmed with four cameras in front of an audience – just as the Americans did. Then came the idea for Mot i brøstet, a series that follows three ordinary men and all the strange things that happen in their daily lives.
After the idea for Courage in the Box came up, Rayne began looking for actors.
Arve Opsahl (1922-2007) was Ryen’s first thought. They did a lot of the play together, and Ryan was adamant that he should be in it. So Arve Opsahl was offered the role of Henry.
Ryan became acquainted with Nils Vogt, two years younger, from the Frogner gymnasium, where they played school plays and Russians together. The trustee was Carl Riverrud.
Sven Norden was suggested to Rhein by then TV 2 president Dan Borg Akero. Raine—who had never heard of Norden before—becomes convinced he has found Nils, after joining Akiro in a show at the National Theater where Norden played one of the roles.
A typical Bristol week
Mo i brøstet recordings were made in an old steel warehouse, converted into a television studio, in Torshov in Oslo.
A typical Mot i brøstet workweek looked like this: Series creator Tore Ryen had his manuscript ready every Tuesday. Or at least half a text, according to Niels Vogt.
– And then we got the other half on Wednesday. On Wednesdays we adjusted the lines, and on Thursdays and Fridays we started working on the arrangement. We had Saturday and Sunday off, says Vogt.
The actual recording of the episodes took place on Mondays. At first, they made a rehearsal without an audience, and at half past eight in the evening 300 members of the audience were taken to the Komistudio.
– As a rule, we finished in an hour and a half. It was really incredible. We were very disciplined, says Vogt.
– It was very intense, because it was a way of making television that doesn’t get done very often. In a way, you’re playing theatre, too, because there’s an audience there, Nordin says.
There weren’t huge viewership numbers in the beginning. It took us a while to recover, says Niels Vogt.
But when the series gained a foothold with the audience, the viewing figures rose sharply. Vogt estimates that it took less than a year for Mot i brøstet to end up at the top of Norway’s most watched programme.
Courage quickly gained a fan base, and after the recordings, Vogt, Nordin, and Opsal stayed for up to an hour to sign autographs. The autographs were first signed on stage at Mot i brøstet-stua, but after excited fans stole the props as souvenirs, they had to move the autograph sessions to another room.
Arve Opsahl hasn’t felt so popular since his role as Egon Olsen in the Olsenbanden films, he told Aftenposten in 1995.
Nordin believes much of the success was due to the lack of Norwegian situation comedy.
– Obviously, there was a need that was being met. I remember when we rated the highest. On Monday, which was the day of the broadcast, we had 800,000 viewers. Then the same episode was repeated two days later and it had 600k. That means 1.4 million Norwegians have sat and stared at these silly goats over here, Norden says and laughs.
Norden’s well-remembered series, however, was not embraced by critics.
Food is not criticized for making such soap operas. After all, it’s such a simple and popular entertainment, it’s rare to get a roll of five dice, so we didn’t expect it. But the response we got from TV viewers lasted a long time for us.
Courage in the chest is available at tv 2 play.
Niels Vogt, Sven Norden, Hilde Leran and Tore Rein.
Bravery in the Chest – the series that changed Norway TV (Book: Ivar Kinn / Roger Gjermundsheig, 1996).
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