BBC Four Acquires Norwegian Drama ‘State Of Happiness’

BBC Four has inked a deal with DR International Sales to acquire the UK rights to Norwegian drama State Of Happiness. The series will air in the channel’s Saturday night foreign drama slot this summer.

State Of Happiness is set in the summer of 1969 in the small coastal town of Stavanger, Northern Europe. International oil companies have been test drilling for years, but nothing has been found and they are in the process of leaving. Phillips Petroleum, however, are contracted to drill a final hole.

Stavanger lives off fish, and the North Sea is emptying out. No more cod, no more herring. Something has to happen. The town is in crisis. The night before Christmas 1969, the gas flare at the Ocean Viking is lit. Phillips has found the largest sub sea oil basin in history. And everything is about to change. Norway’s oil was never owned privately, the state kept it, and in 1969, Norwegians were wealthy. The series explores how it happened, how much individuals are willing to give up for the greater good, and how much society is willing to give up for each and everyone else.

It follows stories of four young people growing up in a country that, in a matter of a few years, will change from being a small fishing nation and European outpost, to becoming a leading oil nation. The series shows how these four people, their families and relationships, are affected by this dramatic growth. The eight episode drama series is produced by Maipo Film for NRK and stars Anne Regine Ellingsæte, Amund Harboe, Malene Wadel and Per Kjerstad. Mette M. Bølstad is the head writer, while Synnøve Hørsdal and Ales Ree are the producers. Petter Næss and Pål Jackman directed.

“State Of Happiness is a beautifully produced period drama. I am sure that BBC Four viewers will become completely engaged by the four main characters and their experiences during this fascinating period of Norwegian history”, said the BBC Head of Programme Acquisition Sue Deeks, who brokered the licensing agreement with DR International Sales. State Of Happiness marks the latest in a string of deals for BBC Four of late. Earlier this year the channel picked up Australian drama Safe Harbour and extended existing agreements for Cardinal, Trapped and Follow The Money.