The premiere episodes of new Flemish TV series Clan, Deadline 14/10 and The Spiral together gathered an impressive total of 2.3 million viewers in Flanders. Never before have local broadcasters committed this strongly to original indigenous quality fiction. The increase in domestic TV production is a result of the new Media fund which also supported upcoming TV series such as Quiz Me Quick, Salamander and HBO/BBC’s Parade’s End.
Sunday evening 9 September saw a historic first for television in Flanders. No fewer than three original quality fiction series were counter-programmed by leading channels één and vtm: Clan, Deadline 14/10 and The Spiral. Preliminary results indicate that the three TV series attracted a total of 2,274,000 viewers. Combined with delayed viewing and a number of repeat airings, the final total number is estimated to pass 3 million viewers or half of the population of the Flanders region.
Clan, broadcast by vtm and directed by Kaat Beels (Hotel Swooni) and Nathalie Basteyns (Still), is produced by Brussels-based outfit Caviar (Madonna’s Pig). The new 10-parter unspools a murderous tale about four sisters and their brother-in-law. Caviar is also behind the ambitious international co-production between several northern European territories, The Spiral (pictured left). This five-part cross-media venture, directed by Hans Herbots (Bo, The Divine Monster) also airs in prime time on Sunday evening but on pubcaster VRT's één channel. In The Spiral, an international artist community in Copenhagen gets entangled in a crime investigation when one of the artists mysteriously disappears.
Private broadcaster vtm also added controversial TV series Deadline 14/10, directed by Maarten Moerkerke, to its Sunday evening programming. The series, produced by Menuet (The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Misfortunates) attracted a lot of attention prior to its initial airing because the backdrop of the story is the local elections in Antwerp. The fictional elections in Deadline 14/10 stirred a lively debate as Flanders gets ready for real local elections on 14 October.