My must-watch show is Sweden’s riveting spring moose migration, a natural drama full of atavistic pleasures
Appointment viewing is a different prospect in Sweden. The nation is not glued to AC-12 interviews with an officer one rank superior. Instead, each spring for the past three years, the state broadcaster Sveriges Television has filmed 24/7 coverage of migrating moose (also known as European elk). The Great Elk Trek is another Nordic slow TV sensation, following on from Norway’s train journey to the Arctic Circle, Knitting and Firewood (12 hours of stacking and burning, watched by more than a million viewers).
The annual spring migration involves the moose herd having to swim across the Ångermanälven river. They are in no hurry – this is slow TV, after all – and will not cross until the last ice on the shore has melted. This means the livestream often offers up an hour or two of a single moose chewing meditatively, warm breath vapour dissipating gradually in the forest chill, or just standing looking at the river. That is a best-case scenario. “I’m watching the monitors right now and there is absolutely nothing happening,” said presenter Anders Lundin, who was interviewed about the trek in its first year. Most of the time you get a delightful, entirely moose-free landscape.