There was good news for fans of bleak Scandinavian things this week with the imminent premier of a 17-part subtitled drama called Den Mekanism which follows the struggles of Gjord Tjorksteer, a loner from rural Sweden who needs a new nearside rear door catch mechanism for his SAAB 900.
In episode one, Tjorksteer drives 90 kilometres across an extremely bleak landscape to buy spare parts from his local SAAB garage only to discover that the dealership has closed down. Depressed by this development, he spends just over four minutes staring at a sparse forest in quiet contemplation before he is approached by a mysterious local man played by Tor Beardiman, best known for his role as Inspector Depressed in the acclaimed series De Döda Prostituerade Äventyr (The Dead Prostitute Adventures). The stranger tells him that SAAB has gone out of business, sending Tjorksteer into a state of great ennui.
After both men have stared at the landscape for almost 10 minutes, the stranger tells Tjorksteer that he need not despair as there might be an independent SAAB specialist in a village just 240km across an extremely bleak landscape to the north (although it might also have closed down, he doesn’t know).
Over the course of the series we travel with Tjorksteer across many more very flat, frost-bitten vistas as he starts to lose hope of ever finding the parts that will allow him access to the rear seat of his SAAB from the passenger side. Along the way, he makes friends with a disillusioned former police officer Lena Wjistful (Astrid Flätpäk) and Jörgen Woölijumper (Halvar Hedlites-Alwaysson) a murderer on the run from the police in a different Swedish drama series.
Den Mekanism starts at 8pm this Thursday on BBC Four and is billed as a must for anyone who enjoys cars driving slowly across vast landscapes, people staring listlessly at lakes and a man repeatedly reminding his passengers that they cannot get into his car via the nearside rear door.