Political ideas as formats are not the most straightforward sell in the world, but that did not stop SVT International, the acquisition and sales arm of Sweden’s pubcaster SVT, taking this new format to MIPTV earlier this year.
What makes the eight-part Politics and Life different from a regular political show is the tone and format, says SVT International programming sales executive Paulette Rosas Hott.
“Formats normally want you to win something or to compete in some way,” she says. “This is just a conversation that follows the same schedule each week without interruption, but it was set up so it didn’t feel like an interview designed to catch the politicians out.”
Those conversations – which see psychotherapist and presenter of SVT format Par i Terapi Poul Perris meeting with each of Sweden’s political leaders (regardless of public appetite for their opinions) to discuss the moments that influenced their outlook of politics and society – have been making waves in Sweden since beginning their broadcast on SVT2 on January 19 (Sweden’s general election will be held on September 14).
“When you follow the interview, the drama around the figure makes more sense. You might not agree with why someone is how they are, but you can at least understand better,” says Rosas Hott. “There is no political agenda – it is just letting the leader speak without being questioned.”
SVT faced a backlash for including far-right politician Jimmie Åkesson but Rosas Hott says inclusion is part of the format’s appeal.
Ratings have been strong and social media reaction on Twitter and Facebook suggests younger demographics have tuned in.
The show: Politics and Life
The producer: SVT
The distributor: SVT International
The broadcaster: SVT2 (Sweden)
The concept: Party leaders reflect on what influenced their political persuasions in frank exchanges with psychotherapist Poul Perris