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"Bron" and "The Tunnel": European straits on TV

The popularity of television series did not leave out European straits: the Øresund and Dover Strait are the decor of two European cross-border productions in the last years.

Broadcasted on TV in Sweden and Denmark since September 2011, Bron (also known as The Bridge) is staging a murder in the middle of the Øresund bridge, between Copenhagen and Malmö. The television series, created by Hans Rosenfeldt, focuses on collaboration between polices of the two countries to solve the investigation.

Inspired from Bron, The Tunnel transposes the investigation in Dover Strait (cross-border production of Canal + and Sky Atlantic). A body is discovered on the frontier line between France and the United Kingdom, within the service tunnel of the Channel Tunnel, requiring the cooperation of the polices from Calais and Folkestone. On both sides of the border, shooting took place in iconic places of the strait in Kent and northern France: Canterbury, Dover, Shepway, Thanet, Folkestone, Margate, Cap Blanc-Nez, Calais, Dunkirk, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Wimille, Calais-Fréthun train station… Several scenes are shot directly in the tunnel, with special authorisation of Eurotunnel, and extras are real employees of Eurotunnel. According to Nora Melhi, director of Shine France Films quoted by Le Monde, “the choice of the Channel Tunnel is not meaningless, because it establishes all along the series a heavy and mysterious atmosphere”.

In both series, the cross-border dimension is a key feature of the story, police officers having to cope with different regulations and issues in each country. The use of a male-female binomial, with one character from each country, sets a dramatic tension that highlights the deeply human dimension of cross-border cooperation. In their own ways, these two series contribute to the popularisation of cross-border cooperation in straits’ areas.

For the most curious, it can be noted that an American adaptation of Bron called The Bridge has also been produced. It features cooperation between US and Mexican police forces after a murder is committed on the bridge between El Paso and Juarez, with a background of corruption and drugs traffic.

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