Nicola Sturgeon lobbied to meet star of Borgen

Danish Actress Sidse Knudsen meets Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Toby Williams

Danish Actress Sidse Knudsen meets Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Toby Williams

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DEPUTY First Minister Nicola Sturgeon lobbied furiously to meet the star of her favourite Danish TV drama, e-mails from the Scottish Government show.

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Ms Sturgeon is known to be a big fan of the acclaimed TV show Borgen, which follows the career and personal life of fictional Danish prime minister Birgitte Nyborg.

The deputy SNP leader’s ministerial office lobbied Danish officials to ensure she was invited to a special screening of the hit political drama at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema.

Ms Sturgeon even offered to give Borgen leading actress Sidse Babett Knudsen a personal guided tour of the Scottish Parliament.

The tour invite was declined due to the “very tight” schedule of the actress, but Ms Sturgeon’s offer to introduce a Q&A session with Ms Knudsen and fans of the show at the Filmhouse screening was accepted.

Scottish Government officials had insisted that the publicity would be good “for all of us” at the screening, where Ms Sturgeon was the guest of honour in February.

The determined operation to secure Ms Sturgeon’s meeting with her TV heroine was revealed in a dozen private e-mails between the government and the Danish consul, released as a result of an FOI inquiry.

Ms Sturgeon was even prepared to change her ministerial diary to meet the star, the e-mails – some marked “importance high” – revealed.

A message to Danish consul Stuart MacPherson on 9 January – three weeks before the Borgen screening – from Ms Sturgeon’s spin doctor Liz Lloyd set out the offer of a Holyrood tour.

She wrote: “Obviously sometimes events overtake diaries –but I think we could plan on the basis that the Deputy First Minister will be available.

“If the lead actress is available I think a visit to Holyrood with Nicola Sturgeon would go down incredibly well in the media, for all of us.

The Deputy First Minister has used social networking site Twitter to praise Borgen, which aired on BBC4, as a realistic portrayal of life in the corridors of power.

In one Tweet, Ms Sturgeon wrote: “It’s one of the most credible fictional accounts of life in politics that I’ve seen on television, and it’s from a woman’s perspective too, which is rare.”

However, Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said Ms Sturgeon should focus on her role as the Cabinet minister .

He said: “Nicola Sturgeon seems to be a bit star-struck and perhaps she should focus on her long list of ministerial responsibilities rather than being a groupie to the stars.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Danish consul was more than happy for the Deputy First Minister to be 
involved in meeting the actress at the screening.”

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