Walter Presents: NRK (Norway)’s Unge lovende (Young and Promising), starting Tuesday

Unge Lovende (Young and Promising)
Siri Seljeseth, Gine Cornelia Pedersen and Alexandra Gjerpen in NRK (Norway)'s Unge Lovende (Young and Promising)

Walter Presents has a new show starting on Channel 4 on Tuesday at 11.05pm called Unge lovende (Young and Promising). “If you liked Girls, you will absolutely love this…,” Walter says.

Which is nice, since it’s Norwegian and as writer/star Siri Seljeseth says: “There’s been a real shortage of women on TV who aren’t just a dead body in the woods.”

The show, penned by and starring Siri Seljeseth, is highly autobiographical, drawing on her own experiences of what it feels like to be floundering in your 20s. Focusing on three women, it challenges everything from everyday sexism, consent, sexual harassment and the weight of expectation from an older generation who, particularly in Norway – a country where most people securely worked in oil-related business for decades – often look at a career in the arts as indulgent and irresponsible.

“I just thought there wasn’t really a show about being in your 20s here, and finding out that life might not be what you expected,” says Seljeseth. Thanks to national testing introduced across all schools in Norway, she says there is now an “extreme pressure on young people to be exceptional” that had led them to be branded “generation perfection”.

“I wanted to show people it’s actually ok to fail,” she adds. “In Norway the pressure not to fail is a huge problem and means people have breakdowns and develop eating disorders because they don’t have straight As.”

Young and Promising
Young and Promising. Photograph: Eirik Evjen

The show started on NRK (Norway) in 2015 and is now on its third season, so clearly it’s doing something right. I haven’t seen it (obvs) but here’s a plot synopsis and a trailer or two.

The series begins with Elise (Seljeseth) who, having tried her hand at standup in Los Angeles, has returned home to Norway to renew her visa. There she meets up with her girlfriends Nenne (Gine Cornelia Pedersen) and Alex (Alexandra Gjerpen).

Nenne is an aspiring writer who works in catering as she searches for a publisher, and Alex’s only focus is to get in to the Theatre Academy despite having already failed three times.

The girls discover that pretty much everyone, including their parents, have no idea what they’re doing with their lives. As they try to break into adulthood, they take comfort from the fact that we are all clueless fools doing the best we can.