“A beautifully crafted, taut and incredibly sophisticated piece of Scandi noir,” is how Walter Iuzzolino, the man behind Channel 4’s foreign- language streaming service Walter Presents, described its new drama, Witch Hunt.
Iuzzolino, who introduced an RTS London event in October, said: “It is one of the very few shows I’ve bought off-script.” In Witch Hunt, an accountant (Ida Waage, played by Westworld actor Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) blows the whistle on corruption, but finds herself subjected to harassment and false accusations.
Series creators and writers Anna Bache-Wiig and Siv Rajendram Eliassen were inspired by the true story of a whistleblower in Norway.
Bache-Wiig explained: “What kind of people have the courage to blow the whistle on wrongdoing? It’s a very brave thing to do... you have to step out of the herd and speak up against every- one.... You are a true hero but also, depending on who’s looking at you, a snitch.”
Berdal added: “It’s difficult being a whistleblower and... living with a whistleblower as well. What does a family do in a situation where mum or dad’s life is being changed in such a profound way?... We’ll see if Ida calls it quits or
if she decides to go full steam ahead, even though there will be some costs [to her].”
The actor praised Bache- Wiig and Eliassen: “They are so fantastic at writing good scenes with plots and turning points – everything is so brilliantly planned out... When the script is so potent and great, [acting] is basically [about]... allowing it to live.”
The duo have collaborated for a decade, and wrote Utøya: July 22, which was based on the murder of 69 teenagers at a socialist youth camp in Norway in 2011. “We’re like an old married couple now. There’s no way out – we’re stuck with each other,” joked Bache-Wiig.
Eliassen added: “You work on a project for two maybe three years and it’s a lot of money; you have to work with a lot of people and producers and it can be daunting. To have someone who is equally invested... to share the blowbacks and the victories... is a pleasure.”
When writing, she continued, “you have this constant inner monologue”, which can be “both boring and lonely”. Writing with someone else makes the writing process “more bearable”.
Radio Times streaming editor Frances Taylor chaired the RTS London event.