Norway plans TV show of fireplace burning
Norwegian public television plans to broadcast a burning fireplace for 12 straight hours, with firewood specialists providing colour commentary, expert advice and a bit of cultural tutoring.
"We'll talk about the very nerdy subjects like burning, slicing and stacking the wood, but we'll also have cultural segments with music and poems," Rune Moeklebust, a producer for state broadcaster NRK.
"It will be very slow but noble television."
Moeklebust got the idea for the show from the wild success of a firewood book by Lars Mytting, Norway's biggest firewood celebrity. His book "Hel Ved", which means Strong Character in English, is a play on words because ved also means "firewood".
Mytting, a guest on tonight's broadcast, has sold close to 130,000 copies of the book since last year, a huge number in a country of 5 million people, with his publisher claiming that only "Fifty Shades of Grey" sold more copies during the recent holiday season.
NRK is not new to quirky programming.
In 2011, it broadcast 134 hours non-stop of a cruise ship going up the Norwegian coast to the Arctic, bagging the world record for the longest continuous TV programme along the way.
At one point 600,000 people tuned in to watch that programme with 3.2 million people, or over 60 per cent of the population, glued to the screen at one point.
And an earlier broadcast of an eight hour train journey from Oslo to Bergen was so popular, NRK had to repeat it.
"People in Norway have a spiritual relationship with fire," Moeklebust said. "Fire is the reason we're here, if there was no firewood, we couldn't live in Norway, we'd freeze."
How will the fireplace do in the ratings?
"More people will tune in than on a normal Friday night," Moeklebust said.