The end of a dramatic era

FILM PEOPLE. Ingolf Gabold celebrates his 70th birthday and retires from his job as DR’s Head of Drama after 12 years at the post and 35 years in DR. A new job as executive producer at Eyeworks awaits the veteran TV executive, who insists on dying with his boots on.

DR’s Head of Drama Ingolf Gabold has had a busy weekend. On Friday 30 March, the day before he turned 70, he retired from DR after a total of 35 years at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, the last 12 years as Head of Drama. Monday 2 April, he starts a new job as Senior Producer and developer at Eyeworks Fine & Mellow.

A winning formula

Ingold Gabold became Head of Drama in 1999, replacing director Rumle Hammerich, who in a few years had managed to revolutionize the drama department by creating succesful drama series narratively inspired by the American TV tradition, such as the drama soap "Taxa".

Ingolf Gabold

Born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1942. Moved to Denmark with his Danish mother at the end of World War II. Trained a composer and was first employed by DR in 1966 as a teacher for the choir and producer of The Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Eventually, Gabold became more interested in dramaturgy, and taught courses in narrative techniques. In 1991, he landed the job as program executive, but was fired the following year due to disputes about moving the news time slot. Returned to DR as Head of Drama in 1999. Joins Eyeworks Fine & Mellow as a senior producer in April 2012.

Gabold developed this form even further with a string of popular drama series such as "Unit One", "Nikolaj & Julie", "The Eagle", "Better Times", "The Killing" and "Borgen", all characterized by an international look, and an entertaining and taut narrative style combined with a Scandinavian depth. Gabold calls this "the double narrative": DR's status as a public service institution requires that the drama series in addition to the 'good story' the must contain an overarching plot or theme with ethical or social connotations.

This has proven to be a winning formula. For the past decade, DR's drama series have enjoyed international attention (most recently, the Brits have been swooning over the second season of "The Killing"), Emmy Awards (for "Unit One", "Nikolaj & Julie", "The Eagle" and "The Protectors") and soaring domestic ratings: With 2.717.000 viewers – roughly half of the Danish population – the historical drama "Better Times" holds the record for the highest rating measured in Denmark since the introduction of the new metering system in TV-meter system in 1992.

"I've had many wonderful years in DR, but the final ones here have been the funniest ever. It's been amazing! A very, very great experience. It's obviously connected with the fact that we have also been very lucky. We have managed to develop the department from being a solid well-producing Danish-Nordic drama department to become an international drama department that has been able to win prizes and make money. This has allowed us pretty big budgets; since the house has been nice enough to leave us the money we have recovered from sales," Gabold says to DR.

The general dies with his boots on

Now awaits new challenges. On 2 April, Gabold joins the newly founded production company Eyeworks Fine & Mellow as a senior producer and developer with the responsibility of the Scandinavian TV series.

Does he ever want to take a break?

"No. I have an innate fear of become bored", he says to DR.

"I feel like old generals: I want to die with my boots on. I cannot stand the thought of being retired. I have no interest in golf or butterflies or collecting stamps. I am not done producing. I hope I can continue to improve the Danish television drama in my new job along with DR and TV 2. We've only just begun!" Gabold says to B.T.

Forbrydelsen_Bjarne Bergius Hermansen