Production design and location in the Danish television drama series Arvingerne

Jakob Ion Wille, Anne Marit Waade

Publications: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Television fiction is most often referred to as the writer’s medium, whereas feature film is generally perceived as the vision and work of the director. In this article we turn our focus to the role and function of the production design and locations in developing and conceptualising a television drama series. We use the drama series Arvingerne (The Legacy, DR, 2014-2015) to illustrate how design ideas can be developed at an early stage, in pre-pre-production, as part of a collective, creative process that includes the scriptwriter, the production designer and the producer.
Our empirical study of the series draws on an analysis of in-house design/concept documents [1], interviews with the production designer Mia Stensgaard [2], and promotional material made for the series [3]. The paper also draws on visual analysis of the finished production. Our overall argument is that the importance of location and production design has been overlooked in studies of television drama development and production, despite the fundamental part these play in drama production in general and in establishing the production values and the visual style of a series in particular. We also want to shed light on the somewhat neglected relation between place and story in television productions. At the end of the article we suggest a simplified analytical model including dramatic text, visual design and location registrations as mutually dependent objects in the development of screen fiction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number263
Issue number263
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2016

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