"Secret" interviews are saved for future research

Last year Det Kgl. Bibliotek signed an agreement to preserve a number of recorded conversations with prominent Danes. The twist? They are not broadcast until after the main characters have died.

Picture for secret interviews

Ed Rojas/Unsplash

The conversations are a project which journalist Mikael Bertelsen has launched, and the other day the first interview under the title "The last word" was broadcast on TV 2. It was with Bent Fabricius-Bjerre, who through his 95-year life enriched the Danish cultural history with his music.

The 50 minutes shown are an edited version of a long conversation. There is therefore a significant amount of material which can be accessed in the future, because the library holds the entire recording. However, this can only happen 20 years after the person's death.

Deputy Director with responsibility for digital cultural heritage and media, Tonny Skovgård Jensen, explains:

The role we usually perform unnoticed in the background when we collect and preserve cultural heritage such as text and music became very physical and concrete, at the moment when Bent Fabricius-Bjerre at the start of the broadcast signed the agreement that Det Kgl. Bibliotek may store all the raw material for the conversation. We already preserve his many works, and now also this very special concluding conversation in its entirety. We ensure that everything is accessible to the eyes and ears of the future - it becomes part of their cultural heritage, just as it is part of ours.'

Tonny Skovgård Jensen elaborates that one of the library's core tasks is to secure cultural heritage, so that researchers and others who have to do research have access to relevant material and documentation, even when many years have passed, and the material may be difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. Access that can influence the future's view and perception of, for example, a historical cultural personality and his or her contribution to cultural heritage.

The recordings are stored so that only a few employees at Det Kgl. Bibliotek have access to them. Even a deputy director like Tonny Skovgård Jensen cannot access them, even if he wants a sneak preview.

More about our role in "The Last Word"

If you want to learn more about the library's role and interest in the collaboration, there is more knowledge to be gained:

  • Podcast from MediaWatch Q & co Week 6 with interview with Mikael Bertelsen
  • "Mikael Bertelsen makes new, secret project with TV 2", Politiken, 31 January 2020
  • Interview in 'News and Co.' on TV 2 News, Monday 3 August 2020 at 16-18 (the feature starts at 16.30) (can be seen via TV 2 play)
  • Article in the trade magazine 'Journalisten' on Tuesday 4 August 2020
  • The program 'Kræs' on Radio 4, at 17.30 circa 6 August 2020