Norway plans 12-hour TV show of knitting

OSLO Fri Nov 1, 2013 5:54am EDT

OSLO Nov 1 (Reuters) - Hoping to take "slow TV" to a new level, Norway's public broadcaster will air 12 hours of knitting from Friday night, complete with sheep shearing, needle tips, how to knit a cover for a Harley Davidson motorbike and a world record attempt.

"We'll dive deep into the world of knitting, then from midnight, we'll turn down the pace, if that's even possible," said Rune Moeklebust, a producer for public television NRK.

"We'll watch the arm of a sweater get longer and longer; it will be fascinating ... but pretty strange TV."

NRK is a veteran in 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. Millions tuned in.

In February, it aired a 12-hour show on firewood, featuring discussions about stacking and chopping, and a debate on whether the bark should face up or down. One in five Norwegians watched the show at one point.

"You can argue that the national knitting night is the feminine response to the firewood show," said Sidsel Mundal, a spokeswoman for NRK.

In the first part of the show, various guests will share tips on anything related to knitting and producers will also bring in one of NRK's foreign correspondents, who takes his knitting on road trips and sometimes teaches locals.

Then from midnight, a team of eight will attempt to break the world record for shearing a sheep and making a sweater from its wool.

The current record for the "back to back challenge" - from the back of a sheep to the back of a person - stands at four hours and 51 minutes, held by the Merriwa Jumbucks from New South Wales in Australia's outback.

"The sheep is now resting and grazing on an island near Bergen, getting ready for the challenge," Mundal said.

Slow TV has been so popular, the channel will broadcast globally for the first time, making the show available at www.nrk.no/knitting with English commentary. It is also inviting fans to share their work on its Facebook and Instagram sites.

The next slow TV broadcast is on the drawing board but Moeklebust has ideas.

"I'm fascinated by doing the clock minute by minute. There must be a way of doing that," he said. "Or we might do something from the air, like a travel across Norway, with the ship." (editing by Elizabeth Piper)