Chloe Lang is the name of the ten-year-old American actress who plays Stephanie in the next season of the TV series about LazyTown, which is currently being filmed. Chloe is a great athlete who loves to sing and dance. She is excited to see herself on screen. What is your full name and how old are you?My name is Chloe Lang and I am 10 years old. Where are you from? I live in Connecticut,...
Geysir Hot Springs, the Icelandic horse, Miss Iceland, Björk and LazyTown are among the things that Iceland is known for abroad. A few years ago it would have seemed incredible that we would be known for a TV show, but now it has come to the point that a show created by Icelanders has just won the British BAFTA award for the best international children’s show.
The series LazyTown is one of the most popular children’s TV programs in the world and is currently shown in 103 countries. The number of countries will eventually reach 200 if everything goes to plan, according to Magnús Scheving, who was in Italy when a journalist spoke to him. “LazyTown is shown on a commercial TV station here in Italy and we are trying to sell the show to an open day slot on the Rai Due TV station. It is going well and there is about half a chance that it will succeed, but it won’t be definitive until a few weeks from now.”
Edda was a surprise
Magnus went straight to Italy after the BAFTA awards ceremony in the UK last Sunday. “The Oscar is the biggest recognition in the film world, but the BAFTA award is the biggest in the television world, so it is a great recognition for LazyTown to win,” says Magnús, obviously happy with the result. “Awards gives you the motivation to keep going. It is good to receive praise and confirmation of what you are doing well. We were nominated for the Emmy Awards this year, we received the Emil Award in Germany, the BAFTA Award in Great Britain and the Edda Award in Iceland, and all these awards help sell show contracts.”
It attracted attention at the Edda Awards here at home that Magnús walked up to the stage on his hands to receive the award. He repeated that performance at the BAFTAs. “One should use everyday life to stay in shape and why not walk on hands on stage to accept an award. It’s good practice and an unusual entry.” Magnús says he is very proud to receive the Edda’s honorary award this year for his contribution to the Icelandic film industry. “It was certainly a surprise, especially since I’m not very old yet. It can be a nice change to occasionally honor those who are dealing with the film work now, although it is certainly also important to honor old champions for a good lifetime’s work.”
Talked down to children?
In the latest issue of the Icelandic Language and Culture magazine (Tímarit Máls og menningar), there is an article by literary critic Dagný Kristjánsdóttir where she reflects on LazyTown and one of her conclusions was that the shows talk down to children and the stories that are told are based on a negative image of the child.
When asked, Magnús says that he has read the article. “I welcome any discussion on this topic. No one is above criticism and neither is a company. That Dagný should have this opinion is good, but I say for myself that I disagree with her. LazyTown is very popular all over the world and there must be a reason for that. I would therefore like to raise the question whether Dagný doesn’t fall for her own taste and opinion and she herself speaks down to the millions of children and parents who enjoy LazyTown?”
“Every day I see and hear the impact that LazyTown has on children from different parts of the world and from different social groups, and for me that says enough. I can, however, agree with what Dagný says that wealthy groups and market forces control children’s content on television all too often. Many television stations, for example, have advertisements for sweets during children’s program blocks on TV. But you can’t attack LazyTown for that. For example, we run a radio station in Iceland but refuse to advertise sweets there even though it would be an easy way to finance.”
“There is no doubt that there is better children’s material than LazyTown, but we at LazyTown have always tried to do our best. It seems to be paying off because we are receiving recognition for our work and there is nothing more we can do. Children love to move and don’t want to be talked down to. LazyTown has been praised a lot for not talking down to children. In LazyTown, children are never told what to do, where of course interest in healthy food and exercise is being promoted. LazyTown’s message is positive and constructive and that matters,” says Magnús cheerfully, adding that he receives thousands of emails every week where grateful parents tell him that the show has made their children choose a healthier lifestyle and that those acknowledgements mattered to him.
Matters for country and nation
Magnús admits that it is sometimes difficult to pull the wagon, but he keeps going. “The support that LazyTown has received certainly encourages us to continue making quality content for children. For Iceland, I think that LazyTown will be very important. LEGO attracts people to come to Denmark and creates jobs, tourists flock to Anne of Green Gables in Canada and The Mumintrolls in Finland, and we are not even talking about Disneyland. LazyTown is a good example of the so-called creative industries and has all the potential to create great opportunities for various industries in Iceland, like travel and service industries. With a positive attitude and an open mind, it’s amazing how far we Icelanders can go,” says Magnús, who is on his way to London after Italy, then to Iceland, and before Christmas he plans to get to Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Germany and Mexico, all for LazyTown.