The Almost Nearly Perfect People - The Truth About The Nordic Miracle

Episodes

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01Denmark, The Happiest Country In The World20140210

The Danes are consistently rated as the happiest people on earth but pay the highest taxes

In the year that sees a major new exhibition on Vikings at the British Museum our fascination with all things Scandinavian shows no sign of abating.

Journalist, Michael Booth's timely new book sees the author embark on a revealing and humorous journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover the secrets of their success.

Across the week, five post-cards from each of the countries which challenge the often rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media. Along the way, a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of the region - it isn't always easy being Nordic.

First up the Danes - consistently rated as the happiest people on earth and yet they pay the highest taxes.

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Abridged by Richard Hamilton

Produced by Gemma Jenkins.

02Modern-day Icelanders And Their Viking Past20140211

Michael Booth explores Iceland and its response to the 2008 financial crash.

Journalist, Michael Booth's timely new book sees the author embark on a revealing and often humorous journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover the secrets of their success.

Today, Iceland and the part the Viking spirit played in the country's response to the 2008 financial crash.

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Abridged by Richard Hamilton

Produced by Gemma Jenkins.

03Norway And Its Oil Riches20140212

Michael Booth examines the impact of the nation's colossal oil wealth on the Nordic psyche

Journalist, Michael Booth's timely new book sees the author embark on a revealing journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover the secrets of their success.

Today, Norway - a country taking stock post-Breivik and the impact of the nation's colossal oil wealth on the Nordic psyche.

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Abridged by Richard Hamilton

Produced by Gemma Jenkins.

04Enigmatic Finland20140213

Journalist, Michael Booth's timely new book sees the author embark on a revealing and often humorous journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover the secrets of their success.

Today, Finland and a visit to what lies at the heart of the country's social and political life - the sauna.

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Abridged by Richard Hamilton

Produced by Gemma Jenkins.

A visit to what lies at the heart of Finland's social and political life - the sauna.

05 LASTSweden, The Perfect Society20140214

How the country held up as a beacon of perfection is actually disliked by its neighbours.

Journalist, Michael Booth's timely new book sees the author embark on a revealing and often humorous journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover the secrets of their success.

Today, Sweden - a country held up as a beacon of perfection by the Western world and yet disliked by its neighbours.

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Abridged by Richard Hamilton

Produced by Gemma Jenkins.