Hans Villius

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Hans Villius bigraphy, stories - Swedish historian

Hans Villius : biography

10 July 1923 – 22 June 2012

Villius received his doctorate in history in 1951 with his dissertation Karl XII:s ryska fälttåg: Källstudier ("Charles XII’s Russian campaign: A Source Study.") in which he critically analysed the narrative sources of Charles XII’s officers during the campaign. In 1957 Villius joined Swedish Radiotjänst (now Sveriges Radio, Sweden’s national public radio corporation) and began making popular historical documentaries and programming until he moved to Sveriges Television (SVT) in 1966. It was at SVT that Villius began working with TV-producer Olle Häger, a very productive collaboration that would span some two decades. During the 1980s and 90s, Häger and Villius produced several popular documentaries like Fyra dagar som skakade Sverige ("Four days that shook Sweden") in 1988 about the Swedish "Midsummer Crisis" during WW II and Raoul Wallenberg – fånge i Sovjet ("Raoul Wallenberg – prisoner in the Soviet Union.") as well as one of SVT’s biggest and most popular documentary productions ever, Hundra Svenska År ("One Hundred Swedish years"), consisting of eight one-hour documentaries on the history of Sweden during the 20th century from many different perspectives.

Other than his dedication to entertaining and educating, Villius was most famous for his narrating both his own and others’ documentaries, and his soft Kalmar-accent is instantly recognizable to millions of Swedes (even to those who do not know his name). He also played the Minister of Justice in the thriller The Man from Majorca. His voice has almost become a concept of its own, intimately associated with serious educational programming and spawning many parodies (e.g., in TV-commercials) and imitations among comedians.

Discography

  • Det mest formidabla klot jag någonsin skådat (1996)
  • Skrivet i lönndom (1999)
  • Svart gryning (2000)