Sunday night’s opening edition of ZDF’s WWII-set “Dresden — The Inferno” — the most expensive telepic in German history at e11 million ($13.2 million) — set a ratings record for a German miniseries with an audience of 12.7 million and an astonishing 39% share in the 14-49 demo.
Even bigger ratings were expected for its 90-minute finale on Monday.
Love story follows a German nurse and a Royal Air Force pilot hiding in her Dresden hospital after he was shot down just before the 1945 Allied bombing of the city that killed 35,000.
It has touched a nerve in a country finally ready to confront its past in films, books and TV shows.
“Dresden” is the latest entry in the recent multipart event-film trend looking at Germany’s past through fictional romantic settings.
By tacitly suggesting that the Dresden bombing was a war crime, film breaches a post-war taboo despite its efforts to remain balanced by showing both the British and German p.o.v.
ZDF and producers Teamworx and Jan Mojto’s EOS Entertainment were hawking a slightly shorter theatrical cut of “Dresden” at the Berlinale last month and have sold the miniseries to more than a half-dozen terroritories.
Mojto also runs Beta Film, which is selling the mini internationally.
“Dresden” beat RTL’s “TV event of the year,” last month’s two-part “Storm Tide” about a 1962 flood in Hamburg, which drew 11.4 million viewers. Teamworx and EOS produced “Storm Tide.”