|Love of The Wild triumphs at Finnish TV awards - with the help of a Finnish Lapphund
Who would have expected to see a Finnish Lapphund as guest of honour on the red carpet collecting the prestigious Golden Venla prize at the Finnish TV awards (akin to our Emmy Awards)?, writes Toni Jackson
"Love of the Wild" (Eränkävijät in Finnish) is about life in the wilderness, and follows five people, their dogs and their lives in the wilderness. It showcases nature through the seasons with brilliant cinematography and covers conservation as well as looking at living with nature, including hunting and fishing.
The five people in the show are passionate nature lovers and share their lives with the audience through the programme, Aki and Emilia are fishing guides in the most northern part of Finland, and Äijä (a Finnish lapphund) is their best friend. Äijä follows Aki's and Emilia's adventures everywhere. Äijä (kennel name Hallakedon Lapinlemmikki was bred by Anna Runtti in Oulu (NW Finland) from Fin/Swe/Lat Ch Fihtolas Ekoteko x Kultalangan Wenus) and he is 3 and a half years old).
"Love of the Wild" was nominated for the Best Programme category by YLE (Finnish Broadcast Company), and on average over 15% of population of Finland has watched every episode! So you can see it is very popular - Love of the Wild is in fact the most successful Finnish TV format in Finnish TV, and it has been sold to 30 countries. The Best Programme category winner is selected from the results of a public vote, and there were 55 programs nominated in category, which is the grand prize of the Golden Venla.
The team behind "Love of the Wild" were told one month before the event they were nominated and when voting ended they were advised they were in the Top 3, and as Äijä - the Finnish Lapphund is the most popular character in the programme (no surprises there!) the team had promised the audience that if they were the winners Äijä would be there to receive the award. So it was a long trek for Äijä and Aki Huhtanen - three days from Kilpisjärvi to Helsinki. The first 600 km were by car, and after that they caught the train to Helsinki, Äijä is very used to traveling, so there were no problems. When at the event the winner was announced as "Eränkävijät", Äijä, Aki and Teemu Hostikka (Executive Producer) went up on the stage to collect the award, at first Äijä was a little afraid of the shiny floor of the stage, perhaps thinking it was the shiny black surface of fragile ice he knows when accompanying Aki ice fishing! But as the most popular dog in Finland he took the event in his stride and after the ceremony Äijä was given his own meal from the Gala dinner buffet and a big bone to enjoy in his hotel room!