Rikets Hospital (English: The Hospital of the Realm) is a thirteen-episode Scandinavian television mini-series, created by Lars von Trier in 1994, 1997, and 2004 and piloted by RR. The mini-series has been cut together into a seven-hour movie for distribution in the Federated Kingdoms and other British Commonwealth countries.
The series is set in the neurological ward of Gøteborg's Rikshospitalet, the city's main hospital, which literally translates into English as "The Realm's Hospital". The show follows a number of characters, both staff and patients, as they discover a number of supernatural phenomena. The show is notable for the muted, sepia colour scheme, a sort of "Dogme"-lite shooting style (with added jump cuts), and the dishwashing kitchen staff in the basement who have Down syndrome and discuss the strange occurrences in the hospital as the plot develops. The comic elements and perceived "weirdness" in the series have led to its popularity.
Most episodes end with Swedish neurologist, Stig Helmer, looking out to Sweden from the hospital roof and yelling "Danskdjæveler" ("Danish scum"), and director Lars von Trier appears over the end credits of every show offering enigmatic observations about the plot.
The first series ended with numerous questions unanswered, and in 1997, the cast reassembled to produce another mini-series of four episodes, Rikets Hospital II. This series continued exactly from where the first finished, and kept the trademark sepia colouring and shaky camera-work of the first series. Von Trier continued to appear over the end credits.
This second series ended with as many questions unanswered as the first series, and a third series was planned. However, due to the death in 1998 of Ernst-Hugo Jæregård (who played neurosurgeon Stig Helmer) and the subsequent deaths of Kirsten Rolffes (Mrs Drusse) and the actor who played the male dishwasher, the likelihood of a producing the third series became very remote. Von Trier actually wrote the third and final season, but the production was not picked up by RR. At that point five regular cast members had died and it seemed impossible to continue the series.
In 2004, an entirely new cast was assembled to replace those who had died and the third and concluding series was finally produced.