Ten million quid is a lot oflicence fees. That’s what the BBC have spent on a major new soap opera series set and made on a Spanish Costa. Tom Lappin sips his sangria and eyes up the characters.
So farewell then Terry Wogan. ‘Keep Bestie away from the vodka ferchrissakes‘ - that was your ;
catchphrase.The world‘s greatest exponentof !
bland blarney has been gently shunted into a siding' to make way for a new thrice-weekly soap, the aim i being to pick up audiences ofaround ten million in f the early evening slot—just about double what ! poor old Tel was attracting.
Eldorado (named after a fictional Spanish Costa rather than the popular Glasgow fortified wine) represents a gamble and a halfwith more than a smidgeon of rash speculation and hefty risk-taking thrown in. Ten million pounds has been invested in the production, a large slice of the cash being spent on building the 25-acre village set near the town ofCoin in the mountains above Malaga.
Initial impressions suggest Eldorado will be a sort of CostaEnders, created as it is by Tony Holland and produced by Julia Smith, the team behind Albert Square‘s applied miserableness. Smith’s comments, however. imply that it is 2 actually the antidote to EastEnders, a series where 5 they think nothing of having a wedding on the Tuesday, and killing off the bride on a Thursday.
‘Eldorado is going to have a totally different
ﬂ“ ." i" ) .i a t we at».
look,’ she says. ‘I think at the moment, when Britain is very grey and sad and tired, what I want to do is take TV technically forward and at the same time give people blue skies, brown bodies,
i greenery and sea. I want viewers back in Britain to
feel the wind through their hair.‘
ln EastEnders, anyone who came from west of Dalston was regarded as exotic. Eldorado promises to be rather more cosmopolitan, with assorted Danes, French, Swedes and Germans
f mixing with the Spaniards and expat Brits.
‘1992 is the year of Spain, and the year of Europe, and the British are not the only people here,’ says Smith. ‘There are characters from different cultures and different classes. It’s a
3 wonderful combination of strange bedfellows.’
When she says ‘bedfellows’ she isn’t being
The Eldorado gang metaphorical. There‘s plenty of between~the-sheets frolicking scheduled for the opening months, although don’t expect anything too explicit at seven o‘clock on a weekday. What is certain is that Eldorado will have to dig deep to find the necessary magic to hook ten million of us. The ploy ofstarting the series three months earlier than originally planned has already been countered by ITV’s scheduling of a one-hour ‘spoiler’ edition of Coronation Street opposite the first episode. Will Eldorado be the new Neighbours or Albion Market revisited? There‘s a colony of Brits in the mountains above Malaga with their fingers tightly crossed hoping it’s the former.
Eldorado starts on B B C I at 7pm on Monday 6 July.
Who’s who in Eldorado
I The Lockheads The Costa‘s answer to the Fowlers. Gwen (Patricia Brake) runsthe local English newspaper and isthe community mother figure. Husband Drew is a Glaswegian layabout (ho. hum). son Blair is a rather ugly would-be Romeo. and daughter Nessa a stroppy kid in a wheelchair.
I Bunny A pompous pillar ofthe community who runs Giorgio‘s restaurant. His respectability is somewhat undermined by his recent marriage to the seventeen-year-old Fizz. 31 years his junior.
I Marcus Tandy The community‘s Dirty Den figure. played by Jesse Birdsall. He‘s the villainous and lecherous owner ofa riding stables.
I Pilar Moreno The main object of Marcus‘s designs. a beautiful and mysterious teenage Spanish runaway.
I Freddie A lonely retired male nurse with potential to become the series‘ answer to
Trish Valentine with toyboy Dieter
Dot Cotton. although he‘s got competition in lonely spinster Olive King. I Gerry Rebellious beach bum who works
at the Hindles‘ beach bar.
saucy teenage daughter.
I The Hindla: Gavin and Allan, acouple of wide-boy brothers on the make, who run a bar. Sound familiar?
I Trish Valentine An ageing club singer who lives with her nineteen-year-old German toyboy Dieter, who teaches
I Joy Slater The intelligent, independent, strong and attractive owner of the imaginatively-named Joy's Bar.
I The Webb: Retired doctor and perfect gent Stanley along with his dippy wife
I Snowy The community handyman and village gossip, i.e. useful as a narrator of
I Ingrid The beautiful blonde Swedish
I The Fernandez iamin Roberto is the charming village doctor, Rosario his traditionalist wife, Javier the ‘new man' son who is chasing Ingrid, and Maria the
I The Latin: family. Philippe isthe ooh-la-la tennis coach, Isabelle his equally
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ﬂirtatious wife, and Arnaud their sixteen- year-old son who has inherited all his parents' lasciviousness.
I The Svandsens Per is the strong silent Danish chandler (no I don‘t know what a chandler is either). wife Lene runs the Scandinavian Clinic (oo-er) and daughter Trine is desperate to get off with the French kid.
I Wot! No amusing dogs?
The Lockheadiamily 9
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