Saturday 18 November 2017

Bring back Eldorado! BBC staff urge new director general

Jesse Birdsall played Marcus Tandy in the flop BBC soap Eldorado
Jesse Birdsall played Marcus Tandy in the flop BBC soap Eldorado
The set of Eldorado was left as a ghost town after filming stopped in the 1990s

BBC staff are urging the new director general to consider bringing back the 90's soap Eldorado - 19 years after it was axed.

The soap, which cost British taxpayers £10m - with £2m alone being blown on the huge set in the town of Coín in Malaga - only ran for one year before being axed by incoming director general Alan Yentob in 1993.

The 'sunshine soap', which aired three times-a-week and was based around the lives of ex-pats living in the Costa Del Sol, only ran for 156 episodes from July 6 1992 until July 9 1993.

It had been blasted by critics for it 'amateurish acting' and 'very unconvincing storylines' and is now a byword for a TV show which flops.

But this week BBC staff have urged the new director general George Entwistle to 'consider' bringing the soap back to our screens - saying it will help brink a 'chink of sunlight' into recession-hit Britain.

Last week former Eldorado crew member Paul Davies called for the soap to return - prompting a flurry of BBC workers to support him in his fight to get the soap back on TV.

Mr Davies, who was just 21 when he worked on the production team on the soap, spoke to BBC mag Aerial last week saying the show should be revived by the new BBC boss.

He said he wanted the show to make a 'triumphant return', adding: "Critics would argue it was hubristic, too excessive and the axe deserved to fall prematurely.

"I would argue it was ambitious, ahead of its time and an example of the BBC machine working at its very best.

"I just hope a channel controller sees the potential and commissions a revisit to Eldorado in the future."

He added: "I've got great memories of how the programme launched, the headline news about a possible ratings war between the two major soaps and the buzz of a cast and crew working to make a show that allowed viewers to escape the misery of the early 1990s recession.

"If the BBC had been allowed to take confidence from a growing audience who'd really begun to enjoy the trials and tribulations of the characters perhaps Eldorado might still be on the air."

In the wake of the article, a flock of BBC workers have backed Mr Davies and are pushing for the new director general to 'explore the possibility' of re-opening the set, which still stands today, and starting filming again.

The show started with an audience of 8m, dipping to 3.5m, but stabilising at 5m by the time it was axed - which is 'not bad' in today's viewing figures, according to one BBC worker.

Respected TV writer Tony Jordan, who wrote the first episode of Eldorado and is a former lead writer of EastEnders as well as for Minder and Boon, said recently that he wanted the Spanish-set soap to return.

Speaking last year he said: "I think we should bring Eldorado back.

"It's a fantastic brand - although obviously not in the way it was first done, and I wrote the first episode so I'm allowed to say that."

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