BBC boss urged to revive Eldorado

The BBC’s new Director General, George Entwistle, is reportedly being urged to revive defunct Spain-set soap Eldorado.

The show revolved around ex-pats living in the fictional Costa Del Sol town of Los Barcos, and over a single year on air, between 1992-1993, clocked up 156 episodes across a thrice-weekly transmission pattern. It was created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland who had earlier brought EastEnders to fruition for the corporation in 1985.

Eldorado was axed by the BBC following low-ratings for some of its run and a mauling in the UK press. The soap has become a byword for dodgy acting, fluffed lines, bizarre plots and poor production values. It’s a somewhat unfair reputation though as there was a turn around in storytelling and upward movement in the ratings prior to the show’s cancellation at the behest of then BBC One controller Alan Yentob.

Nearly twenty years later the BBC’s new director general, George Entwistle, is facing calls to revive it. Paul Davies, who worked on the soap, has called for its return in the BBC’s in-house magazine Ariel.

“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.” – Davies

Last year one of Eldorado’s scriptwriters, Tony Jordan, who has also written extensively for EastEnders spoke in favour of the soap’s return.

“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.” – Tony Jordan

The BBC and Cinema Verity co-production starred Jesse Birdsall, Patricia Brake, Derek Martin, Polly Perkins and Campbell Morrison.

Polly Perkins as Trish Valentine in Eldorado.
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26 Replies to “BBC boss urged to revive Eldorado”

  1. Since the 20th anniversary article ran on BBC Online, George has been bombarded by people wanting to know if the show could return to daytime BBC1. 
     
    I’m sure you’ve seen that the national press have been stoking the conversation and The Telegraph and ATV websites are currently running a poll, saying that 75% of the public want Eldorado back.
     
    I would like a UK broadcaster to consider making a couple of half hour pilots for a new Eldorado that will prove that a twice-weekly daily soap, set on the Costa del Sol, can be made to work.
     
    I’m confident that we start from a position of strength on this project, in that the lessons of the past have been learned. 
     
    I now know that having too few British characters proved alienating, that the character list went too wide, too fast and that the original painted with too broad a brush when characters could have been drawn from real life with more nuance.
     
    Nuance aside, this can still be a high-concept sex & sangria soap about ex-pats abroad.  So we keep the fast cars, helicopters, outdoor sports, OTT villas and the infamous Old Town of the original but apply a scorched-earth policy to the 1992 cast list.  
     
    Instead, we populate OUR Eldorado with funny, sexy, tanned (trained!) actors caught in exciting, yet credible predicaments.  We make sure we can skew to a teen audience but maintain enough strong, older, female characters to capture and maintain a core audience.
     
    I know that Eldorado is seen by some as the BBC’s slightly embarrassing uncle, but it was a really great idea that due to some (admittedly, pretty catastrophic) casting, story-lining and sound issues, didn’t live up to its promise.  How wonderful and inspiring it would be to re-boot Eldorado and make it a success story.
     
    Southern Spain is still the most popular British holiday destination and still enjoys our largest expat community.  There is absolutely no doubt about the location: We Brits love Spain!

  2. Bravo, Bravo!! I would love to see this show comeback. I have spent holidays on the Costa Del Sol for the last ten years, there are a raft of interesting stories and character’s down on the coast. I remember bumping into Max Clifford last year on the golf course! Everyone makes mistakes and it was a mistake to axe Eldorado. Bring it back once a week and let it grow.

  3. A mate of mine loved this show and he would put two tv’s side by side whilst watching one tv and the second tv he would continuously switch it off and on believeing that he was helping the viewing figures go up. He was 18 by the way.

  4. Of course “Eldorado” should return – it should never have been taken off in the first place. People loved the fact that it dared to be different and gave us a different view than the ones traditionally presented to us by our soaps.

    Those berating it only ever regurgitate the view of the press at the time. A press who were eager to give the BBC a good kicking regardless.

    Anyone who watched the programme it matured into would have seen a quality drama produced by dedicated professionals. Ultimately it was one of the top 5 most watched programmes on television with viewing figures any show would die for these days.

    I run a website dedicated to the show (http://www.losbarcos.org.uk/) and even I’m amazed at how many emails I still get from people who miss the programme, 20 years on. Several online polls recently (including one run by The Telegraph newspaper) have clearly shown overwhelming support for it returning. If ever we needed something as vibrant and refreshing as “Eldorado” again, it’s now.

  5. Back in 1992 I was 7, and don’t remember Eldorado. I now work at Big Brother as a researcher, this show sounds like it was fun. Bring it back!

    1. Totally brilliant, I would have paid to be there!
      All the top brass are based in that building. There’s
      no way on earth they wouldn’t have heard it!! Lol

  6. Yes please… There was nothing to watch lastnight on any channel.
    If Eldorado was still on today it would be massive. Come on TV exec’s we want
    Eldorado back please. No other show in the history of TV has had so much press
    support for a comeback.

  7. This is such an exciting idea. The potential is huge. If ITV picked it up you could have crossovers with Corrie, Emmerdale etc. Most Brits holiday in Spain… Bring it on, could be the greatest TV comeback
    ever!

  8. Eldorado is brilliant.

    I’ve just been watching some clips on
    YouTube. It was such a refreshing change
    to see real people in the sun. It’s a million
    times better than Corrie and Eastenders.

    The sunny wrappings and ribbons have cheered
    me up today. Today’s soaps are just dull and
    depressing. I stopped watching them years
    ago.

    The BBC should bring this show back now.
    Britain needs a pick me up!

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