13 Nov, 2013 @ 18:30
1 min read

Eldorado stars back in town

eldorado cast

A PAIR of actors have made a poignant return to the set of the BBC’s most famous flop.

The duo – who starred in Eldorado, a soap opera based on the life of expats in Spain – have lent support to an online petition to bring the show back.

The pair, Franco Rey and Polly Perkins teamed up with producer Andrew Mark Sewell for the visit to the now empty set in the hills above Coin. Sewell was behind the revival of another cult television classic, Blake’s 7.

Perkins, who has just appeared in Eastenders as Dot Cotton’s sister Rose, said: “People are still talking about Eldorado even after all these years. The tourists loved it, they felt connected with us and used to visit our locations.”

The early days of Eldorado, however, were notorious for behind-the-scenes problems. It was beset with problems of wobbly sets and even more wobbly acting: Rey was actually an optician from Golders Green and later worked as an investigator for disgraced newspaper News of the World.

The problems would eventually lead to co-creator, producer Julia Smith – who had also co-created Eastenders – having a nervous breakdown.

Despite everything viewing figures began to improve, but in 1993 new BBC1 Controller Alan Yentob sensationally axed the programme, even though it was attracting over nine million viewers.

Over 20 years later, an internet campaign to revive the soap has gathered thousands of signatures, and Yentob has remarked “The campaign is more famous than the show itself!”

As Perkins, who played Trish Valentine added: “A return would be great and it could be more sophisticated, less gloomy than most British soaps, aspirational and certainly more glamourous.

“It could offer a good contrast between the ordinary folk who live on the urbanisations and the glamourous folk in their Marbella palaces.”

There were rumours another expat-centred soap was about to launch… find out more here.

Claire Wilson

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  1. I loved Eldorado and during our first visit to Spain we watched them filming in Puerto Cabopino. We also met Polly Perkins on our flight back to the UK. She was really nice to my daughter who was about 9 at the time and chatted to her for ages. It would be good to have a soap (apart from the Australian ones) that have lots of lovely sunshine to brighten our days!

  2. For the few working class brits that came to the south of spain, to obsess with suntans and karaoke bars, i’m sure it was a fun series.
    But as the majority of brits had, and have, NO interest in these people, the series was canned.
    Never to return.

  3. I’m a working class Brit and I have never obsessed about suntans and karaoke bars! I enjoyed the series because it was based in an area that I love and enjoyed seeing places that I had visited, it was never given a chance to improve itself and that was a shame. All soaps start by growing slowly and build up a fan base, I can’t stand the depression and gloom in British soaps and to see the sunshine each week was something to look forward

  4. Yes to me it was a classic soap ,like crossroads ,or wentworth (prisoner cell block H)now do not take this in the wrong way the wobbly sets the mood swings of the characters ,fluffing of lines etc . only added to this soap and we in SPAIN WOULD GET BARRY MITCHELL BACK .The intrepid reporter always digging up the dirt. great stuff, hey i can think of a story line juicy full of scandal fit right in about a ,well lets see if it comes back I then can sell the script to the producers.

  5. It wasn’t a “flop” – you really need to do your research. “Eldorado” was ultimately once of the most popular programmes on television back in 1993, but that is never reported by the tabloids. If it was so unpopular, why are we still discussing it 20 years later? Why did a poll in “The Daily Telegraph” last year result in 83% of respondents saying they wanted the show to return?

    You do realise that the picture you’ve featured isn’t of either of the actors concerned don’t you?

    Wobbly sets? I think you’re getting confused with 1960’s “Doctor Who” there. Are your real journalists on holiday or something??

    In reality “Eldorado” was way ahead of it’s time. It was launched before we really felt a part of Europe and it would be more relevant than ever now. As Polly Perkins rightly says, it’s exactly what we need – something more positive, cheerful and glamorous than traditional British soaps.

    Bring it back!

  6. I agree James. I first went to Spain in 1992 and it was so good to see places that I was visiting on TV. OK, some of the acting wasn’t up to much at times, but some of the young actors had never acted before.

    The two actors shown, played the doctor and his wife I believe and were probably, two of the only known actors (got a feeling that both may no longer be with us.

    Let’s bring a bit of sunshine back into our life and a bit of money back into the local economy in the area. I’m sure that everyone involved in the series would be living and working in the local areas and would be putting money into the local economy.

  7. if I remember correctly the media possibly killed it off even before it was on air with endless negative comments in print about the amount of money (Pesetas) spent by the BBC building the set etc….. then a wobbly start…but it was gaining appeal and became a must to watch along with Family Affairs, Eastenders etc….I would say it was possibly 10 years too early….

  8. interesting stats about the cost compared to Dr.Who.

    So Dr Who costs a lot more. Is liked by millions of viewers, is sold and shown in numerous countries, has respect from fans and non fans alike…
    And el Dorado was considered shite by all, except a few roll-out-the-barrel-singers.

  9. Does anyone remember how crap Eastenders was when it began? (Some would say it hasn’t improved) But it was stuck with and is now a permanent feature. Eldorado could have been as successful if the xenophobic tabloids had been ignored.
    Bring it back indeed!

  10. David… Disagree regards Dr Who… It’s tired now, first
    series was great, but I’m not a fan of David or Matt.

    I’ve never seen Eldorado, but it sounds like it could
    be good if it returned.

  11. @Lip: which bit do you disagree with? the fact its sold to many countries, or the millions of fans, or…
    I’ve never seen the first series (William Hartnell?), it was Tom Baker when i first watched it. I guess its like James Bond – your first is usually your favorite.

    Have a look online for old episodes of Eldorkorado – you’ll see immediately why it was canned.

  12. @DavidM

    Now let me think, which series was cancelled by the BBC back in 1989 because of poor ratings and poor production values? That’s right, it was “Doctor Who”. We all know what a success it’s been since it was relaunched – why is it so inconceivable that another show can do the same?

    The difference is that “Eldorado” was improving immeasurably when it was cancelled. It was ultimately getting 10 million viewers. To put it in context, “Doctor Who” was getting less than 5 million when it was pulled.

    I’m a huge “Doctor Who” fan but even I can appreciate that the decision to pull it was justified. I can see no similar reasoning behind the decision to cancel “Eldorado”.

  13. I loved Eldorado. Most of the stuff on the box at the mo doesn’t appeal to me. Give me Eldorado! It was the biggest mistake in the BBC’s history
    axing this show.

  14. Go back and re-watch one of the later episodes of Eldorado and compare it objectively to a 1993 episode of East Enders or Coronation Street. Was it such a poor soap? I think not.
    Eldorado had some very good, experienced actors like Faith Kent and some storylines (including bisexuality) that were highly progressive for 1993.

    I’d love to see Eldorado return with the adorable Ms Polly Perkins. However I’d like it to be an edgy, modern Channel 4 or BBC2 soap airing at 9pm twice a week with quality storylines. Not a cheap Channel 5 daytime effort.

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