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With the terrible reviews and screaming front-page headlines it got at the time Eldorado didn't stand a chance. The series was launched in too much of a hurry with too great a fanfare, leading to very high hopes for its fairly poor first episodes. After a little while, with a few of the huge cast removed and a more definite sense of direction, Eldorado became the best soap on British TV. But the damage was done, and it never really gained the place in public affections that it needed. The Beeb pulled the plug after a year.
Eldorado, by the time it finished, was absolutely unique. It had found its place in the world, and knew its direction. It was expending a lot of energy exploring the nature of people who leave their motherland and o to live in the sun. So much was revealed about the true nature of ex-pats, and some characters who seemed a bit faceless at the beginning were revealed as far more complex once they were given a bit of screen time to themselves. In Freddie Martin, Eldorado gave us one of TV's greatest gay characters: his reunion with his longlost daughter, Natalie, and his silent grief at the death of his secret boyfriend, Javier, were immaculately written and performed.
Eldorado was able to give great depth and involvement to the idea of culture clash, and to highlight what life in the "new" Europe was really like (boo-hiss baddie Marcus Tandy calls German Dieter "Adolf" at one point). There were characters and relationships never seen on TV, before or since (the Leducs' open marriage, modern Spanish women breaking away from traditional Catholic families, gay parents), and plenty of imagination given to thoroughly original storylines.
After the dodgy beginning, Eldorado became the most unique TV show that the BBC had ever tried. Ten years on, I still think it's a shame they didn't have the confidence to carry it through. Mind you, the last episode was a corker.
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