I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized A Place in the Sun

A Place in the Sun

James Moran
Mr Lynch’s Holiday, by Catherine O’Flynn, Viking, 265 pp, €21.50, ISBN: 978-0670918560 Few people remember the BBC’s Eldorado with any fondness. Launched – with much fanfare – in 1992, to fill a high-profile gap left in the evening schedule by Terry Wogan’s popular chat show, the new soap, which featured the lives of a British and European expat community living in a fictional town on the Costa del Sol was designed to have something of the vigour and sun-kissed allure of Neighbours. The programme was not, however, a success. It was shelved after only a year, and remains to this day a name to make television producers shudder. Indeed the BBC has remained largely allergic ever since to the idea of launching an original soap. When the brilliant dance group DV8 produced their widely praised performance of Strange Fish in 1992 it was little wonder that they presented one of the most irritating and lonely of their characters as an Eldorado fan. Fifteen years after the soap was broadcast, the Daily Telegraph reported that the lavishly created set –ten miles northeast of Marbella – lay largely abandoned, covered with beer cans and graffiti, its swimming pool full of algae and ducks. Why did Eldorado fail so spectacularly? For sure, there were the superficial problems of amateurish acting and cliched plotlines, but many a soap has had these and yet continued to thrive. Perhaps a more fundamental drawback was that viewers in the UK struggled to sympathise with the sweating expats being portrayed onscreen. British soap operas have traditionally focused on the regional life of English urban centres, which are often portrayed with cartoonish nostalgia (from the supposedly working class London of EastEnders, to the cobblestone vision of Manchester in Coronation Street or the Birmingham motel-life of Crossroads). Eldorado ignored that tradition, and included some non-English actors and an entirely non-English setting, yet utterly failed to provide a meaningful kind of cosmopolitan engagement. Contemporary debates in university departments of social anthropology perhaps illuminated something of the problem. In the 1990s, some academics praised jet-setting “transnationals”, whose frequent travel allowed the sharing of “structures of meaning carried by social networks”. Such globetrotters could be distinguished from those lamentable home-birds who represented “more circumscribed territorial cultures”. But other academics quite rightly attacked this viewpoint, pointing out its obvious class implications. To put it most bluntly, a retired executive from Surrey who can afford to live in a gated community among other wealthy Brits on the Costa del Sol is likely to…



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