Series: Cuentame Como Paso

Cuentame Como Paso (transl: tell me how it happened) is a Spanish soap opera that ran between 13th September 2001 and —-2009 on RTVE 1. I t ran for 10 series initially then, after a brief break, came back for an 11th series after its immense popularity. Famous for being quite witty, with occasional dry, dark humour more in common with British TV.

The entire thing, all 11 series, is one enormous Flashback belonging to Carlos Alcantara, and it follows his life growing up in The Sixties and The Seventies during the decay of the Franco regime and the Transition to democracy. Edutainment Show, mix of macro and micro history: the big events of the time (the lunar landings, the assassination of Carrero Blanco, Franco’s death, Eurovision (whoops)) and this typical middle class Madrid family’s story, narrated soap- opera style and with voiceovers from adult Carlos.

It’s all deliciously sepia- tinged and has the remarkable effect of making you nostalgic for the seventies, even if you weren’t there! One of the best aspects of it is its epic music. Note: It’s not a musical (yet) but simply plays four or five songs from the era each episode. Heaven for pop music geeks.

Cuentame can safely be considered to be a family show; good ol’ pure nostalgia for parents/grandparents (anyone over fifty) providing them with a nice long sesh in which they can bitch about the Franco regime they experienced, and for the kids a dramatized, perhaps definitely exaggerated insight into how their parents may have lived back in the Good Old Days. This is combined with either “I’m so glad I didn’t live back then” or “I so wish I could have lived back then”!

So basically little Carlitos is growing up in exciting times. He’s the youngest child initially of a hardworking, despairing father, and "absolutely perfect" mother, with a hippie Cool Big Sis, a communist brother, and a lovely Catholic gran. And don’t forget his fleet of flare-wearing friends.

Here are some of its tropes: