TV Cream

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Mysterious Cities of Gold

Stars of the new BBC1 sketch show Three Of A Kind pose for photographersYET ANOTHER Spanish speciality served up over here in something like one thousand parts, each as impenetrable and incomprehensible as the next, but somehow strangely addictive – thanks not least to the enthusiastic patronage of one Philip Schofield, culminating in off-camera nationwide singalongs of the closing theme. Plot seemed to revolve around explorer’s son Esteban travelling through various South American jungles “in search…of Eldorado!” and meeting girl Zia, lunatic native boy Tau, parrots, evil mercantiles, mystical statues, bits of necklaces that fitted together and a spaceship (“the golden Condor!”) en route. Animation and dubbing up to usual BRB standards, i.e. shit.



  1. Danforth

    October 12, 2009 at 9:22 am

    While I respect TV Cream’s commitment to the Right Kind of Nostalgia as opposed to the “it was all wicked and they were all on drugs!” kids-tv focus of the plebs, I think you’re being a bit harsh on MCoG here. The animation had moments of brilliance (though I’ll admit the dubbing was indeed shit) and the episodic format struck a chord with many classmates who were a bit nonplussed with the usual cartoon plot where everything resets by the end of the episode. And Navigator Mendoza is a role-model for modern man 🙂

  2. TV Cream

    October 12, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Well, one man’s exciting epic quest is another’s bought-by-the-yard, interminable, making-it-up-as-they-go-along blight on the CBBC schedules, we guess. Either you were hooked from the off or you weren’t, and if you weren’t, my did things drag on.

    That said, we’ll happily admit that the BRB stable did at least exhibit a frisky bizarreness at times, thus scoring points over the later, strictly plod-along affairs of Telemagination (Animals of Farthing Wood, the drably meandering Noah’s Island etc). In the annals of overcooked pan-European cartoon potboilers, they reign supreme, we say.

    Unless of course, you know different…

  3. annoyingmouse

    October 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Mysterious Cities of Gold wasn’t BRB. It was a French (DiC) Japanese (Studio Pierrot) co-production from Ulysses 31’s Jean Chalopin and Bernard Deyriès (later to go on and do every other cartoon of the 80s from Inspector Gadget to M.A.S.K.) The easy way to tell the difference between BRB and these productions is that BRB were Spanish making cartoons about animals based on French novels (sometimes about English gentlemen travelling around the world). Presumably nobody in France thought of the idea first as they were too busy making Homer’s Star Wars.

  4. Keir Hardie

    October 18, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    If I remember rightly this was one of those ones with a really long theme tune. Do-do-do-do, ah-ah-ah, do-do-do-do, cities of gold, was that a bit of it?

  5. Danforth

    October 19, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Keir: yes, there was a spoken prologue *and* a full-length theme tune.

  6. gman

    May 31, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Over-rated claptrap. Can remember Ceefax’s TV comments page in the early noughties, where once every two months someone would write in and ask if anyone remembered MCoG. Yeah, we can’t forget it if you keep reminding us every three months.

  7. THX Kling Klang

    September 25, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Funnily enough, the kid who voiced Esteban looked like Tao, and the kid who voiced Tao looked like Esteban.

    Cocapetl the parrot was the best character, it was a shame he got sidelined for the finale with the battle against the space alien (?) tribe.

  8. Richard16378

    September 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I remember the first showing was just once a week so it seemed to take ages to get to the end, but the 2nd screening was at least twice a week.

    Gomez & Gaspar seemed to be killed off at least once & turn up again, a bit like Anthony Ainley’s version of The Master.

  9. THX Kling Klang

    October 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    When it started I thought there was no way it would be as good as Ulysses 31, but there was so flippin’ much of it that it wore you down after the thirtieth episode or whatever.

    Let’s not forget, either, the one where they revealed those medallions were actually magic nipples.

  10. Scott McPhee

    October 5, 2011 at 7:46 am

    In the version shown in my country, the parrot was named Papagallo (Italian for parrot).

    Each episode ran for twenty minutes, and had a series of mini documentaries tacked onto the end. These were about the history of the Spanish in South America, the Aztecs, and the various legends about El Dorado.

  11. Joanne Gray

    February 20, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    In my house we used to stand in front of the telly, sing and dance to the theme tune (the only good thing about the whole mess) then chat amongst ourselves until it was time for Newsround and Grange Hill.

  12. Richard16378

    February 20, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    I remember me & my brother trying to puzzle out the lyrics, one of my brother’s suggestions for condor in retrospect was a bit rude sounding…..

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