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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… July 1993

Friday, 9th July 1993


It’s all round to Joy’s Bar to meet Freddie, Olive and the gang for one last cocktail-with-an-umbrella-in-it, and a farewell song from Trish Valentine, in the final instalment of the Spanish supersaga. Despite much tabloid speculation, it didn’t end with the entire cast going over a cliff in a bus, Young Ones-style, or indeed erstwhile odd job man Snowy White (played by Patch Connolly, of course) winning the lottery and returning to buy the village. Instead, smart-casual smoothie Marcus Tandy and Pilar sailed out of Los Barcos to the strains of the actual theme tune, now with added lyrics (“You’ve got to tell me where you’re going to/so I can share your Eldorado dream”) that crowbarred in the name of the show.


Now here’s a thing. The gobby, self-mythologising svengali responsible for some of the best British pop music of all time breaks bread with, well, the gobby, self-mythologising svengali responsible for some of the best British pop music of all time. In this late-night Granadaland summit meeting, Pete and Tony set the music world to rights in suitably know-all fashion, and almost certainly used the phrases “we lost 5p on every copy” and “so I said, she should be so lucky!”

The sort of panel game that clogged up the BBC2 schedules for much of the 1990s, The Brain Drain was an ironic revival of The Brains Trust, with host Jimmy Mulville attempting to channel Angus Deayton (right down to the avocado-coloured suit) as the audience posed topical questions to a panel comprising Tony Hawks (in jacket and T-shirt), Sandi Toksvig (in “fun” waistcoat) and a couple of guest comedians, all in the pursuit of the brand of flatpack satire that the freewheeling saxophone-and-piano theme tune promised. Being 1993, the punchline was always either “David Mellor” or “Norman Lamont”.


Even if you didn’t actually like cycling, Channel 4’s nightly dispatches from the Tour De France were worth watching just for the brilliant theme music, a majestic New Order-style synths-and-guitars workout (it’s actually by Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks) that effortlessly turns into Frère Jacques at the end. The best sports theme tune of all time: fact.



  1. Richard16378

    July 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    My Dad used to nick name Marcus Tandy “The Reptile”, as it’s about 25 years since Eldorado launched is there any chance of a feature?

    I remember BBC4 had a very good “what went wrong” programme about it a few years ago.

  2. Glenn A

    July 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Eldorado’s ratings were improving towards the end, but not enough for the BBC to save it, and as the soap was also expensive to make and had been attacked by the papers for its cost and wooden acting, the BBC decided the best thing to do was to kill off the soap. Never again would BBC 1 try to launch a soap in peak time, although ITV tried twice in the early noughties to revive Crossroads to complete indifference and their Hollyoaks style soap Night and Day vanished within 12 months.

  3. Richard16378

    July 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    One of the many problems Eldorado had was attempting to repeat the Eastenders trick of having a cast mostly of “unknowns”, many of whom were unused to working on TV.

    Channel 5’s Family Affairs was another recent soap which didn’t last long.

    • Glenn A

      July 8, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      I can remember Eldorado having a completely wooden couple called Bunny and Fizz, whose acting was on a par with Madonna and Prince, but without the musical talent.
      Family Affairs lumbered on for about 8 years to complete indifference. Indeed, barring the distinctly under 25 oriented Hollyoaks, no British soap since Eastenders has done much. There was the mega flop Albion Market that lasted less than one of its supposed 25 years, the dismal Practice that came and went in one season, and other short lived, little remembered flops like Taff Acre, New Crossroads, Echo Beach, and Night and Day.

  4. Richard16378

    July 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Was Castles supposed to be a soap? it’s a moot point because the BBC axed it as soon as they would.

  5. Droogie

    July 8, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I remember a friend of mine astutely remarking about Eldorado at the time that it’s dodgy production values and rotten acting gave it the look of a porn film that had all traces of sex removed from it. I felt really sorry for the young pretty girl who played Fizz. She got a lot of flak for the show and quit showbiz for good from all the trauma

  6. Glenn A

    July 11, 2017 at 10:14 am

    It seemed the BBC was in flop mode in the early and mid nineties and their drama department was churning out turkeys by the dozen. If Eldorado was bad, then it was in the same company as Rides, Trainer, A Year In Provence, Strathblair and Para Handy. Meanwhile ITV was finding huge hits all the time, and an ITV insider told the papers the only BBC dramas they were scared of were Eastenders and Casualty.

  7. Richard16378

    July 11, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Eventually the BBC managed to get some decent dramas by adapting plenty of classic novels, which normally works for them.

    • Glenn A

      July 13, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      @ Richard16378, they did enjoy huge success with Pride and Prejudice, but the big drama revival on the BBC didn’t come until the noughties, when the news was moved to 10.00 and they could hit ITV head on with popular drama at 9.00. Also ITV started to go incredibly downmarket after 2000 and the BBC seemed to invest heavily in popular drama while ITV had such joys as Celebrity Wrestling to compete with Doctor Who.

  8. Richard16378

    July 14, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    ITV had some good dramas in the early 1990s, when The Darling Buds of May, Peak Practice & Heartbeat before it stagnated & stayed on air like a zombie.

    London’s Burning & The Bill were both were at their peak in this period, but had mutated into pseudo-soaps by the end of the decade.

  9. Glenn A

    July 16, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I do recall the early series of Heartbeat being a lot grittier with storylines involving a mods and rockers fight in Aidensfield, someone dealing LSD from a boat and a Vietnam War draft dodger. Later series were slow and it did go on 10 years too long, but at its height Heartbeat had 16 million viewers and was a good show.

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