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The group of children from Verano Azul. SUR
The episode of the iconic Spanish TV programme filmed on the Costa del Sol that was never shot
Television

The episode of the iconic Spanish TV programme filmed on the Costa del Sol that was never shot

Verano Azul was mainly filmed in and around Nerja and was influential for generations of Spaniards in the early years of the democracy following the death of Franco

Eugenio Cabezas

Nerja

Wednesday, 10 July 2024, 19:36

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If there is one name that is inextricably linked to Nerja on the eastern stretch of the Costa del Sol it is Verano Azul, the legendary TV series filmed in the town in the late 1970s and early 1980s and directed by Antonio Mercero.

This summer once again the Spanish public radio and television station, RTVE, will be repeating it in the afternoon slot on La 2 channel. But, despite its popularity among generations of Spaniards and its international reach to countries including France, eastern European and African countries (it was never dubbed into English), there is a little-known story about the filming: although 19 episodes were broadcast, there was actually a twentieth planned, but never shot.

RTVE has released details of the episode that never was on its website, coinciding with the rerun. The episode was to be called 'La Excursión' (The Excursion).

Sierra Tejeda mountains

"This episode could not be filmed because the authorities refused permission to film a fire, even though it was going to be controlled. At the time, they did not have sufficient technology to simulate the flames with special effects. The plot involved a visit made by the group of children with Julia to Alcaucín", RTVE explains on its website.

"There, the group were searching for a child who was lost in the forest and were caught by a fire. When they were surrounded by flames, Bea had an anxiety attack and blamed Julia for having taken them there", the explanation goes on to say.

The area planned for the filming was in the Sierra Tejeda mountains which at that time, was not classified as a natural park. This came much later, in 1999.

Summer holidays

Verano Azul’s protagonists are a group of children and teenagers whose families spend their summer holidays in Nerja. Bea, Desi, Javi, Quique, Piraña and Tito befriend the artist Julia who is also visiting the town on holiday, Chanquete, a local fisherman and Pancho, a local boy whose family runs the town’s dairy.

The series premiered on 11 October 1981 and the first episode was entitled 'El encuentro' (the meeting) in which the characters meet each other for the first time. With the return of Verano Azul to the screens and its iconic theme tune composed by Carmelo Bernaola, viewers can relive happy moments of their youth and younger viewers can learn about a programme that marked the childhood of Generation X.

Taboo subjects

Filming began on 21 August 1979 and went on for 16 months, although there was a break for the Christmas and Easter holidays. The series was filmed in the early years of Spain’s democracy and dealt with hitherto taboo subjects like divorce, single parents, unmarried mothers as well as the environment.

It showed the stark generation gap between the parents who had grown up under Franco and the younger generations for whom the country was a much freer place witnessing a boom in international tourism and popular trends.

Around Nerja there are still reminders of the television series including Parque Verano Azul, which is home to Chanquete’s fishing boat and has images and information about the characters, plaques on buildings that were used in the series and streets named after some of the stars of the show.

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