I paid my annual visit to the Spanish version of the BBC's Celebrity Come Dancing last night. I have to confess that fifteen minutes were as much as I could take. But from this I tentatively concluded these are the preferences here, in comparison with those of the UK:-
- Ageing - if not already aged and decrepit - celebrities, rather than young and lithe ones
- Simpler choreography, which is somewhat less taxing for the competitors
- A much higher ratio of chat to dance.
- An undisciplined panel comprising non-expert fellow celebrities who interrupt and argue with each other at some length, who laud every performance and award marks of 7 and 8 where there might be 2 or 3 in the UK
- A garish backgound of flashing lights
- An excitable audience which gives a standing ovation to an ex bullfighter in his 60s whose only achievement has been to manage to get one foot in front of the other at a desultory pace.
Whether this says anything at all about the respective cultures, I couldn't possibly say. But, with all the talking instead of dancing, I will admit I was again reminded of someone's comment that TV in Spain is 'radio with pictures'.
Not everyone suffers in a recession, of course. Right now in Spain - and possibly elsewhere - pawbrokers, clothes-menders and knackers' yards are doing great business. And TV viewing has risen - allegedly - by a full three and a half hours a day.
Some British friends yesterday got in touch with the chap who's the local representative of a dolphins association. They offered a donation towards its costs and were met first by a complete silence and then by the plaintive question - "Is this a joke?". Anyway, they duly met up and he turned out to be truly dedicated to his cause. He's only too willing to give a talk to the Anglo Galician Association but is generally less positive about publicity. Not everyone, it seems, is happy to have these creatures swimming in the estuaries. Especially those with nets.