Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I don’t normally watch many things on Spanish television apart from news, football and films. However, I’ve made an exception for a short series running on Monday nights on La Primera based on the killing at the beginning of last year of the mayor of a tiny village called Fago in the Aragonese Pyrenees.

The series portrays a village divided in two between those who support their mayor and those who hate him. The mayor himself, an outsider from the big city of Zaragoza, is clearly not using his powers in an impartial way and his refusal to register newcomers as residents in the village only helps to increase resentment. When he is murdered on an isolated road the list of suspects is not short as there are plenty of people with reasons to dislike him.

The odd thing about this series is not just that it is based on real events; it is also the fact that the man charged with the murder of the mayor of Fago is still awaiting trial. In Britain I think it would be completely impossible for a television company to produce a series about such events before the trial takes place; the principal difference being that the trial would take place with a jury. Here in Spain the series had to be approved by a judge after the Guardia Civil were sent to seize the tapes of the production before it could be shown. The family of the dead man wanted to stop the series being shown. Even though the names of the main characters have been changed, the name of the village is the same and it is completely clear that the fictional series is based on the actual events that occurred.

The village only has 34 registered inhabitants, and they got completely fed up with the invasion of journalists and the curious that they suffered following the killing of their mayor. It is a feeling that can only be reinforced by seeing their village portrayed in this way on prime time television every Monday for three weeks.

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