From puppets to puppeteers
Modernising Spain through entertainment television
in Popular television in authoritarian Europe
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Although the Franco government is generally thought to have used television to reinforce Spanish national and political identity, this chapter argues that it was also a vehicle for transculturalism and for modernising influences from abroad. Focusing on the contributions of three foreigners to the development of Spanish television light entertainment – the Austrian Arthur Kaps, the Argentinean ‘Chicho’ Ibáñez Serrador and the Romanian Valeriu Lazarov – the authors show how each incorporated external cultural influences from their own background into their highly successful and sometimes controversial Spanish programmes. They also show how Spanish television sought to project an image of modernity abroad by entering programmes for international competitions that were quite unlike those normally shown domestically. The authors conclude that Spanish television policies under Franco are fraught with contradictions, involving a struggle between a traditional national-Catholic ideology and modernisation through the assimilation of foreign influences.

Editor: Peter Goddard

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