Spain on the small screen
We like to travel to Spain as often as we can at Keytel International, but alas our wallets and work schedule mean that we can’t always make it to the continent as often as we’d like. As a substitute we try to catch glimpses of our favourite towns and cities or learn something new about the beautiful country on the small screen and it just so happens that there are some great shows currently airing (or easily available) following interesting folks across Spain.
We have chosen the ones that we think are particularly interesting covering a range of topics including art, food and religious pilgrimages.
The Art of Spain with Andrew Graham-Dixon - BBC
Join art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon as he traverses across Spain discussing some of Spain’s greatest artists and unique architecture. From Picasso to El Greco’s Toledo and the northern absurdists, Graham-Dixon offers great insight into the artists and their influences. Originally aired in 2008, the BBC has been airing the series again in March and you can still catch the episodes on iPlayer.
Graham-Dixon explores Spain over three episodes beginning with ‘The Moorish South’ travelling from Cordoba to Granada and looking at the Moorish influence on architecture and art. Andalusia is the birthplace to some of Spain’s most prominent artists including Velázquez, Murillo and of course Picasso, as well as home to some of the country’s most impressive architecture, with Cordoba’s Mezquita mosque-cathedral, Seville’s Royal Alcázar fortress-palace and Granada’s Alhambra Palace serving as magnificent examples of true Moorish architecture.
The second episode ‘The Dark Heart’ heads north into central Spain exploring 16th and 17th century art with Madrid and its famous trifecta of art museums the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Reina Sofia housing some of the world’s most famous artworks, as well as Toledo, chosen home of the great El Greco, whose influence on the city is one of its main attractions.
The last episode, titled ‘The Mystic North’, explores the work of modernists from Goya to Picasso and the future of Spanish art. The north was famously the birthplace of some of Spain's most prominent surrealist artists including Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and LuisBuñuel, and home to the extraordinarily-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
In addition to the well-known cities, Graham-Dixon travels off the beaten path to places like Trujillo, famous as the birthplace of conquistador Francisco Pizarro, whose 16th century architecture looks like something from a storybook or film. We happen to have a charming Parador in Trujillo which occupies a former 16th century convent, as well as hotels throughout Seville, Madrid, Bilbao, and Toledo (including the Parador de Toledo and its fabulous views).
Picasso's Last Stand - BBC
Coninuing on the artistic theme, the BBC recently aired a short documentary chronicling the last decade of the Picasso's life. Born in Malaga at the end of the 19th century, Picasso's work and founding of the Cubist movement cemented his role as one of the world's most influential artists. Despite making France his home early into adulthood, Picasso's continued to keep Spain close to his heart, as evidenced by his famous work Guernica, capturing the terrible plight of the Basque town during the Spanish civil war.
The documentary focuses on the last 10 years of his life and the work he was putting out at that time as biographer Sir John Richardson is joined by Picasso's granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso. First aired on Saturday 24th March on BBC2, you can now catch the film on BBC iPlayer.
Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago – BBC 2
This series follows a number of famous British faces including actor, Neil Morrissey, entertainer Debbie McGee, comedian Ed Byrne, and singer Heather Small as they tackle the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage (sometimes known as The St James Way) to their destination of Santiago de Compostela.
The first episode of this three-part series aired on 16th March and the remaining episodes are scheduled to broadcast on Friday evenings at 9pm on BBC 2. We fully recommend this as a must-watch for anyone thinking of travelling to ‘Green Spain’ or who just want to learn more about the Camino and what it means to undertake such a journey.
Traditionally the Pilgrimage was undertaken for religious reasons, however many completing it for the challenge, new experiences, or to overcome personal strife (as seen in one episode). There are many ways to do the Camino; you can take the traditional ‘French Way’ from St Jean Pied de Port in France taking in great cities like Pamplona, Leon and Burgos, ‘The Northern Way’ takes you along the northern coast of Spain. Other routes include ‘The Silver Way’ which takes you up from Seville and through Extremadura and Salamanca, and ‘The Portuguese Route’ beginning in Lisbon and travelling through Porto.
Some complete the whole Camino on foot, or do sections on foot, while others prefer to follow through route on bike or in cars. True pilgrims must apply for a ‘passport’ which they must fill with stamps from various stops and churches along the way to qualify as having completed the Pilgrimage.
The routes can be challenging, and at times the scenery can seem somewhat repetitive, but there is no doubt that you will find yourself having undertaken a massive accomplishment and seeing some of Spain’s most beautiful and religiously-significant areas en route.
The historic Parador de Santiago de Compostela, a former Pilgrim’s Hospice, takes pride of place on the main square where you will find the Cathedral de Santiago, the final destination for pilgrims. We represent hotels, Paradors and Pousadas scattered along the different Caminos in important locations including Leon, Burgos, Santo Domingo de La Calzada, Porto, Pontevedra, Villafranca del Bierzo, Tui, Cáceres and Salamanca.
The Trip to Spain – Now TV & Amazon Video, Sky Atlantic (originally)
Following the success of The Trip and The Trip to Italy, comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon continued their culinary adventures and celebrity impressions, this time travelling through Spain.
Exploring culinary innovations in the Basque country and traditional dishes in central Spain, the pair’s journey south through Spain takes them across the regions and via some truly marvellous areas.
Eagle-eyed viewers will spot visits to and dinners in Paradors including the Parador de Sigüenza, the Parador de Almagro, and the Parador de Cuenca. The pair also visits towns with Paradors such as Hondarribia, Sos del Rey Católico and the famous cities of Granada and Malaga. All of this whilst occasionally dressed as the eponymous literary hero Don Quixote and his trusty squire Sancho Panza.
The Trip to Spain originally aired on Sky Atlantic in April 2017 and can still be caught on Now TV and available to download on Amazon Prime.