Fans fight to save 'Eldorado': Final scenes of BBC soap filmed in Spain

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(First Edition)

IN SUNNY SPAIN yesterday, the forecast was mainly dismal for 250 cast and crew members of Eldorado. At 9pm, the last scene was played out and the soap opera faced its final cut, writes Martin Wroe.

But even as the dispirited actors packed their bags, their cause had not been given up as lost. In Sussex, the members of The Eldorado Appreciation Society Espana (TEASE) were refusing to acknowledge defeat.

'Alan Yentob may be the controller of BBC 1 but he is making the biggest mistake of his career,' its founder, Graham Gouldon-Baker, 53, said. 'This programme is a winner, any fool can see that.'

Last week, he delivered to the BBC 1,000 letters of support for the Spanish soap, which began last summer and has its last episode broadcast in July.

Heather White, the sister of Patricia Brake, who plays Gwen Lockhead in the axed pounds 10m series, is co-ordinating a second campaign, Save Eldorado. Elsewhere, The Save Eldorado Campaign, founded in London by a Notting Hill bus-driver and now being run by a marketing consultant, Barry Thompson, was in full swing.

Two weeks ago, Mr Thompson delivered a 3,500-strong petition to the BBC demanding the axe be lifted. This week, Mr Thompson, who says he has 350 campaign members, handed memos to 1,500 BBC staff arriving for work. 'Already we are getting hundreds returned, and almost all want Eldorado saved,' he said.

He cited a poll of 4,500 readers of TV Times who voted by 88per cent for retention. 'Eldorado is potentially the best-liked drama on television. We want to get people to watch it rather than listen to the views of scathing unbelievers who have only watch a couple of episodes in the past.'

Mr Yentob is deaf to their pleas but he may not be deaf to the ratings. Last week, Eldorado came 20th in the BBC charts with 6.7 million viewers.