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Portuguese public broadcaster RTP launches a new cycle of TV series


- Aqui tão longe begins this week in a primetime slot, and three other series will follow before the summer

Portuguese public broadcaster RTP launches a new cycle of TV series
Fátima Belo, the lead actress in RTP’s new series Aqui tão longe

Portugal’s public broadcaster RTP will premiere three new TV series before summer this year. Dentro, Boys and Miúdo Graúdo are the upcoming titles that will follow in the wake of Terapia, which premiered in January, and Aqui tão longe, which opens this week in a primetime slot.

Fighting fiction with fiction seems to be the strategy that RTP1 director Daniel Deusdado and manager Nuno Artur Silva are following in order to conquer the night-time audience share, which is dominated by fiction products co-produced and broadcast by private channels SIC and TVI. However, whereas private channels tend to offer classic soap operas, following a widely exported Brazilian model, the new series by RTP follow the format according to which a plot begins and ends in one single chapter. Local soap operas have become a highly popular product in the last 15 years, and two of them were crowned with international Emmys: Meu Amor (2010) and Laços de Sangue (2011).

Silva states that this new RTP strategy is a long-term bet, the outcome of which will only be possible to assess properly in three years’ time, when the current board of administration will be on the verge of leaving the public channel. And hopefully, by that time, they will leave a legacy consisting of an industry that is able to produce successful, exportable products.

It is true that RTP had produced both series and soap operas before, but this strategy marks the beginning of a new cycle, thanks to the frequency of its broadcasts and the diversity of genres involved. Also, some of the series intended to be broadcast in 2017 are expected to be supported by the local film and audiovisual body, the ICA.

Dentro will be a fictional drama set in a female prison, written by Lara Morgado, Boys (to be directed by Tiago GuedesBad Blood [+see also:
film profile
) is a political satire, and Miúdo Graudo is fantasy fable. This week sees the start of Aqui tão longe, co-written by Filipe Homem Fonseca and Tiago R Santos (Amor Impossível [+see also:
film review
interview: Victória Guerra
film profile
), a series that tackles topics such as emigration, terrorism and security.

Other series are being developed and are set to be broadcast during the second half of 2016. It is expected that ten will have been shown by the end of the year.

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