This Friday, Movistar+ premieres its latest comedy, based on the brutal confrontation between two airwave sages.
In the Spain of the eighties, you could count on the fingers of one hand the football fans who didn’t sleep with a transistor radio under their pillows, as football supports would draw out that last drink until the end of the radio show ‘Supergarcía’ or have their trusty radio accompanying them throughout the graveyard shift. Late-night sports programs were so influential that they had the power to end a player’s career, and the show hosts were considered veritable stars. It was practically unthinkable that someone might dispute the throne José María Garcia sat upon, that was until José Ramón de la Morena showed up. The two sportscasters engaged in a ferocious audience war that is the seed from which ‘Reyes de la noche’, sprouted. The latest comedy from Movistar+ available from this coming Friday, will uncover what the wild, wild world of radio sportscasting was like back in the day.
Cristóbal Garrido and Adolfo Valor, creators of the series co-directed by the latter together with Carlos Therón, insist that, despite the fascination around its origins, ‘Reyes de la noche’ is not a biographical series but a social profile, with a satirical slant nonetheless, of a fascinating time period. The series stars Paco el Cóndor (Javier Gutiérrez), the master of nighttime airwaves, and Jota (Miki Esparbé), his most gifted student. The former believes he’s unbeatable, so much so that he shapes journalistic ethics at will. The important thing is to win. His ambition leads him to accept a millionaires contract from a competitor station, and he ends up taking the entire team with him. Except for Jota, who stays put with the company hell-bent on giving his former mentor a run for his money.
On each side, Jota and Cóndor are accompanied at the microphones by a string of characters often so surreal that fact has to be stranger than fiction: a Don Juan who courts air hostesses to get exclusives, a cultural vulture intern who believes he’s too good for all the football circus, a disgruntled ex-coach who takes to the airwaves to seek revenge, a journalist who’s forced to elbow his way through pitch-side by becoming even more of a cad than his peers… There is even a Jesus Gil cameo, the only concession to reality with names and surnames.
With this entertaining pack at the helm, audiences will find themselves just as wide-eyed and gobsmacked as the character of Marga (Itsaso Arana), a brilliant journalist in charge of the station’s nighttime phone in service, and who yearns for the day these kings of the night are finally toppled from their pedestals and she eventually gets the opportunity she deserves.
Another of ‘Reyes de la noche’ strong points is how the story is narrated, in a no-nonsense, entertaining and nifty way, to the pace of a carousel-like sports show, evidenced by the cutting insults both protagonists swap during the final of the Copa del Rey or the EGM (Estudio General de Medios) party, which ends in drama for one of our beaus, with this contrast representing another of the series’ fortes as it reminds us every once in a while that off-air and beyond the safety of their studios, these radio titans are a far cry from an example to follow.
By the end of the six episodes in this first season, and with season two already greenlighted, battle lines have been clearly drawn, but our characters are hungry to take to the pitch once again.