Sunday, 18 November 2012

Scene 33: Grand Hotel, the Spanish Downton

First of all, let me say, that I have never seen Downton Abbey. I have heard the criticisms and I have heard the praise, but I honestly never bothered to actually sit and watch it proper. So even though Grand Hotel has been dubbed 'the Spanish Downton Abbey' I can't really compare it.

I was just really intrigued, when I saw Grand Hotel's main characters Alicia and Julio, in the Radio Times next to their Downton counterparts Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley. They looked so much more interesting than our stiff-upper lip English characters. So,  this evening I watched the first episode on Sky Arts 2. 

So what is it all about? Well, the plot mainly revolves around Julio  (the 'j' is pronounced as a 'h' in Spanish ) and his search for his missing sister, Cristina, who was a maid at the hotel and obviously knew some secret about the hotel owner, Dona Theresa. 

Arriving at the hotel, he is told she was fired as a thief, and not believing it, pretends to be a new waiter - as you do - so he can question the staff and sneak into Cristina's room. This leads him to having to pose as a guest at hotel, so he can talk to another guest, and meeting Alicia. 

Alicia, is one of Dona Theresa's three children, along with her drunk useless brother, and her well-married pregnant sister, who accidentally gets thrown down a flight of stairs.

Alicia has problems too. It looks like she's going to have to marry the manager of the hotel, Diego, on her mother's insistence, because apparently Diego knows of her father's past sins and could ruin them - just a quick note, her father died suddenly and unexpectedly, which makes me think it'll turn out he was murdered, you heard it here first! 

Long story short, the episode ends with Alicia allowing Julio to stay and investigate for the next month, even though he tricked her into thinking he was a guest. Oh yes, and just before the credits a dead prostitute is found in the grounds of hotel. The same one who had who had been hanging around with the Alicia's drunk brother.  Somehow I doubt that turned plot twist has turned up in Downton yet...

Meanwhile, the production values of the show are excellent. The hotel is as grand as its name, especially the exterior, and of course the cast are in lovely period costume. The only thing that rather surprised me was the dull skies in the exterior scenes. I had assumed that the whole thing would be set in blazing Spanish sunshine, but the tone is more of a slightly gloomy British day. Perhaps it's because its on the coast?

Nonetheless, I shall keeping Grand Hotel series linked on my television, and for those of you also interested in knowing more, here is a link to the trailer: Grand Hotel, Sky Arts 2 and 
you can also get the lowdown on the characters at the Radio Times online.

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