It is not a bad moment to start reviewing misdeeds. The secret of Puente Viejo, that is broadcast every afternoon, from Monday to Friday, uninterrupted since 2011, reached last Thursday its chapter number 2,000. It is the first national fiction that goes so far. The longest in our country. And Maria Xosé Rodriguez Bouzas, who was already Francisca Montenegro in the first episode, is the woman who for more episodes has played the same character without pause on our screens. The vast majority of the actors have been entering and leaving the series; she remains. The English have Barbara Knox, who acts in the soap opera Coronation Street since 1964. The Spaniards, on our scale, have María Bouzas.
"Let's see, here we are a great family," she interrupts, allergic to the limelight, each time the idea is suggested. And he points to the set of the Montenegro house, full of spotlights, rushed technicians and actors reviewing dialogues: "The stars they are in heaven, not here. "
Two thousand afternoons ago
If we have not had anything similar until now, it's because The secret of Old Bridge is a unique phenomenon in Spanish television: a daily series that airs in the evenings, against Save me in Telecinco, and that has more audience – a million and a half people, approximately – than many fictions in prime time. But it has been like this since its premiere, on February 23, 2011. Antena 3 commissioned it to improve the 4.5% of audience that it had then in the afternoon. "We did one thing in our own way, thinking that they would cancel us to the 40 episodes," recalls Josep Cister, fiction director of Boomerang, producer of the series. "Suddenly, we made 14%. The next year 20%. And now we are television history. "
Bouzas entered as a villain knowing that in a daily series everything that is seen on the screen is an experiment that can change the next day. "I tend to create women villains", explains Aurora Guerra, creator of the series and coordinator of her eleven writers, in a small shop a few meters from the set, just above the room with the costumes of all the characters. "And that has a risk: you fall immediately into the villain stereotype. You need the actress to give you something: humanity, vulnerability, irony. Something that justifies so much evil. "
She, who until then had only made luminous characters, had just that: "When I read the script to do the test, I found it very funny to play bad, but I saw it a bit dry. I got a little irony and cynicism. The irony of Montenegro, "he recalls. That was the first nuance, then others came. Scene by scene, the villain was gaining life and the writers were resorting to it for more plots. The series grew in audience and she in scenes. Today, for many on the set, Francisca Montenegro is the center of the series.
The craft of making art: the rhythm of a daily series
Only that she looks like a piece of machinery. To release 2,000 episodes in the same eight years in which, for example, Tell me he has done 132, a united team is needed. Every nine days, 10 episodes are shot. 50 pages of script daily. If something fails, everything fails. The sets, in Leganés (Madrid), are a flood of people dressed in period (the series takes place in the twenties) running from one set to another, asking where it is being shot. There are hidden scripts the shelves in the decorated with library and bottles of water in the drawers of the tables of props. Everything to go faster. "There are two sets working on different scenes at the same time," explains Alberto Pernet, director of the series.
Bouzas recalls having shot 34 pages of dialogue on the same day: hundreds of phrases to be released on a set where there is barely time to repeat the shot. "The pages arrive on Thursday and we usually leave everything studied during the weekend. Then wheels from eight in the morning to seven in the afternoon, the next day you have to get up at six thirty: you do not have time to study, "explains Carlos Serrano, who plays Gonzalo, another villain. "Imagine the pace at which we go that even the trials are recorded in case there are things that can be worth."
In that microcosm only actors of a certain nature work. Effective but creative; They work hard but do not pretend to be stars. The actor of office. The secret of Old Bridge It is not the most recognized series of Spanish television, but it is one of the most hours of work absorbed by your team. And that is what Bouzas embodies, timidly negotiating the attention and questions of the interview in the chaise longue while around him the actors parade from one set to another. "When I go to the bank, if there is a queue, I take out the script," he explains about the pressures he receives by rolling like this. "I keep a pretty strong discipline. You have to study hard, and be very focused. Montenegro absorbs me, I can not do theater or coña. " Then, when he arrives on the set, he knows the role of improvising.
Among the actors and technicians who parade around there are several like that. They do not count on receiving an award for their work in "the little brother of prime time" (as the daily series are known), but they do not lower the bar. "Here are geniuses who solve enormous problems in minutes. And actors of the likes of Bouzas. That's why I hate the contempt of daily series, "protests Serrano." María is a magnificent example. Do not tell her because she's going to be angry, but with all the humility in the world, I tell you that she is Old Bridge"