Cuéntame (2001– )

TVSeries


Cuéntame (TV Series 2001– )

The evolution of a family from the last days of the Frankist dictatorship to the early 1980s.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Spain
IMDb   7.4 /10
TheMovieDb    6.2 /10
RottenTomatoes
FilmAffinity   6.3 /10
Creators
Creator Agustín Crespi
Creator Antonio Cano
Creator Bárbara Alpuente
Creator Carlos Asorey
Information
Release Date2001-09-13
Runtime
GenreAdventure, Comedy, Drama
Content Rating
Awards71 wins & 112 nominations
CompanyGrupo Ganga Producciones, Televisión Española (TVE)
CountrySpain
LanguageSpanish, English, Swedish
Antonioas Antonio…
Mercedesas Mercedes…
Tonias Toni…
Herminiaas Herminia…
Carlos adultoas Carlos adulto…
Carlosas Carlos…
Ramónas Ramón…
Joseteas Josete…
Pilias Pili…
Paquitaas Paquita…
Claraas Clara…
Roberto Cairo
Roberto Cairo
Desias Desi…
Inésas Inés…
Miguelas Miguel…
Valentina Rojasas Valentina Rojas…
Manuel Dios
Manuel Dios
Luisas Luis…
Elena Rivera
Elena Rivera
Karinaas Karina…
Don Pabloas Don Pablo…

Cuéntame cómo pasó

Cuéntame cómo pasó (Spanish, 'Tell me how it happened'), usually shortened to Cuéntame and also known in English as Remember When, is a Spanish prime-time television drama series which has been broadcast on La 1 of Televisión Española since 2001. It recounts the experiences of a middle-class family, the Alcántaras (Spanish: Los Alcántara), during the last years of the rule of Francisco Franco and the Spanish transition to democracy.

Cuéntame cómo pasó has received critical acclaim throughout most of its run and has received numerous national and international awards making it the most awarded series in the history of television in Spain. With 21 seasons, 388 episodes and 6 unnumbered special episodes it is also the longest running scripted prime-time Spanish series in the history of television.


Development

Cuéntame cómo pasó was created to celebrate the first 25 years since Spain's transition to democracy, and its didactic spirit is clearly evident in some of the episodes. In special themed episodes it includes documentary interviews with historical figures of the era speaking about how they experienced important historic acts like the assassination of then Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco or the death of Francisco Franco.

Initially the series was to be titled Nuestro Ayer, but it finally was titled Cuéntame. This name comes from the famous song Cuéntame by the Spanish 1960s pop band Fórmula V that is used as the series opening theme. In March 2002, during the first season, the title was changed to Cuéntame cómo pasó because Cuéntame was already registered.

The first episode was broadcast on 13 September 2001. The series begins in April 1968 with the arrival of television to the house of the Alcántaras just in time to watch the victory of Massiel at the Eurovision Song Contest. The story reflects the changes in Spain beginning that day. Through situations, characters, and attitudes of the era, the series evokes a wistful reminiscence of those times. In this respect it can be compared to the series The Wonder Years, which did the same thing for US history.

In March 2020, TVE and Grupo Ganga announced that the series, after its 20th season, would be renewed for two more seasons, with the storyline moving firmly into the 1990s.

Season 21 marks the first time that the series breaks its premise of narrating the past from the present to show the present. The events in both times are shown for the first time, with the characters facing 1992 and the COVID-19 pandemic alternately.

International versions

The series has been adapted in Portugal by RTP as Conta-me como foi starring Miguel Guilherme and Rita Blanco, in Italy by RAI as Raccontami with Massimo Ghini and Lunetta Savino, in Argentina by Televisión Pública Argentina as Cuéntame cómo pasó with Nicolás Cabré and Malena Solda and in Greece by ERT as Τα Καλύτερά μας Χρόνια with Meletis Elias and Katerina Papoutsaki.

Awards

Cuéntame cómo pasó has received critical acclaim throughout most of its run and has received numerous national and international awards, including the first National Television Award awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 2009, two Premios Ondas (the International Television Award in 2002 and for Best National Television Series in 2003), three New York Latin ACE Awards (for Best Scenic Program in Television in 2008 and Special Awards for Imanol Arias in 2009 and Ana Duato in 2010) and a Silver Bird Prize in the Seoul International Drama Awards as the runner-up for Best Drama Series in 2007. It was also nominated for the International Emmy Award for Best Drama Series in 2003. The series, its cast and its technical staff have received more than a hundred awards overall.

In other media

A short clip from the series' first episode was shown at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London among clips of famous British television programmes, music videos and films as part of "Frankie and June say...thanks Tim" sequence.


Plot

Antonio Alcántara (Imanol Arias) and Mercedes Fernández (Ana Duato) are a married couple that have emigrated in the 1960s from Sagrillas, a (fictional) small village in the province of Albacete, to San Genaro, a (also fictional) working-class suburb in Madrid, along with her mother Herminia (María Galiana) and their three children, Inés (Irene Visedo), Toni (Pablo Rivero) and Carlos (Ricardo Gómez) seeking a better life away from the hardships of an impoverished countryside. Antonio works as an office assistant at the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters in the mornings and at Don Pablo's (José Sancho) printing house in the afternoons. Mercedes and Herminia make trousers for a department store at home while doing the housekeeping. Inés works at Nieves' (Rosario Pardo) hair salon across the street along with Pili (Lluvia Rojo), Toni is starting a law degree, making him the first Alcántara going to university and Carlos spends his school days with his best friends Josete (Santiago Crespo) and Luis (Manuel Dios). With great effort and hard work they are able to purchase in instalments their first television set, their first washing machine, their first car (a SEAT 800) and even spend their first vacations at Benidorm where they see the sea for the first time.

As time goes by, Antonio leaves his jobs at the Ministry and the printing house to work for Don Pablo in other business ventures. One of them, the building company Construcciones Nueva York turns out to be a large fraud planned by Don Pablo and his partners in order to embezzle the funds and blame Antonio. Antonio is taken to court, the truth is revealed in the trial and finally Don Pablo is convicted and imprisoned. After this, he starts working in another printing house, Gráficas Usillos, a business that he eventually purchases and renames Alcántara Rotopress. He stands in the first free democratic general election after Franco's death, on the list of UCD for the Congress of Deputies for the Albacete constituency. He does not get the seat but he is directly appointed by Adolfo Suárez, General Director of Agrarian Production of the Ministry of Agriculture under the Second Suárez Cabinet, a position in the same office where he worked in a subordinate role years before. With his new position and with the printing house running well, the family is able to move their residence from the humble San Genaro to the upper class Salamanca neighbourhood. He sells the printing house, is removed from the position in the Ministry and he starts a flags and banners factory named Estandartes y Banderas alongside his best friend Desi (Roberto Cairo). When the Banco de Granada, the bank where Antonio and Mercedes have all their savings and the mortgage of the Salamanca neighbourhood apartment, declares bankruptcy, their financial situation becomes precarious and they have to move back to San Genaro, selling their luxurious apartment at a loss in order to cover their debts. After this, he starts an olive oil distribution business with his brother Miguel (Juan Echanove), but their business is ruined when they are falsely accused of causing the toxic oil syndrome. Antonio becomes addicted to gambling, his health worsens when he develops angina and he has an affair that puts his marriage in jeopardy. With the money recovered from the Banco de Granada years after its bankruptcy, and the land the family own in Sagrillas, they open up the vineyard and winery Bodega Alcántara Fernández e Hijos and they run the business until a devastating fire destroys the winery. He starts a travel agency named Viajes Milano and he even gets a licence to drive coaches.

Mercedes, tired of sewing trousers, starts to design and sell her own outfits. The sales go well, so she teams up with Nieves to open a boutique named Meyni in the hair salon premises, hiring Pili as shop assistant and using the back room as a workshop. As the business prospers, Don Pablo decides to invest his money in it, and the clothing production is moved to a fully equipped dressmaking factory at Don Pablo's premises, hiring a team of dressmakers and even hiring Antonio and Desi as salesmen. Meyni reaches its peak of success when they run a fashion show in front of Carmen Polo, but the company does not outlast the economic crisis and they eventually have to close the factory. After Nieves' departure, Mercedes teams up with Pili to convert the boutique into a unisex hair salon. After giving birth to María, the Alcántaras' fourth child, she decides to finish her secondary school studies and even completes a degree in Economics. She also works for some time as a real estate agent. She suffers a health scare when she is diagnosed with breast cancer and has a mastectomy. With her experience in design and in the fashion industry she starts a firm to make swimwear for women recovering from mastectomies and once completely recovered she is one of the first women in Spain to undergo a breast reconstruction. In the family winery she takes care of the bookkeeping. To help battered women in a shelter she teaches them sewing first and she transforms the sewing workshop into a firm to make clothing for women of all sizes later.

Inés, after breaking up with her lifelong boyfriend, travels to London with Nieves. There she falls in love with Mike (William Miller) and she decides not to come back. When they break up, she returns and she starts an acting career with the help of Eugenio (Pere Ponce), the new San Genaro parish's young priest. When Mike appears in Madrid looking for her, she decides to follow him to Ibiza to live in a hippie commune. Antonio and Mercedes try by all means to take her back but she doesn't return until she becomes disillusioned with her life there. Back in Madrid she helps Eugenio with the social events in the parish. They spend so much time together that they finally fall in love. Eugenio undergoes secularization and they get married. Inés continues with her acting career and she is wrongly linked with a member of the terrorist group ETA for which she is arrested and imprisoned. When released, whilst awaiting court and pregnant, she decides to escape to France with Eugenio, where their son Antonio Oriol is born and where they break up. Later she moves to Argentina with Oriol. She is able to return to Spain after the amnesty is promulgated. Once in Madrid she gets into La Movida Madrileña nightlife scene and becomes addicted to drugs, while Oriol lives with Eugenio in Cuenca. When the family becomes aware of her addiction, they take her to Sagrillas and help her to get clean. After this, her acting career starts to take off, having the leading role in several movies and stage plays. When Eugenio dies in a car accident, Inés takes Oriol to live with her. In the family winery she helps Antonio with the foreign orders. She has a relationship with Marcos (Carlos Cuevas) for some time. After many years apart, she runs into Mike and they end up getting married.

Toni becomes embroiled in political struggle while finishing his degree, along with his young love Marta (Anna Allen), actively protesting against the Régime. After university, he does his compulsory military service and starts working as a journalist in the newspaper Pueblo. There he is paired up with Juana (Cristina Alcázar), a photographer, whom he falls in love with and finally marries in Gibraltar. In the meantime, he quits his job at the newspaper when he is hired by Antonio to manage a magazine he is launching and to run his printing house. Later, he leaves those jobs to join a firm of labour lawyers. His marriage does not last long and Juana leaves him. After the separation and losing his job, he moves to Rome from where he returns immediately after he finds out about Mercedes' illness. Back in Madrid he starts working in a radio station. Two years after their breakup, he runs into Juana who is accompanied by a little boy named Santiago (Víctor Garrido). Juana later reveals that she was pregnant when she left him, and that Santiago is his son. While broadcasting live on the radio from the Congress of Deputies the vote to elect Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo as the country's new Prime Minister, he witnesses the 23-F coup d'état attempt from inside the Congress building. He moves to London, where Juana is living, to be near his son for some time. Back in Madrid he starts working as an investigative journalist, and puts his life in danger investigating several shady dealings. Fearing for his life and wanting to avoid putting his family in danger, he flees to London. When accepting a position in Televisión Española's news service, he decides to return to Madrid with his new fiancée Deborah (Paloma Bloyd), and he becomes a Telediario news anchor first and an Informe Semanal reporter later. Toni and Deborah get married and they have a daughter named Sol. He leaves his job in television when he is appointed General Director of Informative Relations under the Third González Cabinet.

Carlos spends his childhood going to school and playing in a vacant lot with Josete and Luis. He drives Antonio, Mercedes and Herminia crazy because he is a restless child. When he is in high school, Karina (Elena Rivera) and her mother move into the apartment next door. He gets into reading and writing and he wins a prize with a short story he writes. He starts dating Karina but the relationship has its ups and downs. Instead of starting a degree upon finishing high school, he decides to do his compulsory military service. There he meets Marcelo (Nao Albet). After service, he starts a degree in Business Management in a private university, but he does not finish the first year. He opens a nightclub and he is accused of drug dealing. As he does not betray his business partner, who is the dealer, he is arrested and imprisoned. In prison he is attacked and almost dies, but is released when found to be innocent. After prison, he continues to write and he even publishes his first novel. He is also in a long sporadic relationship with Julia (Claudia Traisac), his summer love from Sagrillas. When finding Luis in a bad way, he takes him to Sagrillas and helps him to recover, while taking care of the winery. When recovered, Luis takes over the winery's everyday management. Josete and Marcelo join them in Sagrillas and they all help Carlos to start a rural tourism small lodging named La Casa de Doña Pura as it is the former cottage of his deceased grandmother Pura (Terele Pávez). Karina marries another man and, after a one-night stand with Carlos, gets pregnant. She gives birth to a baby, Olivia, although it is not clear if she is Carlos' daughter or not, and when her husband finds out about the infidelity, they break up. Carlos takes care of her and the baby and, finally, he proposes and they get married. After some time working as a motorcycle courier he starts working in an advertising agency. Karina accepts a position in New York, Carlos follows her and there he starts to write down his family's story from the beginning.

The Alcántaras' story is narrated from an indefinite present by an adult Carlos (voiced by Carlos Hipólito). Their story is directly and indirectly affected by the events and the social, economical and political changes occurring in Spain from the late 1960s until the early 1990s. The Alcántaras are also direct and indirect witnesses of the historic acts occurring those days, including, among many others, when Antonio, Mercedes, Carlos and Miguel witness the car bombing that kills Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco; when Toni chronicles the Portuguese Carnation Revolution from Lisbon; when all the family queue for hours at Franco's funeral chapel; when Carlos, Karina and Josete get trapped in the Alcalá 20 nightclub fire; when Antonio and Mercedes take part in the famous game show Un, dos, tres... responda otra vez; when all the family leave El Descanso restaurant just as it suffers a terrorist attack; when Antonio proudly attends, at the Royal Palace, the solemn signing of the agreement by which Spain and Portugal joined the European Economic Community; when Inés, Marcos and Oriol come out of the Hipercor bombing unscathed; when Toni reports live from Berlin the fall of the Wall; when Toni and his cameraman are kidnapped in Iraq during the Gulf War and when Antonio, Mercedes, Toni and Oriol attend the opening ceremony of the 1992 Summer Olympics.


Cast and characters

This section shows characters who have appeared in the series.

  • An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the season, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
  • O indicates an older version of the character.
  • U indicates an uncredited appearance.
  • V indicates a voice-only role.
  • Y indicates a younger version of the character.
  • Z indicates that the character didn't talk and was not seen close-up.

Alcántara Family

CharacterPortrayed bySeasons
123456789101112131415161718192021
Antonio Alcántara BarbadilloImanol AriasMain
Mercedes Fernández LópezAna DuatoMain
Herminia López VidalMaría GalianaMain
Carlos Alcántara FernándezRicardo GómezMain
Carlos Hipólito MainV OM.O
Antonio Alcántara Fernández ("Toni")Pablo Rivero Main
Inés Alcántara FernándezIrene VisedoMainMain
Marieta Orozco G.Z
Pilar Punzano Main
María Alcántara FernándezEsmeralda GarcíaRecurringMain
Celine PeñaRecurring
Paula Gallego RecurringMainGuestY
Carmen Climent Main
Silvia AbascalR.O
Purificación Barbadillo SánchezTerele PávezRecurringGuest
Miguel Alcántara BarbadilloJuan EchanoveGuestRecurringMain
Marie ChantalAnne Marie RosierGuestGuestGuestGuest
Françoise AlcántaraPatricia FigónGuest
Aida FolchRecurringMainGuest
Francisca Ramos Fernández ("Paquita")Ana Arias RecurringMain
Eugenio Domingo SubiratsPere Ponce RecurringMainRec.GuestGuest
Antonio Oriol Domingo AlcántaraHugo VárguesRec.
Javier LorenzoRecurring
Borja FanoR.O
Juana AndradeCristina Alcázar RecurringMainGuestRec.Recurring
Santiago Alcántara AndradeVíctor GarridoRecurring
Jan CornetR.O
Deborah SternPaloma BloydRec.Main
Sol Alcántara SternCarlotaR.U
María Caridad Saavedra Martín ("Karina")Elena RiveraRecurringMainRecurringMain
Rosana PastorG.O
MikeWilliam MillerRec.Rec.GuestRecurring
Marcos García de BlasCarlos CuevasRec.MainRec.
JorgeCarlos Serrano-ClarkRec.
Martxelo Rubio R.O
AlbaPaula MoragoRec.

Friends and acquaintances

Friends and acquaintances appearing in more than 100 episodes.

CharacterPortrayed bySeasons
123456789101112131415161718192021
José Quijo Jiménez ("Josete")Santiago Crespo RecurringMainRecurring
Ramón PascualManolo Cal RecurringMainRecurring
María del Pilar Villuendas García ("Pili")Lluvia RojoRecurringMainRecurring
Desiderio Quijo ("Desi")Roberto CairoRecurringMainRecurring
Clara JiménezSilvia Espigado Rec.GuestRecurringMainRecurring
Valentina RojasAlicia Hermida MainGuestGuest
Luis Gómez BermúdezManuel DiosRecurringGuestGuestRecurringGuestRec.
Froilán Cardeñosa MoraAntonio Canal GuestRecurringMainRecurringGuest
Pablo Ramírez SañudoJosé SanchoMain
Celestino Álvarez ("Tinín")Enrique San FranciscoMain
Josefa García Peláez ("Josefina")Pepa SarsaRecurring
Eladio Contreras Prieto ("Cervan")Tony LeblancMain
Nieves CarranzaRosario Pardo MainGuestRecurring

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRatingsSetting
First airedLast airedViewersShare
13313 September 20014 July 20025,519,00033.7%2 April 1968 – 3 August 1969
21426 September 200226 December 20026,419,00037.6%15 August 1969 – 1 January 1970
3133 April 200310 July 20036,746,00042.0%31 March 1970 – 21 July 1970
41425 September 20031 January 20046,727,00039.0%8 September 1970 – 1 January 1971
51315 April 200422 July 20045,788,00035.3%10 May 1971 – 12 July 1971
61418 November 200424 February 20055,830,00032.5%27 October 1972 – 18 March 1973
71722 September 200512 January 20064,969,00028.2%23 September 1973 – 6 January 1974
82114 September 20068 February 20074,746,00026.7%25 April 1974 – 12 March 1975
92213 September 200714 February 20083,746,00021.0%30 April 1975 – 7 February 1976
101928 August 200825 December 20084,281,00024.1%16 April 1976 – 1 January 1977
11163 September 200917 December 20094,074,00022.2%12 March 1977 – 26 December 1977
121811 November 201017 March 20114,724,00023.8%7 June 1978 – 31 May 1979
131815 September 20112 February 20124,547,00022.7%30 August 1979 – 11 February 1981
14203 January 201323 May 20134,101,00020.5%23 February 1981 – February 1982
151916 January 20145 June 20143,758,00018.5%2 July 1982 – 8 March 1983
16198 January 201521 May 20153,125,00016.1%5 April 1983 – 21 December 1983
17197 January 201619 May 20163,209,00017.2%5 January 1984 – 16 March 1985
181912 January 201725 May 20172,928,00017.1%11 April 1985 – 20 October 1986
19925 January 201822 March 20182,968,00018.0%18 January 1987 – 19 June 1987
1013 September 201829 November 20182,341,00015.5%June 1987 – 13 September 1988
201021 March 201930 May 20192,211,00014.2%30 October 1988 – 6 March 1990
112 January 202019 March 20202,189,00014.4%22 December 1990 – September 1991
211914 January 202127 May 20211,695,00010.0%7 February 1992 – 15 September 1993
March 2020 – Spring 2022
Total38813 September 20012 April 1968 – ...

The series has also 6 additional unnumbered special episodes not counted in the official episodes numeration. Season 3 and season 20 finish, season 7, season 8 and the second part of season 19 start and season 21 rests mid-season with one of those unnumbered special episodes each.