This forgotten BBC documentary from 1979 was the final part of a 5-part series entitled ‘Realidades de España’ – Spanish Realities. It was uncovered by writer and chemical engineer Josep Grau-Bové who obtained it on VHS video from a friend in Glasgow. He digitised and uploaded it to YouTube in the hope that more people would see it. In the last two years 41,548 people have (at the time of writing).
I find it fascinating that this documentary from 35 years ago, made only 4 years after Franco’s death, should end up on the internet for a new 21st century audience. Even more fascinating that the story it tells has not moved on very much at all in the following 35 years.
Of course Franco’s death was a major event in recent Catalan history. The restoration of the Generaliltat followed two years later, with the statute of autonomy drawn up in 1979, and its subsequent revision in 2006. And here we are in 2015 with two or three years of the pro-independence movement behind us, and with elections looming on September 27th of this year, I do wonder how close we are to an independent Catalonia. Has the political will for complete independence been lost? Is Catalonia’s destiny to be part of a federalised Spain and that’s it? Only time will tell of course. But watching this documentary from 1979 makes the coming elections all the more interesting from an outsider point of view. Will these elections be a major turning point in the history of Catalonia? Or just another footnote in a future documentary.
Either way I encourage you to watch the video below. It’s the BBC after all, documentaries are what they do best.