«The ‘Grand Prix’ without heifer would lose its essence»

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Ramón García (Bilbao, 58 years old) owes his beginnings in the profession to Elton John. In the 80s, the presenter signed up for a Cadena Ser contest and presented a demo of the British singer’s album ‘Too Low for Zero’. He won and, after covering a loss in the Top 40, started in the middle. His knowledge of music is due to his family background. «My parents had nightclubs and nightclubs. It was the family business and I did everything: box office, waiter, DJ … That’s where my taste for music came in, “he recalls.

Almost forty years after those radio starts, Ramontxu now triumphs on public television in Castilla-La Mancha (Castilla-La Mancha Media) with ‘In company’, an entertainment format “that helps people who are alone to find a new life partner”. “Until the coronavirus has arrived, the other silent pandemic that existed, especially among older people, is loneliness,” describes the communicator. On a daily basis, he moves from Madrid -where he currently resides- to Toledo to present the program live, now paralyzed by the health crisis.

‘In company’ premiered in 2016 and was imported from another regional television, Canal Sur. Since 2009, Juan y Medio has been running ‘The Afternoon, Here and Now’, the most watched space on the channel, in which the testimonies of people seeking company have managed to cross Andalusia. Its Castilian-La Mancha version, with Ramón García, has also achieved a great penetration in a mainly rural population, coming to face other national spaces such as ‘Sálvame’. They even get to receive calls from other parts of the country, such as Madrid or Extremadura, and from young people who live in towns and cannot socialize. “It is the most gratifying thing I have ever done and will never do because developing my craft I am helping people, and that is a plus that is not paid with money,” he admits.

Ramontxu warns that television is succumbing to the avalanche of daily news that stars the coronavirus. “It is being abused. It is one thing to report the tsunami about the coronavirus that is spreading at home. We need information, brief, concise, helpful, but also entertainment. People are getting fed up with programs that go round and round about the same thing, ”he criticizes.

Animalistic pressure

It was in the Basque chain ETB when Ramontxu began to stand out in 1989 with ‘Tal para cual’. His work in this program drew attention to ‘La Trinca’, who signed him for ‘Don’t laugh, it’s worse’. At that time, he landed on TVE and his professional career rose meteorically. He says that with Raffaella Carrá he had the opportunity to present ‘What do we bet?’, the great live betting show that captained for seven seasons. “She would see me in the ‘Don’t laugh.’ and invited me to his show (‘Hi Raffaella!’). He was very funny. That day, we had a mess on set and it was the most watched show. They called me to tell me how good it had been and they offered me ‘What do we bet?’ If it wasn’t for her, they wouldn’t have noticed me, ”he reveals.

It was his great jump to ‘prime time’ that catapulted him as a star presenter of the public network. “As a live show, the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he says. That great live entertainment space, which he co-presented in most of its editions with Ana Obregón, had an exhaustive planning that began months in advance. «It was hard, exhausting. But there I learned the trade. I had never studied as much as in that program, “he admits.

Nevertheless, in the collective imagination of many young people the ‘Grand Prix’ is still present. The program ended on TVE in 2005 – afterwards it had a brief stage presented by Bertín Osborne on regional television – but every summer it continues to ask for his return. On the table of the managers of the chains, says Ramón, a project to return with an updated format was for a long time. Would it fit now? I have always defended it, of course. It would work the same, I have no doubt, “he says.

But why doesn’t he come back? The communicator explains that “there is an animal movement” that took the ‘Grand Prix’ off the grill years ago. “Television managers don’t want trouble,” he says. “There is a massive call for a historical format to return. Why not try? The same goes wrong. But I am convinced that it would turn out well, “he says. “It is the heifer program. It could be done without it, yes, but it would lose its essence », he admits.

Meanwhile, he keeps the door open to return to the broadcast of the chimes, which he presented for fourteen years on TVE and another two on Antena 3: «The cloak is kept in a closet. If someday they call me to go to Puerta del Sol, Ramón García and his cape will always be ready, “he concludes.



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