Paloma Chamorro, Whose TV Show Captured Spain's Cultural Awakening, Has Died

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Paloma Chamorro

Pedro Almodovar Culture Club and The Smiths were among Chamorro's guests on La Edad de Oro

An internationally unknown Pedro Almodovar in drag. Culture Club just after the release of “Karma Chameleon." The Smiths. The Lords of the New Church, whose frontman, Stiv Bators, pulled his pants down on national TV.

They were all guests of Paloma Chamorro -- who died Sunday (Jan. 29) at age 68 -- on La Edad de Oro, a music program that broadcast Spain’s 1980s cultural revolution as it happened. Seen on one of two TV channels that existed in Spain at the time, La Edad de Oro was synonymous with Madrid’s “movida,” the scene that blew up after the end of almost 40 years of dictatorship in Spain.

While Almodovar would become famous for capturing the punk-meets-kitsch esthetic of the movida and the culture clash it caused in conservative Spain, Chamorro showed it happening in real time – during prime time, with a now-legendary finesse that enabled her to anchor the set without diminishing any of the impromptu action.

Chamorro conversed with guests who performed real, concert-length shows in a TV studio set up like a club, and who also smoked, drank and talked about sex and religion -- and not politely. After the group Psychic TV brought a crucifix that pictured Christ with the head of a pig onstage, Chamorro was prosecuted for crimes of blasphemy and “offending Catholics.” About a decade later, she was finally absolved of the charges by Spain’s Supreme Court.

La Edad de Oro lasted two years before the directors of Spain’s public television channels pulled the plug. Looking back now with the hindsight of YouTube, they were incredible ones.

Chamorro, who had started her television career before La Edad de Oro, had the idea for a show that would reflect the artistic excitement of the times, and broadcast bands performing live on TV. When the program was canceled, she retired from public view, according to Spanish newspaper reports, which today carried the news of her death and paid tribute to her daring spirit.

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