“This year the program is going to shine a lot”

The legendary heifer bullfighting competition returns tonight with Ramón García, Cristinini and Wilbur with its first elimination programme, in which the neighbours of Bembibre and Almacelles will face each other.

“Ready? Three, two, one, go!” Summer finally kicks off with the long-awaited return of The Summer Grand Prix tonight on La 1. After 18 years without being broadcast on the public channel, the legendary family contest returned in style last year, becoming the best premiere of 2023 with a 26.1% share. And, as if that were not enough, its seven episodes were absolute leaders in their time slot, with an average of 1.7 million viewers and a 19.4% share. share. Now, after this overwhelming success, RTVE is committed to making the programme even bigger, multiplying the number of participating towns, programmes and games, which will delight spectators. And the first brave ones to face them will be the residents of Bembibre (Leon) and warehouses (Lleida), accompanied by their respective godparents Leo Harlem and Lorena Castell.

“There are a lot of improvements. The Grand Prix “This year it will shine a lot,” the emblematic Ramon GarciaThe Bilbao native once again leads the format, accompanied by Cristinini in the voice-over booth and Wilbur as an animator and game tester. Michelle Calvohowever, will not be co-presenting again this year as she cannot fit her schedule in with the filming of a series she stars in. RTVE has opted not to fill her slot, a decision that is due to changes in the mechanics of the programme that mean that “more people are not needed”. But those who will not be missing will be the dinosaur Nico and, of course, the most famous pet on television: the heifer.

“We always have the challenge of improving, changing and varying without losing the essence of the Grand Prix“, highlights Carlo Bosermancreator and producer of the format and general manager of EuroTV Producciones (Grupo iZen). “We all become children again with this program. There is a special magic, so, although we have changed small details, We are committed to maintaining that same essence“, he adds, before revealing the first novelty of the edition: there will be 10 installments of the contest – three more than last year -, with towns from 14 autonomous communities, which will compete two by two in seven elimination programs. For Boserman, the towns, which are sometimes “forgotten in Spanish geography”, are “the heart of the program”, something that Ramón García agrees with: “Spain is a much larger town, that’s why it works The Grand Prix“Can you imagine a version in the cities? It wouldn’t have the same competitiveness or the same spirit.”

The biggest change, however, is the addition of 14 new games. If last season the neighbours had to compete in 17 events to try to take the trophy home, this season there will be almost double that number, a total of 31 to conquer. To the legendary Crazy logs, Dictionary o The hot potatoproposals such as will be added Welcome to Tartópoliswhere players will have to throw pies at their rivals; Champions Prixa giant human table football in which the teams will have to shoot by blowing; or Wikipequesa three-generation game in which godparents and older people from the villages will join forces to guess a concept that the children of the Grand Prix will try to describe.

Residents of Bembibre and Almacelles compete in one of the events. RTVE

There will also be time for new pool games like Coconut collectorin which players will climb a huge floating palm tree, and exciting gymkhanas such as Super Plumberswith jumping players, or Operation Meow Meowa race against time to rescue a cat and return it to its mother.

However, there are certain classic tests that many viewers missed last year and that still cannot be recovered for this new stage of the contest due to a legislative issue, such as the famous cucaña, no less. “It’s a matter of security”Boserman began by explaining. “Now, the rules state that, from two metres onwards, you need a harness. If one contestant enters and then another and another, it slows down the game. It cannot be done like this,” continued the director, who confirmed that he had considered the possibility of bringing back the legendary test in which the contestants had to climb a five-metre-high pole to grab a ham and come down in the shortest time possible.

Even so, fun “is guaranteed because we had fun making the programme,” said Miriam García Corrales, director of Entertainment at RTVE, who also wanted to highlight these new games as a way for older people to actively participate in the programme. “There is also the opportunity for older people to compete, which is very nice”he indicated.

But the older ones are not the only ones who take on a greater role this year, as we will see an involvement of the godparents in the games like never before. In addition to their usual collaborations in the classic tests, we will see these famous faces running from one side to the other, bothering the rival contestants and working hand in hand with the players from the town they sponsor. In other words, godmothers and godfathers playing as one more to try to win the trophy of the Grand Prix.

In addition to Leo Harlem and Lorena Castell, the godparents include Maria del Monte, Twin Melody, Miki Nadal, Paula Vazquez, Jaime Astrain, Norma Duval, El Cordobes, Maria Gomez, Samanta Villar, Juanma Iturriaga, Julio Iglesias Jr., Alba Carrillo, Chiapella, Lala Chus, Blas Canto, La Terremoto, Ana Guerra and Los del Rio.

The new challenge: to make a “travelling” Grand Prix

The success of the return of the Grand Prix to open television has encouraged its production company EuroTV Producciones and RTVE to expand the universe of the program, starting with a new mobile video game and a line of merchandisingwhich includes a board game, Joma brand clothing and shoes, and even a stuffed animal of the heifer.

Television-wise, it is “trying to make a travelling Grand Prix”which will allow everyone to travel around Spain and allow them to participate. In addition, there are also plans to make an edition “with children or younger people”, according to García Corrales, who also left open the possibility of the format having special galas at Christmas.

“Fifty percent of our viewers last year were children and teenagers who had never seen this programme,” concluded Ramón García. “Parents have stopped me in tears to tell me that it was the first time they had watched TV with their children. We have managed to recover the family’s memory. “No program does that.”

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