ANYONE interested in improving their Spanish and learning more about the Balearics should tune in to the new documentary series which starts on Spanish Television (TVE-2) at 9.10pm on Sunday. There will be 13 chapters in all, directed by Antonio Capellà, who has tried to discover just what has attracted so many people to the islands over the years. But it is not about the tourist boom. Far from it. Rather than tourists, it concentrates on travellers, ranging from artists and writers, to rock musicians, not to mention spies and adventurers. And it also touches on some tragic episodes, such as the French prisoners of war who were banished to Cabrera after the Battle of Bailen in the 19th century. The first chapter is about Minorca, or rather the port of Mahon, which was coveted by the major naval powers in the 18th century. The British, in particular, saw it as a strategic place from which to dominate the Mediterranean and the effects of the British domination are still evident in Minorca today. Two chapters will be dedicated to the poet Robert Graves, who made his home in Deya, where he is buried. The first is dedicated to the years he spent here before the Spanish Civil War (1929 to 1936), and the second from 1946, when he returned, to 1985, the year of his death. The mysterious figure of Thomas Harris, believed to be a spy, and who died in strange circumstances, will also be examined.
There will also be a chapter dedicated to Hollywood star Errol Flynn, a regular visitor on board his yacht the Zaca, and the glamour of the 1950s.
The last chapter in the series will be dedicated to the Spanish Royal Family, the island's most illustrious visitors.
Rock musicians, the Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria, one of the first foreigners to praise the beauty of the rugged north coast, author Georges Bernanos and Ibiza will also be featured in the documentaries, which will be narrated by Spanish actress Mercedes Sampietro.