Spain’s Atresplayer Premium Prepares Docuseries ’Once Upon a Time in Marbella’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Boosting its profile as a Spanish reference point, not only for TV drama but also for documentary production, Atresplayer Premium, the pay TV platform of media conglom Atresmedia Group, is preparing docuseries “Érase una vez en Marbella” (Once Upon a Time in Marbella).

Produced by Atresmedia TV in collaboration with Seville-based Happy Ending (“Pongamos que hablo de…”), the four episode 50 minutes series will dive into real-life stories of deep impact that had the city of Marbella, in Spain’s southern Andalusia coast, as a common element. 

The documentary will explain how Marbella went in a few years, since the 1950s, from being a fishing village in Málaga province to becoming one of the most ostentatious leisure centers for the worldwide jet set.

“Once Upon a Time in Marbella” will describe different events and characters that, in one way or another, were related to the Costa del Sol’s city and its universe. 

Among the stories it will address are that of Princess Diana, who was famously photographed topless by paparazzi; the inauguration of a new nightclub by French businesswoman Olivia Valère, and that of a young German-Spanish nobleman and property developer Alfonso of Hohenlohe, and his dream of building the most important hotel in the world, the Marbella Club.

The project, tentatively set to premiere in the second half of 2023, confirms Atresplayer Premium’s aim to become a key player in documentary production, once it has consolidated its position as a big platform for Spanish TV fiction. 

In 2022, the pay TV platform premiered “Los Borbones: una familia real,” the first documentary series about the Spanish royal family that caused great media impact. It also launched “Pajares y cía,” a journey through recent Spanish history, from the democratic transition to the present day, through humor.

For 2023, Atresplayer Premium plans to release true-crime series “No se lo digas a nadie,” previously known as “Besos Marvin,” about the murder of an entire Brazilian family in the Guadalajara’s municipality of Pioz, committed in 2016 by a young man. 

Further non-fiction formats broadcast by Atresplayer take in “Salvados” and “Lo de Évole,” aired on Atresmedia free-to-air channel La Sexta.

Scaling up rapidly from its 2019 launch, the burgeoning OTT service has become established as the platform that bows most Spanish TV fiction, with about 20 national titles a year taking in both originals – series only seen on the platform in Spain – and titles sourced from broadcast network Atresmedia. It currently has about 45 series in various stages of production or development. 

In recent years, it’s been the platform that released standout TV dramas such as HBO Max hit “Veneno,” and “Cardo,” sold to TelevisaUnivision’s ViX, both series produced by Buendía Estudios teaming with Suma Content’s Los Javis.

Other successful titles at Atresplayer Premium take in “Alba,” a Boomerang TV adaptation of Turkish hit “Fatmagul,” “La cocinera de Castamar,” acquired by Netflix, and Paco Cabezas’ crime thriller “La novia gitana,” produced with VIS and Banijay’s Diagonal TV.

In November, the platform will premiere “La Ruta,” a Caballo Films production, and plans to launch soon further TV fiction series such as “Los Protegidos: adn,” “UPA Next,” “Las Noches de Tefía,” “Déjate ver,” “Zorras,” “Red Flags” and “Camilo Superstar.”

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