Madrid, Spain – As people in Spain entered a fourth week of confinement, light relief is on the way with a sitcom based on the lockdown about to hit television screens.
Quarantine Diaries, believed to be the world’s first TV show of its kind about a coronavirus crackdown, will be shown on Radio Television Espanola (RTVE) on Tuesday.
The episodes were recorded in the homes of well-known Spanish actors such as Carlos Bardem, the brother of Oscar-winning star Javier Bardem.
One episode a week, for eight weeks, will try to inject some humour while portraying the strains of life under the new measures.
Each 30-minute show was recorded by the actors themselves using iPhones, microphones, tripods and computer programmes – footage was then sent to producers for editing.
As the sitcom prepared to launch, there was more cause for hope.
Spain has seen the rate of new infections and deaths slow in recent days, meaning the country may have seen the worst of the crisis and reached the peak of the pandemic.
The number of people who lost their lives in the past 24 hours was 637, the lowest daily figure for 13 days, health authorities said on Monday.
The total death toll increased to 13,055 from 12,418.
‘Making them laugh’
The Quarantine Diaries, written by Alvaro Fernandez Armero and David Marques, was producer Alvaro Longoria’s idea.
“The spirit behind the series is two-fold; to try to help by doing a series in a different way and by helping people by making them laugh. We want to help by doing what we do best,” Longoria, who produced the 2018 film Everybody Knows with Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, told Al Jazeera.
“We are in no way making fun of the drama in which we are living.”
In a trailer for the series, an executive is seen speaking in English during a conference call in front of his computer when his wife hands him their newborn baby to hold.
In another scene, a bored husband uses the family’s stock of toilet rolls to play football.
“Living with someone has always been difficult, be it in a couple, with the family or with roommates. But now, without prior notice, we have to spend 24 hours a day with that person who we share our lives with,” says a voiceover advertising the series.
Jose Ramon Alonso, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Salamanca, said the Quarantine Diaries may help people to escape the daily grind of lockdown.
“Watching television, seeing a film, reading books or listening to music are all ways that allow the mind to travel when you are in a forced confinement like this,” he told Al Jazeera.
It helped the series that many of those taking part have actors as partners.
Gorka Otxoa, one of the actors in the series, tweeted: “How lucky to have the opportunity to raise a smile in this complex situation from our homes. I hope joy and laughter raise our defences. We await you on Tuesday.”
An RTVE spokesman told Al Jazeera: “We think this is the first programme of its kind in the world. We have already had interest from other channels in Europe.”