After a review screening at Vitoria’s FesTVal, “La Moderna”—a drama about a group of women determined to change their fates—is slated to air on La 1 soon. Based on Luisa Carnés’ novel “Tea Room”, the series transports viewers to 1930’s Madrid with stories about the workers and customers at a distinguished tea room in the city center.

In a press conference for “La Moderna”, RTV’s Director of Film and Fiction, José Pastor, highlighted the network’s commitment to daily dramas. “In this context of transformation in the way we consume fiction, where we are increasingly more used to watching whatever episodes we want whenever we wantt56, we think it’s important to use this fiction format that accompanies viewers day after day, and we believe this series will meet the expectations placed on it.”

Luis Santamaría, Director of Fiction at Boomerang TV and executive producer on the series, stressed that “the series is very ambitious, set in Madrid in 1930 with an amazing team of actors, writers, and directors.” Humberto Miró, another executive producer on the series, also praised the team behind the series.  “We want to convey that experience and let the characters and the series speak for themselves,” Miró explained to journalists during a tour of the recording studio.

Helena Ezquerro, who plays the leading role in “La Moderna”, said that, “It’s an honor to play a character who is so courageous and dignified.”  “We are working hard, and I hope it resonates with viewers,” said actor Almagro San Miguel during the presentation of the series, which will premiere “very soon” on La 1, according to María Eizaguirre, RTVE’s Director of Communication and Participation.

Co-Produced by RTVE and Mediawan with Boomerang TV’s participation, “La Moderna” is being shot on location in natural settings in areas of Madrid dating back to the early 20th century and on stage sets covering over 2,500 m2 that recreate the tea room, an imposing shopping mall, and the homes of the protagonists in a historic corrala (a working-class apartment building typical of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries).

Music will play a prominent role in the new production, with the theme song sung by Pastora Soler and composed by Tony Sánchez-Ohlsson.The song “La Moderna” was composed especially for the series and for Pastora Soler and tells the story of a love affair that blossoms in the tea room that lends its name to the series.

Episode 1

Matilde (Helena Ezquerro) finds her life is dramatical transformed after her father’s sudden death. This event leaves its mark on the Garcés family, starting with Matilde’s widowed mother Rosario (Miryam Gallego), and including her siblings Luisa, Pablo, and little Clarita. Years later, life throws more obstacles in their way. In the bustling city of Madrid in 1930, Matilde needs to support her family. After several failed attempts, she finds a job in a distinguished tea room in the city center. That is where Matilde embarks on her adventure together with her workmates. And, above all, it is she runs into Íñigo (Almagro San Miguel), a long-time friend who stirs up strong feelings in Matilde. But… Is that the only problem she’ll have to confront?

Introducing “La Moderna”

Madrid, 1930. Matilde is a young woman of humble origins who lives with her mother, Rosario, and her three siblings. She stops by the La Moderna Tea Room, one of the most elegant cafés in Madrid, looking for work and runs into Iñigo, her childhood sweetheart. Iñigo is now a well-positioned young man as the right-hand man of Don Jaime (José Luís García-Pérez), one of the city’s most influential businessmen. The passion between the two youngsters is rekindled. But Don Jaime’s wife, Doña Carla (Stéphanie Magnin)—and Iñigo’s former girlfriend—is not about to let them get back together.

The series is based on the 1934 “Tea Rooms”, one of the best-known novels by Luisa Carnés, a highly influential writer of the so-called Generation of 1927. The author was inspired by her own experience working as a waitress in a pastry shop in Madrid. The novel is a chronicle that focuses on the real-life experiences for women of the time.

Set in Madrid in the year 1930, the story depicts a fascinating era as seen through the day-to-day lives of the workers and customers at a tea room near Puerta del Sol: new times, major social upheaval, and, also, room for a life of glamour and luxury.

In the tea room where the story is set, we get a glimpse of paradoxes and contradictions. The opulence of the tea room and the elegance of its clientele contrast with the reality of life for its employees. One of the main strengths of the new RTVE series is how relevant its stories to our present-day context, reflecting of the society of the time with its emotion-driven story lines.

The Characters

Matilde Garcés (played by Helena Ezquerro)

She is Rosario’s daughter and the eldest of four siblings. Matilde’s objective is to make good on the promise she made her father on his death bed: to take care of the family and keep it together. But she has to overcome all sorts of obstacles, including poverty and all the constraints of being part of the humblest of classes. Matilde starts working at the tea room, where she runs into Íñigo and is forced to confront Doña Carla.

Íñigo Peñalver (played by Almagro San Miguel)

Iñigo has been in love with Matilde from a very young age, and the two meet again in the tea room after years of not seeing each other. From that moment on, Doña Carla and a group of businessmen conspire to make things difficult for them.

Carla de Morcuende (played by Stéphanie Magnin)

Even though she is happily married to Don Jaime, Carla’s goal is to live a life of luxury and abundance with Iñigo, the only man she has ever loved. She sees Matilde as an obstacle to be overcome.

Jaime de Morcuende (played by José Luis García-Pérez)

Jaime is a successful entrepreneur. From the moment he met Doña Carla, he has made his wife and business his top priority. Jaime owns the gallery of shops where “La Moderna” is located, and he runs his business with help from his close friend, Iñigo.

Matilde’s Family

Rosario Martín (played by Miryam Gallego) is Matilde’s mother.

Rosario is a fighter and is used to having to struggle to look after her family and raise her children. To do so, she has to confront her aging body, crushing poverty, and Doña Carla.

Luisa Garcés (played by Berta Castañé) is Matilde’s sister and Rosario’s second child. Luisa is a responsible, sweet, and sensitive girl who has a special talent for drawing and painting.

Pablo Garcés (played by Rodrigo Simón) is the third of the four siblings and the only male. He was just a kid when his father died, and he soon learned what it was like to grow up in poverty. But Pablo wants to grow up and become a man so he can earn money to help out at home.

Clara Garcés (played by Cosette Silguero) is Matilde’s younger sister. Clarita, is lively, fun, and cheerful and loves hearing the stories Matilde tells her about the customers at “La Moderna”.

Characters from the Tea Room

Antonia (played by Teresa Hurtado De Ory) is the oldest employee at “La Moderna”. She is devoted to helping her workmates, especially Marta, and is still very connected to her late husband.

Teresa (played by Sara Rivero) is the manager at “La Moderna”. She tries to impose her authority and does whatever it takes to stay on the owner’s, Don Fermin’s, good side.

Trini (played by Bárbara Mestanza) is one of the most admired workers at the Tea Room. But things get complicated for her when her husband starts working at the bookshop across the street from “La Moderna”.

Marta (played by Lorea Carballo) is another tea room worker. She is a young woman from the provinces facing all the difficulties and harshness of life in the big city.

Laurita (played by Breta Galo) is Don Fermín’s niece and works at “La Moderna”. Her dream is to live a life of luxury and travel the world with a handsome man, preferably a Hollywood actor.

Fermín Villanueva (played by Carles Sanjaime) is the owner of “La Moderna” and his goal is to make it the best tea room in the city. To this end, he has to face up to the country’s economic instability and deal with his staff’s problems.

Pietro (played by Andrea Fiorillo) is the pastry chef at “La Moderna”. He emigrated to Spain from Italy after the death of his wife, and he’s hoping his son Giancarlo, an idealist and revolutionary, will come live with him in Madrid.

Esperanza (played by María José Parra) is the Tea Room’s cleaning lady. She is a difficult person who tries to shirk responsibility and avoids making any unnecessary effort, but she still manages to make her coworkers laugh.

Francisco Cañete (played by Carlos Librado) is “La Moderna’s” highly skilled an educated waiter. Everyone calls him Cañete, and Don Fermín knows he can count on him.

Elías (played by Xabier Murua) is another waiter. He drives all his coworkers crazy with his practical jokes, but he’s so endearing that everyone loves him.

The Bookshop

Miguel (played by Llorenç González) is a bookseller and Trini’s husband. They have to keep their marriage secret, because “La Moderna” will not allow married women to work there.

The Corrala

Emilio (played by Germán Alcarazu) is one of the neighbors in the corrala. Although he may look like a loafer and not everyone realizes this, he is incredibly sensitive. 

Raimundo (played by Pablo Álvarez) is Emilio’s older brother and also lives in the corrala. Life has really mistreated him, and it seems all he wants is to make it pay.

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