Banned Netflix Show Returns to Turkey, With Spanish Characters
(Bloomberg) -- Netflix Inc. canned its Turkish drama “If Only” last year after the country’s culture ministry asked the streaming giant to erase a gay character from the storyline.
Now the show by Turkish screenwriter Ece Yorenc is back on, only this time set in Spain with Spanish characters, and it’s due to air in 190 countries -- including Turkey.
The ban by the Islamist government drew speculation in local media that Netflix might quit Turkey altogether due to state interference, and underscored the local sensibilities that the company must navigate in its rapid global expansion.
The show’s creators insist none of its dramatic power has been lost by making the cultural leap from conservative Turkey to liberal Spain. A gay character appears in the script as a supporting role, as it did in the Turkish original.
“We are not telling a Spanish or a Turkish story, but a universal one,” said screenwriter Irma Correa, who created the Spanish adaptation. “We have worked to reflect what we see as an open and plural society, in which everyone will feel represented.”
The drama will air on Netflix under a new title: “Si lo Hubiera Sabido” (“If I Had Known”). In an emailed response to questions, Correa said the story is full of “Spanish idiosyncrasy” but will follow the same plot and structure as the original script by Yorenc.
It tells the story of Emma, a woman entering her thirties who is bored after 10 years of marriage. A supernatural event sends her back in time, allowing her to inhabit her younger body and rewrite her life.
Asked if Turkey’s government plans to take any action against the new Spanish version of the show, an official at the Radio and Television Supreme Council of Turkey said it’s “not on our agenda”.
The Turkish-Spanish connection came naturally to the show’s producers -- Correa already worked with Yorenc on a Spanish adaptation of “Fatmagul,” one of several Turkish dramas that have become popular in Spain.
The series is being filmed in Paris, Madrid and Seville and will release at an unconfirmed date in all of the countries where Netflix operates, said a spokesman for the company.
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