Barcelona filmmaker Sergi Schaaff, a TVE legend, died this Tuesday in Barcelona at the age of 85. His name may not sound familiar to many viewers, but the competitions he’s started for the public service channel do. The most recent is Saber y ganar, of which he has been a director since its inception more than 25 years ago.
It was José Pablo López, general manager of RTVE, who announced the Catalan’s death on social networks shortly afterwards confirmed by the public authority. “Tonight, Sergi Schaff, a professional died to whom television and above all TVE owe a lot. DEP,” López published on Tuesday morning.
Tonight, Sergi Schaff, a professional who television and especially TVE owe a lot to, died. He was the architect of hits like “If I Know I Won’t Come”, “Time Is Gold”, “3×4”, “The Moon” and most notably “Know and Win”. DEP pic.twitter.com/iq3itpRl56
– José Pablo López (@Josepablo_ls) January 3, 2023
Schaaff became professionally associated with TVE in the 1960s and undertook some television adaptations of two dramatic spaces, Novela and Ficciones. In 1979 he received the Ondas Prize for directing Salomé, performed by Núria Espert and adapted by Terenci Moix. After becoming director of the territorial center of TVE in Catalonia and having spent a short time at the Valencian regional channel Canal 9, his most famous works reached the public in the 1980s and 1990s on the state channel.
The first was the competition When I Know I Won’t Come (1985-1989), with Jordi Hurtado and Virginia Mataix as moderators and an original structure that combined questions of general knowledge with tests of dexterity, speed and ingenuity. He combined it for a time with another television classic, El tiempo es oro (1987-1992), a competition presented by Constantino Romero.
In those same years he directed the 3×4 competition that launched Julia Otero’s career. He met her again on the interview show La luna, which tried to show the hidden face of her guests in a relaxed tone. On set, they marched from Paul McCartney to Alfonso Guerra, past Rosa Montero, Lola Flores and Espert himself.
And it was in 1997 when he took over Saber y Ganar that he met Jordi Hurtado again. Last year, to celebrate the quarter century of the La 2 competition, he ran this newspaper to thank the public who have supported the space for so long and tripled his channel’s average viewership to make it a TVE landmark survivable through many changes in government. Last October, the competition won the Ondas Award for Best Entertainment Program.
“TV pioneer, filmmaker, director and creator Sergi Schaaff has passed away. Professor and teacher of generations of RTVE Catalunya professionals”, has highlighted the territorial service of the public body on social networks.
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