chapter  L
’altra domenica
Pages 5

L’altra domenica (Another Side of Sunday) is regarded as a monument in Italian television history. Largely modelled on his popular radio program Alto gradimento (High Appreciation), in March 1976 Renzo Arbore invented a new format for weekend TV entertainment on the second RAI channel. By mixing classic Sunday afternoon football fever with other games and music, and using the telephone for the first time ever in live television events-people would ring from home with answers to a silly quiz-Arbore was able to create a interesting and bizarre climate of cultural mayhem. Roberto Benigni as a surrealistic cinematographic critic, Andy Luotto, the strange American cousin, the cartoons of Maurizio Nichetti, Isabella Rossellini on the phone live from the United States and the trans-gender musical group Sorelle Bandiera (The Flag Sisters), all became familiar acts in a crazy circus. A world away from the subdued programs on the RAI’s other channel, L’altra domenica represented a breath of fresh air for the intelligent and the curious so from 1976 to 1979, it attracted a devoted public who made it into something of a cult programme.