Most people remember vividly where they were when some momentous event occurred, such as the day John Kennedy was assassinated or when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Like them, I remember exactly where I was when Enzo Tortora was arrested. It was June 17, 1983, and I was in Ravenna, visiting the city for the first time, when the news broke that one of Italy's most popular television presenters had been taken into custody at 4 o'clock that morning. He was accused by the prosecutor's office of Naples of pushing drugs and of associating with the Nuova Camorra Organizzata, the mafia-style organisation based in Campania.
At the time, Tortora presented a groundbreaking transmission called Portobello, which attracted an audience of up to 26 million people every Friday night, far outstripping any other programme. Created in 1978, it was the forerunner of today's reality television. Named after the famous market in London, the show allowed the public, via telephone from home, to buy or sell things, present ideas or inventions, or look for a partner or someone they had not seen for years. The challenge for those participating in the studio was to get Portobello, the green parrot and mascot of the show, to say his name. He rarely did.