The Herald (Harare) THE television soap, Estate Blues was given a lifeline when TN Asset Management unveiled a $5 billion sponsorship at a ceremony held in Harare yesterday. The sponsorship is for the period between June 1 to December 31 this year and is subject to review depending on performance and social or economic variables. The soap that came on air in December last year had until yesterday doddered along without any sponsorship. Speaking before the hand-over of a cheque valued at $5,4 billion, Obert Gutu, who is the Unlimited Media Company chairman, said that the soap had been running on the "grace of God" and expressed his greatest hopes that with the sponsorship, a world class product would be created. A spokesman for TN Asset Management said his organisation had seen it fit to support Estate Blues because it deals with issues of wealth and the tension that come with it. "We were pleased with the characters and the quality of the soap. If it was not for these, we would not have been involved," he said. Admire Maramba, the producer of the soap explained how Estate Blues started with no funding and operated on a very thin budget. "We were excited after shooting the first 13 episodes which we presented to Zimbabwe Television. But then after the screening of the first episode, our excitement was dampened by the poor sound," he said adding that they were asked to redo the whole 13 episodes again. He also spoke about the dedication put in by the cast who did not mind travelling on an open truck from one shooting site to the next even after having acquired some popularity. "But our biggest concern was the media that dragged us down when we needed them most," he mourned. Estate Blues is the second local television soap after Studio 263.