I was searching for something else on All4 when I came across 'Walter Presents, The Announcer' recognising Gregory Fitoussi in the photo I realised this was the sub-titled version of 'Speakerine'. I clicked to download wondering how I'd missed it in the schedules. Although all episodes are available it will not screen on E4 till November 27th, 2020. I only meant to watch one episode but ended up watching all six.
This drama is set in 1962 and the central character is Christine Beauval (played by Marie Gillian). Christine works for a TV company, RTF, as an announcer between programmes. Back then the announcer delivered the programming details directly to camera and was seen on TV. Christine is a celebrity in France, she is also a working mother, which was usual in the 60s, and at 42 she's looking to move on her career by producing her own programme. She has sent the pitch for 'Portraits de Femmes' to the studio's director. Her husband Pierre works for the government under the direction of the Minister of Information, Eric Jauffret, who is also a close family friend. Pierre is to head the launch of a TV link between France and the USA, General de Gaul has personally selected him for this role. This news does not please the studio director who feels unsettled by the Beauval's growing influence.
Christine's children have problems of their own. Her son, Jean-Claude, has lost two friends in the war in Algeria of Independence and is trying to find out what happened to them. Her daughter Collette has been doing working experience in Eric's office and they have become romantically involved.
The programme has been tagged as 'Mad Men mixed with Agatha Christie'; yes, it is set in the 1960s and yes there is a murder, but this drama is more than that. There are the underlying politics of the period; international, business and personal. I was surprised that the French government had such an influence on TV output. Being a child of the 60s I was less surprised at the racism and sexism depicted in the programme.
Of the cast Gregory Fitoussi is probably the one most UK viewers will recognise. His previous British TV appearances include; BBC's Spiral (a French production), Spin (an earlier Walter Presents series), Mr Selfridge (an ITV production) and Beecham House (also an ITV production).
Marie Gillian received a nomination for Best Actress in this role at the Globes de Cristal Awards.