Sunday, 10 January 2016

Life as we know it has changed

Emoticon from Julien's tweet
It is true, life as we know it has changed or to be more precise will change on 20th February.  We found out on Friday. To be fair, we should have suspected something when we received an invitation mid-December to go to Paris in January [Venez assister et découvrir le nouveau plateau en janvier de "Questions pour un Champion"] but we didn’t, we spotted it on the back page of Friday’s edtition of the Journal de Saône-et-Loire.

So what is this dreadful thing? I hear you ask; well, the man who taught us to understand French has been sacked. After 28 years, he has not been given a golden handshake, just told not to come back tomorrow. Some would say, that sounds familiar and welcome to the real world, but this is France, the country of workers’ rights, however, it seems that they can also be very vicious to those who don’t conform.

Me posing with the real contestants
I couldn’t really believe it was true, so I found our daily companion Julien Lepers’ Twitter account and it was confirmed there.

« Grande tristesse de devoir quitter cette émission sans avoir pu saluer les équipes, le public et les téléspectateurs. »

“Great sadness to have to leave this show without being able to say goodbye to the team and the viewers.”

Meeting the man himself
Since then I have found an article in the Huffington Post, written by Julien, in which he gives what would have been his farewell speech had he been allowed to give one. It starts with “I leave Question Pour un Champion against my wishes and with my heart broken.” And then goes on to give a very moving farewell to his team and some good insights into the success of the programme that the new presenter and France TV would do well to read and understand. He finishes this short article by giving homage to his audience. “The viewers that have followed me for a long time are a part of my life. That will continue, with them, and I thank them for that.”

Everyone laughs at us when we tell them not to ring between 6 and half past each evening as we are watching Julien, but it has been our daily routine now for about ten years and he has helped us so much with learning French in a fun way. From 20th February, that will be over.

So that’s it - the end of an era. I for one will miss him.

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