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Jacques Martin, the Sunday marathon runner


LES HABITS DU SUNDAY – For more than 20 years, “Dimanche Martin” has occupied the whole afternoon of the French with flagship programs such as “The school of fans” or “Incroyable, but true”.

To any emperor, all honor.

Sunday on television has long been reduced to one person: Jacques Martin.

In turn, singer, troubadour, columnist, scientist, the "Big Head" gave rhythm to the afternoon better than a Google calendar.

All “

under our applause


Filmed at the Théâtre de l'Empire, the broadcasts of the "Dimanche Martin" sequence, launched in 1977 first under the title of "Bon Dimanche", speak to the whole family and appear as a structuring element in homes like roast chicken mashed potatoes or mom's apple pie (at that time, dad had not yet been requisitioned in the kitchen).

We are in 1975. Jacques Martin settles for the first time at the controls of a Sunday broadcast.

Surrounded by a band of iconoclasts, he directs “Le Petit rapporteur” on TF1, an impertinent parody of a television news.

It is 1 p.m., France is twisting, power is panicking.

A year later, Antenne 2 offered him to be the king of Sundays.

From 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Martin alternates genres: incorrect ("La Lorgnette"), cultural ("Ces messieurs nous dire"), playful ("Le jeu de Kim"), historical ("Les voyageurs de l'histoire" with Alain Decaux), scientifico-funny (“Incredible but true”).

But in this variegated and moving set (the programs are renewed regularly), one will mark young and old: "The school of fans".

Read also“The school of fans”: old pot

The concept is simple: children perform songs by an artist in front of the artist in question, their parents, the public present in the mythical theater of the Empire and the millions of television viewers.

The other children give marks, often 10 out of 10. Normal: “

The children are wonderful.

The program will delight bloopers.

The rascals take it out on Martin or tell certain truths.

Future stars push the song, like Vanessa Paradis in 1981. One Sunday, it is the own son of the animator who imitates Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in front of Thierry Le Luron.

Around 4 p.m., nearly five million viewers gather to follow these adventures.

The market share of "Dimanche Martin" is racing: nearly 50% market share.

Splendors and miseries

Behind the smiles, the cheers and the wide open arms, Martin is suffering.

We know Souchon's words: "

You didn't see it like that bro / Slowly your life knocked you out


Martin imagined himself in turn as an opera singer, a recognized actor, a grating mountebank who dares.

Except that over the Sundays, he became a prisoner of his role: nice entertainer from 7 to 77 years old.

The TV cabinet dinosaur.


What at first is glory in the end is a burden

", warned Hugo in

The Legend of the Centuries


The years follow one another, TF1 rebels, Martin staggers.

His creativity declines.

Audiences too.

In 1998, rumors are rife.

France 2 could end the 21-year reign of the television emperor.


I am my age, I have my face, I have my belly but I always run my 6 km in the morning.

I support 170 people and a theater

, defends himself in

Le Figaro,

Jacques Martin.

What is being done against me today is similar to what fascism was in Italy: it is a dirty-mouthed offence.


In early March, the facilitator's contract was not renewed.

At the end of March, Martin suffered a severe stroke.

Jean-Claude Brialy replaces him at short notice.

On June 20, the actor closes the doors of the Théâtre de l'Empire.

In September, while Michel Drucker installed his red sofa in our Sundays, Martin, physically and morally weakened, broke the silence, still in

Le Figaro

, explaining that France 2 treated him "

like a dog


The animal is injured but in a final protrusion against his successor, he shows that he remains the emperor of the repartee.

Le Figaro-: Did Michel Drucker try to contact you?

Jacques Martin.

- Yes... He sent me a box of chocolates.

How nice.


Especially when you are diabetic...

Jacques Martin, who died in 2007 at the age of 74, was not an institution, he was a tradition.

Rarely has an animator embodied the family spirit so much, capable of talking to the 5-year-old child, the 40-year-old parents and the 75-year-old grandparents.

An ode to television as an object of collection and transmission.

Incredible but true.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-02-05

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