Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Maigret

I first came across Georges Simenon's Chief Inspector (or Commissaire/Commissioner to be absolutely correct) Jules Maigret of the French Direction RĂ©gionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris (better known by its abbreviation, the PJ) in my youth. Watching the BBC's TV series – which starred Rupert Davies as Maigret – was something we did as a family, and I enjoyed the way in which the stories evolved during their telling. (I subsequently discovered that Simenon often had no idea as to how a plot would unfold when he sat down to write them, and just let the plots develop as he wrote.)


The next actor to depict Maigret on British television was Michael Gambon. The production values were excellent, and I remember one reviewer stating that you could almost smell the garlic and sweat when you watched the programmes.


Last night I watched the latest incarnation of Chief Inspector Maigret to hit the small screen ... Rowan Atkinson!

Now I have always enjoyed watching Rowan Atkinson's work, and know that he is an extremely capable actor whose range is much greater than just being Mr Bean or Blackadder ... but I had doubts about whether or not he could portray Maigret.

I was wrong to have doubts.


Rupert Davies's Maigret always struck me as being a down-to-earth, jovial policeman, whilst Michael Gambon's portrayal was quiet, thoughtful and yet avuncular. Rowan Atkinson's Maigret is a much more introverted, yet caring man, who is at the same time a consummate detective with the ability to make tough decisions when the time requires it. Last night's programme – which was a dramatised version of Simenon's MAIGRET SETS A TRAP – was excellent, and I was pleased to read that at least one further programme has been made and will be transmitted later this year. It is something that I will look forward to watching.

16 comments:

  1. Going to watch it on catch up TV , but the trailers looked good , Tony

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    1. A.W, Kitchen (Tony),

      Give it a go; the story has some interesting twists to it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. I too had doubts but it was rather well done. I still prefer the books though. And the BBC radio adaptations.

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    1. Tim Gow,

      I enjoyed Rowan Atkinson's portrayal of Jules Maigret; he came over as a decent, hard-working, and very experienced detective.

      The books are well worth reading, and the radio versions I heard were excellent.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Agree with the post, it definitely has its own flavour - it will be interesting to see the second case later in the year and hopefully firm up a good start and perhaps spawn further episodes.

    Is his Freudian insight a regular aspect of the character or was it just episode related to this particular story line?

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    1. Norm,

      I have great hopes that this will be the first of several (rather than just two) programmes. I like the atmosphere, which reminds me of Paris when I visited it in my teens.

      The Freudian insight is - I think - a one-off, but one thing about Maigret is his ability to understand what makes people 'tick'.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I was too young to see this but now you recommend it I will look into Maigret. I wonder if the shows are on YouTube?

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    1. Stephen Briddon,

      I have just checked, and all the Michael Gambon 'Maigret' programmes are on YouTube, as are some of the Rupert Davies's episodes.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Have got the Atkinson on the planner to watch later. I too remember the Maigret of Rupert Davies, with the iconic music and match-striking opening. The Gambon episodes are on one of the channels at the moment, I watched one at lunchtime. Didn't like Richard Harris in the part.

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    1. Joppy,

      I hope that you enjoy Rowan Atkinson's interpretation of the role. I didn't realise that they were re-showing the Gambon programmes at present; I will look out for them on the schedules.

      Richard Harris as Maigret! I'm glad that I haven't seen it!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. I have never seen or read any of the Maigret stories, but I do enjoy some good old-fashioned detective fiction. I'm nearing the end of the Poirot series starring David Suchet. Growing up I loved shows like Colombo.

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    1. Fitz-Badger,

      There are a lot of Maigret stories out there for you to read as Georges Simenon was a very prolific writer! I'd certainly recommend that you give him a go if you enjoy Poirot and Colombo stories.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I've never read Simenon, though I inherited a compete set last year. Atkinson is a fine actor, but I think I might try to read him first.

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    3. Conrad Kinch,

      I don't think that you will be disappointed with the Maigret stories. They aren't all about high profile crimes; in fact some of the stories deal with what are almost non-crimes.

      Read and enjoy,

      Bob

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  7. Has anyone in the US heard of or seen this series/read any opf the the books? Doubtless some have but definitely an unknown to me until... now!

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  8. Gonsalvo,

    I am surprised that this series of books and TV programmes are not wider known. I would certainly recommend trying one or two as you might well enjoy them.

    All the best,

    Bob

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