FIGARO LIVE – The ex-Big Heads host is releasing a book called LThe little world of Don Bouvardo, published by the Archipelago. As a guest of “Buzz TV”, he takes the opportunity to tell the hottest anecdotes that have shaped his professional life.
TV MAGAZINE. – Your career as a journalist began 86 years ago. Would you have liked to have started your professional life today?
Philip Bouvard. – I don’t want to be a journalist today because I feel that my dearly written press is terribly threatened. Audiovisual media will survive, even if amateurs take up more space than professionals. I also admit that I don’t want to develop further in another professional universe. Everything has become more difficult, less cheerful and less pleasant. We pay more taxes, we are less free because we have multiplied the bans. I think I was born in the good old days and I would die in a much less fun time.
In your book you narrate this scene in which the actor Michel Simon arrives at the director’s office of the Antoine Theater in Paris and demands a reward before going on stage. Does this behavior shock you?
No, not at all, as I have a fairly permissive spirit, if not demeanor. It is true that these are stories that could not happen again because it is against union standards and morals are narrower in certain circles. I’ve had the privilege of living long enough in an age when anything goes, in good spirits and with a minimum of wickedness. Another quality that I took advantage of and without which I might not be your guest 70 years later: that time was both rich and friendly, and everyone took pride in helping young people.
This happened when you arrived Figaro…
I came to the photo department as an errand boy. I had been given a bike to carry some folds and a large raincoat that was too big and too long for me to hide the liquor bottles. I had to take them back to the photographers so they could drink while chatting, which was forbidden because drinking was forbidden. Le figaro, it was almost the Official Gazette! When I quickly became an editor’s apprentice and announced myself as Philippe Bouvard from the FigaroI had the impression of belonging to a very old nobility.
“I’ve never heard Les Grosses Têtes by Laurent Ruquier”
Philippe Bouvard, guest on Buzz TV.
You were kicked out of Big Heads in 2000 for turning 70. Did this hunt for old people appeal to you?
Retiring at that age was normal. After that I get bored when I’m not working. Retirement scares me. So I found refuge at a rival station, but it only lasted three months.
You refer to your appearance in the show “On va s’gêner” presented by Laurent Ruquier on Europe 1. What memories do you have of this collaboration?
Let’s not talk about it anymore. It is a very small and not very rewarding part of my course when I was living joyfully. In this case, the new head of RTL came to my house on the first day of his appointment. I was playing poker with some friends and he asked me to come back. I finally agreed because I loved my show and RTL. And I presented “Les Grosses Têtes” for another 14 years. The channel renewed me this year for the 55th year in a row. I have a very small column on Sunday mornings.
Are you listening to “Les Grosses Têtes” today?
I never listened to her. Listening to them, there are two hypotheses: either it’s better than what I did, which will annoy me. Or it’s worse and I would be very sad.
At the age of 93, what still motivates you to work?
It’s my only way to exist. I have to tell you that I don’t do any sports. I have never attended a soccer game in my life. I have few connections today because my old friends are all gone. I can no longer read because my eyesight has deteriorated. I’m listening to everything I can, including the radio, but I’m losing a few words.
What is the bossEwere you closest
Out of necessity it was René Coty, the last President of the Fourth Republic. In the thirteenth round he had the majority and found himself President of the Republic. Then he felt that he still had to warn his wife. But she never answers the phone… The youngest of the journalists, me, had to go and warn her. So I went to the Quai aux Fleurs, where he lived at the time. A nice, slightly graying lady in a white apron opens the door for me and I bring her this great news. She answered me”Oh good…“. I then asked her what she would do if the newly elected president came back. She replied that she would bake him a cake. After that I had very good relations with Nicolas Sarkozy, which I still have.
“I’m not curious about Emmanuel Macron”
Philippe Bouvard, guest on Buzz TV.
On the other hand, you never wanted to meet Emmanuel Macron. Why?
He doesn’t need me and I don’t need him either. I’m not curious about him. I realize from my experience that he is an atypical president because he is still very young. He has a very smooth face and no stomach either. In politics, this has awakened the confidence of voters.
Do you have a dream that you haven’t fulfilled yet?
No, because I’m a sensible boy. I had everything I wanted. I want to make a living from always being able to speak a little, because I was born speaking. Nevertheless, fortunately, it is necessary to retain some vices. Otherwise we have no reason to live. I’m a gamer and thought chance could bring me more. I was wrong… I continue to play poker at the casino in Cannes and go there almost every night. I am ashamed! I have to be very careful because everything is done to make the casino win. Unlike other players, he has no other sources of income.
Does death scare you?
We’ve wrapped a small package around this fatal outcome that’s mostly based on religion. Now I’m an atheist, agnostic and even anticleric. This denial is based on a very simple observation: Since the creation of the world, approximately 100 billion people have died and there has only been one resurrection. To believe, we need more solid arguments!