French “Sacre Bleu” Coup for SoHo

A controversial costume drama that goes to air this week in France will premiere on SoHo in January.

Set 350 years ago, in the court of Louis XIV, the 10-part Versailles is named after the spectacular palace he commissioned.

“As Louis evolves, his transformation takes him from young King to absolute Monarch, a 17th century rock star with the mind of Machiavelli,” proclaims the publicity.

“A calculating predator, Louis is determined to drag France out of the dark ages, and transform her into the supreme global power.”

The series, which stars Vikings’ George Blagden, courted controversy from the outset in France because the producers have “bowed before the inescapable domination of English as the global language of international entertainment”.

The most expensive series in French history not only has an English language soundtrack but also a British lead, a predominantly British or Canadian cast, and British writers (Helen Mirren’s nephew, Simon, and Spooks scribe David Wolstencroft).

The decision to anglicise this quintessentially French story was made to boost its international sales prospects in a golden age of TV drama worldwide.

That’s why a premium drama channel like Sky’s has picked it up for broadcast here; had Versailles being subtitled, chances are it would have gone the way of Rialto, Arts or Lightbox (which is securing more Euro drama).

While French critics have accused the producers of “dumbing down” their culture, shooting in English helped to raise the 30 million euros budget.

Variety reports season one has been acquired by dozen of channels worldwide, including BBC2, and has notched up sales “two to three times higher” than The Returned, leading to a second series being greenlit ahead of the drama’s premiere.

SoHo will air Versailles 8.30 Sundays from January 3.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply