Five French TV shows that should be remade in English

French TV shows like Lupin and Call My Agent have become global hits in recent years, showcasing French talent to the world, but there are other shows which could easily be remade for an English-speaking audience.

Five French TV shows that should be remade in English
Hosts of the show Quotidien on TMC in 2019. Photo: CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP.

It’s something the French do all the time – take an English-language hit and remake it for a domestic audience. Reality TV shows and competitions lend themselves best to this with versions of everything from The Great British Bake Off to Survivor finding great success with French viewers.

READ ALSO Five reasons the Bake Off is better in France than Britain

But French channels have also come up with some great ideas of their own. And it’s time English-language executives started taking note. Here are our ideas for shows that could use an English remake.


Quotidien, which, as its name suggests, airs every weeknight on TMC except for during the holidays, is a satirical news show which is hugely popular, particularly among a young audience.

While it clearly draws inspiration from American infotainment shows like The Daily Show, there is nothing quite like Quotidien. That’s because it gives air time to real journalists, who report from the field, in France and beyond, often travelling to the United States to cover big stories like election campaigns.

It does still make fun of politicians and cover lighter subjects, but its longer air time – each episode is around an hour and a half – allows the team to present their own stories, even if the balance between humour and information isn’t always easy to get right. Overall, introducing the formula to English-speaking countries would make a welcome change from the tried-and-tested formula.

Below is a clip of Quotidien’s take on French hath minister Olivier Véran’s demi-shirtless vaccine photoshoot.

21 cm

This is another show which has travelled to America in the past. In every episode of 21 cm on pay TV channel Canal+, literary critic Augustin Trapenard interviews a different author. It’s named after the average size of a published novel.

READ ALSO How French TV is going global thanks to streaming

The show has featured French authors like Virginie Despentes and Edouard Louis, and Americans including James Ellroy and Bret Easton Ellis. Each time, Trapenard takes the writer to different places which have played an important role in their life and work, before interviewing them in his Paris apartment and having them select a book from his personal bookshelves to take home. It’s like you as the viewer are there with them at a relaxed dinner party.

It’s a perfect illustration of how seriously culture is taken in France, and more countries could do with dedicating that kind of space to literature.

Here, Trapenard interviews Sylvain Tesson while trekking through the snow.

Chasseurs d’appart

The French may be famous for embracing nudity on film, but there is one type of porn most countries agree on: property porn.

While Netflix recently tried to emulate the drama-fueled success of Selling Sunset with the French show The Parisian Agency: Exclusive Properties, French channels have already come up with their own, original concepts which could easily be replicated.

Chasseurs d’appart (Apartment hunters) takes the idea behind shows like House Hunters and Location, Location, Location – ordinary people seeking help to find their dream home – and adds its own twist. In each episode, three different estate agents show the same person or couple one house each, and the buyers must choose their favourite. Each week showcases a different city, with the agents competing over the course of the week to find homes for five different buyers, with an episode airing every night.

They fact the agents only have one attempt each raises the stakes, and who doesn’t love a bit of competition?

Nus et culottés

This France 5 show is very low budget, or “charmingly rustic”, if you will, meaning it’d be incredibly easy to remake. The name means “Naked and daring”.

It follows two friends, Nans and Mouts, who begin each episode naked, with no money, and only a few discreet cameras to film their adventures themselves. Every episode they have a different objective, which involves travelling to a different part of France, or beyond, and achieving a goal, like drinking tea with a Lord in England.

Throughout, they rely on the kindness of strangers to give them food, a place to sleep, and a way to get to their end point. With no big camera crew following them, it’s easy to understand why people would be afraid, but watching the show will restore your faith in the fundamental goodness of people.

Their overseas episodes have already shown that it’s not just French people who are willing to give a helping hand to strangers in need, but maybe that’s down to the pair’s Gallic charm. There’s only one way to find out.

Here Nans and Mouts are trying to get someone to give them a ride without saying a word.

Call My Agent

Okay, we couldn’t resist. Most of the TV shows on this list are factual, because English-speaking audiences have shown in recent years that they are willing and even excited to discover fictional French series in the original language, meaning there is no need to remake shows that are already popular.

REVEALED: The French in-jokes from TV series Call My Agent

But Call My Agent (Dix pour cent for those who watched it in France) has enormous potential for spin-offs and remakes in other countries. In fact, a British remake is already in the works.

For anybody who has somehow managed to avoid the hype, the comedy-drama series, which is available on Netflix, follows a group of agents in a Paris talent agency who manage a wide variety of famous actors. The actors appear as themselves, and not always in the most flattering light.

Just imagine the possibilities of a similar show set in Hollywood (although it looks like the original series could beat them to it).

The BBC show Episodes has already shown that it’s possible to make good TV when global superstars – in that case Matt LeBlanc – are willing to appear foolish by playing satirised versions of themselves.

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Festivals and events: What’s on around France in autumn 2023

Summer might be over, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do in France - here's our pick of the festivals and events around the country in September, October and November.

Festivals and events: What’s on around France in autumn 2023

Even though the summer holidays (and the fun festivals that came with them) are over, there are still plenty of events to attract visitors before those Christmas markets start opening in November. 

Festival du Film Britannique – September 27th to October 1st

Also known as the British Film Festival of Dinard, the festival takes place at arguably one of the most British of French seaside resorts. 

The six films in competition this year include Girl – about a mother-daughter duo who move back to Glasgow; Scrapper, about a child who loses her mother and unexpectedly is introduced to someone who calls himself her father; Silent Roar, about a teenager whose father goes missing at sea; Silver Haze, about a young nurse who finds herself falling in love with one of her patients; The Effects of Lying, a dark comedy exploring a family’s secrets; and The Trouble with Jessica, about a series of unfortunate events following one couple’s attempts to rid themselves of their financial troubles.

For more information click here

Atlantique Jazz Festival – October 6th to 22nd

Located in Brest, France’s westernmost city, one of Brittany’s favourite jazz festivals will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.

With several concerts on the docket, featuring the likes of Five 38 + Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, jazz fans are sure to enjoy music, workshops, and even a conference focused on female jazz composers. 

More information here.

The Fête des Vendanges – October 11th to 15th

Also known as the Montmartre grape harvest festival – the fête des vendages de Montmartre is an annual celebration to commemorate the harvesting of grapes from the Clos Montmartre – an urban vineyard located on the slopes of the Montmartre hills in Paris’ 18th arrondisement.

This is one of Paris’ most popular public events, and it involves five days of gastronomy, wine tasting, and grape picking.

Fête du Piment – October 28th to October 29th

Are you a fan of spicy food or chilli peppers? If so, this festival is the one for you. Though it takes place in France’s Basque country, as the picturesque town of Espelette celebrates the pepper that has made it world famous. For more information click here.

Lumière film festival – October 14th to 22nd

Not to be confused with the Fête des Lumières, which also takes place in Lyon (but in December), the Lumière Film Festival is an annual film festival held each October in the French city of Lyon. The festival is named in honour of the Lumière Brothers, who are credited with inventing cinema in 1895.

Salon du chocolat – October 28th to November 1st

You love Paris. You love chocolate. Then you need to be in Paris at the end of October for its annual chocolate fair – when over 150,000 chocolatiers, pastry chefs, confectioners and professionals from the chocolate industry, as well as producing countries, great chefs, designers and cocoa experts get together show off their skills and knowledge. It takes place at the Parc Expo at the Porte de Versailes. For more information, click here.

Armistice Day parades – November 11th

November 11th is a public holiday across much of the western world, recognising the end of World War I. In France, it is the day where towns and cities host parades and wreaths are laid at the war memorials. Virtually every commune in France has a war memorial listing the men from the local area who died for their country (mort pour le patrie).

In Paris, the French president lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe.

Dijon International Gastronomy Fair – October 31st to November 11th

Each year, the International Gastronomy fair draws a crowd of over 200,000 people to Dijon, the heart of Burgundy. It features hundreds of booths from both amateur and professional chefs, with plenty of dishes to try for free. The event also includes cooking demonstrations, so you can learn delicious recipes from around the world.

Normal priced tickets are just €6.50, more information here.

Beaujolais Nouveau Day – Thursday, November 16th

Who cares if it’s nothing more than a clever marketing ploy – the third Thursday of every November is a celebration for wine lovers, as the year’s Beaujolais Nouveau is released in a party atmosphere from Beaujeu to Lyon via Villefranche-Sur-Saône… Find out more about the ‘Beaujolais Nouveau’ here.

What about Halloween?

Unfortunately, Halloween is not very widely celebrated in France, but it has become more common in recent years. Around the end of October, you will notice supermarkets selling candy and other festive items, but trick-or-treating is not the norm.

If you are looking for an official, organised event, you might consider going to the “Disney Halloween Festival.” During the festivities, the ‘villains’ take over the park, which is fully decorated for Halloween. When you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by smiling scarecrows with pumpkins on their heads, lanterns lighting up the park, and characters in ‘scary’ (kid-friendly) costumes.

During the actual Halloween weekend, the park hosts dedicated soirées. Tickets can be expensive, usually going for more than €70 a person.

Another option, particularly if you have older kids looking for a scarier Halloween, might be Parc Asterix. Each year, usually for the entirety of the month of October, the park is decked out in autumn colours with pumpkins, corn, and even straw bales. If you want to take younger children, you can go to the ‘Petit frisson’ (small scare) section.