Chez les Dupré
Chez les Dupré is a French-language ITV schools TV series from the 1960s, covering French Language for primary and secondary school pupils.
The domestic adventures of a Doctor and his family living in a small French town were the subject of the first French-language drama series on British television, designed for pupils in their second year of learning the language in need of a new stimulus.
Docteur and Madame Dupré live with their daughter Nicole, who is in her final years of school, and their 20-year-old nephew François who is also a student. Madame Dupré's father - Nicole & François' grand-père - also pays frequent visits and other residents of the town, especially the friendly postman, also make frequent appearances.
The series was warmly welcomed by French teachers and by all accounts very successful. Its appeal was in providing viewers the experience of hearing real, idiomatic French spoken (quite slowly) in perfect accents by French actors, matched with pictures to help pick up vocabulary so that, for example, when grand-père first comes to vist and Mme Dupré bids him to "mets-toi dans ce fauteuil" viewers see him sitting down in an armchair and understand the new vocabulary. The dialogue was constructed so that there was plenty of repetition of words and phrases, within each episode and from episode to episode, to reinforce vocabulary.
Several of the first term's programmes included French songs such as Auprès de Ma Blonde and Le Joli Tambour alongside the drama, but these were not judged to be a success and were not continued in subsequent terms.
When Chez les Dupré returned for a second year in 1961-2 it was without Marie France as Nicole Dupré. The TV Times chivalrously explained that "pretty daughter Nicole (Marie France) has, alas, gone to England to study English. But, as a compensation, M. Arnaux, the bookseller, has a beautiful daughter himself. Danielle is her name and she is played by Bettine Le Beau." The Duprés also moved house in the first of the autumn term 1961 programmes and there were some changes to the production personnel.
The first programme in the spring term 1962 involved Dr and Mme Dupré getting out their holiday snapshots and talking about all of the places that they had visited. The entire term's programmes then featured various different excuses to show documentary-style films about different areas of France. One of the episodes (La Tournée du Facteur) was originally produced for the schools TV service of the RTF in France, but with a commentary specially adapted, by the French producers, for a British audience.
This documentary approach had already been attempted in the programme's first year, as the episode Souvenirs de Vacances included film sequences of the Dordogne valley as François recounts his holiday there.
Before Chez les Dupré all of ITV's schools broadcasts had been at least 25 minutes long, but this series for relative beginners in French was cut down to 12 minutes a week to make it easily digestible for children and the "starting-point for a great deal of conversational French in the classroom" in the rest of the school lesson.
The Chez les Dupré schools programmes were also shown, unchanged, in peak hours on ITV (in the London region only) for general adult viewers hoping to improve their French skills.
Beginning on 29th December 1960 nine of the episodes from the autumn term 1960 - excluding the Christmas episode Veille de Noël and with some episodes shown in a different order - were screened on Thursday evening at 6:45pm by Associated-Rediffusion. The programme proved popular with viewers and 45,000 copies of the accompanying booklet were sold.
Associated-Rediffusion extended the evening run with a "second series" following immediately in the Thursday evening slot from 2nd March 1961 onwards, consisiting of all 8 episodes from the spring term 1961 schools run and the first 4 episodes from the summer term. In fact those four summer term episodes were broadcast in the evenings in the same week as their initial schools transmission. The same episodes were broadcast at 3:08pm on Thursday afternoons for schoolchildren, and then again at 6:45pm in the evening for adults. The evening broadcasts did not continue when the schools broadcasts took a two-week break for the Whitsun holidays and ITV's horse racing coverage, and so the evening run concluded after 21 episodes.
It is perhaps notable that when the first 23 episodes of the series were screened by the ABC in Australia the following year they were similarly shown for both schools and general audiences: in Victoria at least the programmes were shown on Fridays at 2:50pm for schools starting on 16th March 1962, and then on Sundays at 2:15pm for adults starting on 27th May 1962.
|1.||Le Petit Déjeuner||20 Sep 1960|
|2.||La Visite de Grand-Père||27 Sep 1960|
|3.||Le Gros Lot||4 Oct 1960|
|4.||Le Pique-Nique||11 Oct 1960|
|5.||Le Malade||18 Oct 1960|
|6.||On Fait les Emplettes||1 Nov 1960|
|7.||Au Garage||15 Nov 1960|
|8.||Le Départ de Grand-Père||22 Nov 1960|
|9.||On Va au Théatre||29 Nov 1960|
|10.||Veille de Noël||6 Dec 1960|
|11.||La Visite-Surprise (1961)||17 Jan 1961|
|12.||La Consultation||24 Jan 1961|
|13.||La Petite Voiture||31 Jan 1961|
|14.||La Fausse Alerte||7 Feb 1961|
|15.||Souvenirs de Vacances||21 Feb 1961|
|16.||La Fête de François||7 Mar 1961|
|17.||Le Chat et le Canari||14 Mar 1961|
|18.||L'Anniversaire de Mariage||21 Mar 1961|
|19.||Dimanche - Jour de Repos||25 Apr 1961|
|20.||Le Plombier||2 May 1961|
|21.||On Fait du Camping||9 May 1961|
|22.||Le Quatorze Juillet||16 May 1961|
|23.||On Fait la Cuisine||6 Jun 1961|
|24.||Le Camelot||13 Jun 1961|
|25.||Le Demenagement||21 Sep 1961|
|26.||Chez le Libraire||28 Sep 1961|
|27.||L'Arrivée de Grand-Père||5 Oct 1961|
|28.||Le Petit Chien||12 Oct 1961|
|29.||Grand-Père Fait le Ménage||19 Oct 1961|
|30.||L'Accident||26 Oct 1961|
|31.||Madame Dupré a des Soucis||9 Nov 1961|
|32.||La Mère Martin||16 Nov 1961|
|33.||Le Disque de Grand-Père||23 Nov 1961|
|34.||Une Réunion d'Enfants||30 Nov 1961|
|35.||L'Album de Vacances||18 Jan 1962|
|36.||Le Merveilleuse Histoire de Paris||25 Jan 1962|
|37.||La Provence à Vol d'Oiseau||1 Feb 1962|
|38.||Excursion en Bretagne||8 Feb 1962|
|39.||Une Soirée Manquée||15 Feb 1962|
|40.||La Tournée du Facteur||22 Feb 1962|
|41.||Avec les Animaux du Zoo||8 Mar 1962|
|42.||Au Bord du Rhin - L'Alsace||15 Mar 1962|
|43.||Dans les Montagnes de Savoie||22 Mar 1962|
|44.||Portrait de la France||29 Mar 1962|
|45.||Madame va au Thêatre||3 May 1962|
|46.||Le Docteur est Malade||10 May 1962|
|47.||La Visite-Surprise (1962)||17 May 1962|
|48.||La Peintre||24 May 1962|
|49.||La Grippe||31 May 1962|
|50.||Dèpart en Vacances||21 Jun 1962|
There were two episodes called La Visite-Surprise, and they had similar storylines - possibly the same basic script - but the details were different. In the 1961 version of the episode, Nicole and Madame Dupré are planning a day out in Paris when Grand-père arrives for a surprise visit and they have to stay at home until he leaves. In the 1962 version (when Nicole no longer appeared in the series) Madame Dupré insists that François should accompany her to an annual charity sale. Grand-père again arrives for a surprise visit and they have to stay at home until he leaves - seeming to get François off the hook.
|Starring||John Serret as le Docteur Pierre Dupré|
Elma Soiron as Madame Yvonne Dupré
|Written by||Gerald Lester|
|Script editor||Martin Worth|
|Language consultant||Robert Ferrieux|
|Education consultant||John Mackay|
There was a booklet of teacher's notes available to accompany each term's broadcasts, with descriptions of each episode in French, vocabulary lists and suggestions for follow-up exercises. In fact for the spring term 1962 there were two separate booklets covering programmes 1-6 and 7-10, presumably because information about the final four episodes was not available in time for the first booklet's publication.
Separate booklets, with largely the same content, were published to accompany the evening transmissions of the series for adults.
Full scripts of the episodes were also available for sale to schools, which they could put to use if pupils were asked to re-enact scenes from the episodes.
The Linguaphone Institute also issued a learning package based on Chez les Dupré, "the popular Associated Rediffusion French Language Television series". This comprised a set of records with the soundtrack of the television programmes - I believe it is the actual TV soundtrack as it includes snippets of the theme tune when the episode title is announced, and the text has not been edited at all to remove references to pictures shown on TV such as "regardez notre mairie". There was also a booklet containing the complete scripts of the episodes and a complete translation of these scripts into English to help independent home learners who would not have the aid of a teacher - the English translations were never made available to schools.
There were at least two different editions of the Linguaphone pack. One, offered in Great Britain, included three 7-inch records with the soundtrack to six of the episodes. Another, offered in Australia, included five 12-inch records with the soundtrack to 20 of the TV episodes.
- 1960-61 (autumn, spring & summer): Tuesdays 3:08pm, repeated Thursdays 3:08pm (all ITV regions except Granada)
- 1961-62 (autumn, spring & summer): Thursdays 2:35pm, repeated Fridays 3:30pm (all ITV regions)
Sources & References
- ABC (1961) Chez les Dupré French by Television. (Australia): Australian Broadcasting Commission
- Adorian, Paul (1962) 'Television in Schools' in Journal of the Royal Society of Arts vol.CX no.5067 February 1962 pp.174-191
- A-R (1960) Independent Television Programmes for Schools 1960-61. London: Associated-Rediffusion. p.15
- A-R (1961a) Associated-Rediffusion Programmes for Schools 1961/62. London: Associated-Rediffusion. p.16
- A-R (1961b) School Report: The First Four Years. London: Associated-Rediffusion
- A-R (1961c) Chez les Dupré French By Television. London: Associated-Rediffusion (evening broadcasts series 1 booklet)
- A-R (1961d) Chez les Dupré (Elementary French) Independent Television Programmes for Schools Spring Term 1961. London: Associated-Rediffusion
- A-R (1961e) Chez les Dupré (Elementary French) Independent Television Programmes for Schools Summer Term 1961. London: Associated-Rediffusion
- A-R (1962a) Chez les Dupré (Elementary French) Independent Television Programmes for Schools Spring Term 1962 Weeks 1-7. London: Associated-Rediffusion
- A-R (1962b) Chez les Dupré (Elementary French) Independent Television Programmes for Schools Summer Term 1962. London: Associated-Rediffusion
- The County Secondary School, West Ewell (1962) 'School Television Reviews: Chez les Dupré (A.R.)' in Visual Education, March 1962 p.29
- Linguaphone (1961) Chez les Dupré. London: Linguaphone Institute
- Times (1960) 'French lessons on television' in The Times 21st September 1960
- TV Times London edition TV listings (1960-62) via TV Times Project database
- TV Times Midland edition TV listings (1961-62)
- TV Times Northern edition TV listings (1961-62)
- A-R (1961b) pp.32-3 explains that "comments sent on by teachers were on the whole extremely enthusiastic and encouraging and showed that the programme was of value and enjoyed by pupils at many different stages of study." The report is generally frank and acknowledges where other programmes were not successful, it does not just present a positive picture of all A-R's productions.
- Adorian (1962) p.183 explains the three basic principles behind the series, briefly 1. authentic French "with perfect accent"; 2. "careful matching of pictures with words"; 3. "constant repetition of words and phrases".
- A-R (1961b) p.34 reported that "it was generally felt by both (teachers) and producers that the songs introduced into three of the Autumn Term programmes were not a success."
- "Pretty daughter Nicole..." quote from TV Times (Midland edition) no 307 (Sept 17 - Sept 23 1961) p.12, in an article entitled 'ITV Starts a Great New Term'.
- Times (1960), covering an Associated-Rediffusion press conference, quoted "starting-point for a great deal of conversational French in the classroom," presumably from Enid Love, A-R's Head of Schools Programmes.
- A-R (1961b) p.36 reports that "in the London area alone 45,000 viewers purchased the handbook which was published to accompany the series."
- The evening transmissions after 2nd March 1961 are described as "the second series" of evening transmissions in A-R (1961b) p.108.
- I have a copy of the ABC (Australia) teacher's notes for Chez les Dupré which have been annotated with broadcast dates and times by a person living in Toorak, Victoria (and therefore receiving ABC Channel 2 on ABV, Melbourne).
Some random programmes for age 9-11 from the 1960s
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