Le Café des Rêves
Le Café des Rêves is a French-language BBC schools TV series from the 1990s and 2000s, covering French Language for secondary school pupils.
A drama serial produced almost entirely in French about a group of French teenagers, their lives and interests, and some mysteries and criminality they get caught up in whilst trying to improve a run-down café.
The series was set and recorded in Lille and covered a range of "contemporary issues" for teenagers alongside its thriller plot. It was written by the novelist Nigel Hinton, in English. The teacher's notes reveal that Hinton was married to a French woman, and it was his brother-in-law, English teacher Richard Lager, who translated the script into French.
Le Café des Rêves replaced the BBC's French-language serial La Marée et ses Secrets of almost a decade earlier (although La Marée proved popular enough for further repeats after Le Café was launched), and shared some of its creative team and concepts with a realistic setting and simple language giving way to thriller overtones. Nigel Hinton returned to script the BBC's follow-up French language serial Clémentine, which did away with the criminal storyline to focus on teenage life.
Le Café des Rêves TV series could be used as part of the third year study in the five-year long French language course for schools called Étoiles, run by the BBC in conjunction with the publisher Longman. Like its compatriots in the Étoiles course, Ici Paris and Jeunes Francophones, each episode begins with the Étoiles logo.
French teenager Serge looks after the family café with his grandmother. When his grandmother is mugged and knocked into a coma, Serge and his friends band together to not just keep running the quiet café, but to refurbish and revitalise it as a destination for teenagers, renaming it Le Café des Rêves ('the café of dreams').
Serge's friends have issues of their own. Aspiring rapper Marco is putting on a concert to impress a record company. Nathalie and Serge both fancy each other but neither will say so. Isabelle's mother does not approve of her relationship with Djamal, who is of Arab descent, and Djamal himself has an older brother who is in debt to a pair of local villains.
A mysterious British teenager called Wayne, with very little French, hangs around the café and tries to help the friends, but Serge is suspicious when he spots Wayne stealing fruit from outside a shop.
Serge considers whether it could be Wayne who mugged his grandmother, and must also deal with police officers investigating whether the café is being illegally run by under-age teenagers.
Titles & Theme Music
The young characters are superimposed in the windows of the revamped Café des Rêves.
|1.||Episode 1||19 Oct 1992|
|2.||Episode 2||2 Nov 1992|
|3.||Episode 3||9 Nov 1992|
|4.||Episode 4||16 Nov 1992|
|5.||Episode 5||23 Nov 1992|
- Autumn 1992 - Mondays 9:05am, repeated Tuesdays 9:05am
- Autumn 1993 - Mondays 11:50am
- Autumn 1994 - Wednesdays 9:00am
- Summer 1995 - Thursdays 11:50am
- Summer 1996 - Mondays 9:40am
- Autumn 1996 - Wednesdays 9:00am
And as follows, overnight in a two-hour block for easy video recording, with a timer clock on screen. After Le Café des Rêves the two hours were made up first with an episode of Jeunes Francophones, later replaced by an episode of France 2000 in French.
- Spring 1995 - Thursday 9th March from 2:00am
- Autumn 1995 - Thursday 9th November from 2:00am
- Spring 1998 - Wednesday 25th February from 2:00am
- Spring 1999 - Tuesday 26th January from 2:00am
- Spring 2000 - Thursday 10th February from 2:00am
- Spring 2001 - Thursday 8th February from 2:00am
- Summer 2002 - Wednesday 29th May from 2:00am
- Autumn 2002 - Thursday 14th November from 2:00am
- Autumn 2003 - Thursday 27th November from 2:00am
- Autumn 2004 - Friday 15th October from 4:00am
- Autumn 2005 - Friday 21st October from 4:00am
- Summer 2007 - Friday 1st June from 4:00am
- Autumn 2007 - Thursday 27th September from 4:00am
|Starring||Bruno Burtin as Serge|
|With||Arlette Renard as Mémé, Mme. Lambin|
Hughes Martel as Antoine
|Music by||Richard Attree|
|Graphic designer||Linda Sherwood-Page|
|Make-up designer||Françoise Cresson|
|Costume designer||Yves Barre|
|Stunt director||Tip Tipping|
|Assistant producer||Jane Cottave|
|Film editor||Tim Cawston & Jan Cholawo|
|Executive producer||Len Brown|
A 64-page booklet of notes including classroom follow-up suggestions, full transcripts of each episode and worksheets.
The worksheet activities include 'Serge's diary' for each episode, recounting the main action from his perspective.
Originally sold for £6.25. ISBN 0 563 35365 1
The book for pupils took the form of a comic strip, a bande-dessiné, retelling a simplified version of the story over 30 pages.
The illustrations by Phillip Burrows are in the style used in other Étoiles publications.
They were sold individually for £3.50 or as a pack of six for £15. ISBN 0 582 23640 1
The series was released as a video pack with teacher's notes and transcripts bundled, for £35.75 including VAT.
On a 2011 Radio 1 show the pair discussed the series at length, trying to understand several clips and comparing it favourably with The Wire and The Sopranos.
Years later on a 2020 Radio 5 show they interviewed actor Jake Wood, who relived some of the French dialogue from Le Café!
Watch a clip on Twitter
Attention Le Café des Rêves fans! <a href="https://twitter.com/mrjakedwood?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mrjakedwood</a> relives one of his earliest acting gigs. This week’s <a href="https://twitter.com/scott_mills?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Scott_Mills</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/Chris_Stark?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Chris_Stark</a> podcast is available to download now -> <a href="https://t.co/FhounEt06q">https://t.co/FhounEt06q</a> <a href="https://t.co/tBlAi0eymD">pic.twitter.com/tBlAi0eymD</a>
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) <a href="https://twitter.com/bbc5live/status/1229126221310676992?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 16, 2020</a>
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Some random programmes for age 13-16 from the 1990s
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