INTERVIEW – The host co-hosts with Leïla Kaddour a program bringing together the most significant archive images of cycling competition.
As he has just said goodbye to “We are live”, which he co-presented with Léa Salamé, Laurent Ruquier returns to France 2 this Tuesday June 28 to co-host the prime time “La grande saga du Tour of France» with Leïla Kaddour. The opportunity to see or see the strongest images of the Grande Boucle, whether surprising, funny or spectacular. The host, who is teeming with projects, has (re)discovered this event of which he did not have a good memory, as he confides to us.
” READ ALSO – “I consider the exercise too frustrating”: Laurent Ruquier abandons “We are live”
TV MAGAZINE. – How would you describe this show?
Laurent Ruquier. – It is built on the basis of archives with magnetos dedicated to the Tour de France. We don’t just talk about the cycling aspect but also about the sides such as landscapes, people, history – with a part devoted to Raymond Poulidor -, doping… There is also a subject on the politicians who attended the competition from General de Gaulle to Emmanuel Macron. Georges Pompidou is the only one not to have been there. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was on a motorcycle without a helmet so that we could recognize him! There are lots of interesting things like that. The Tour is a spectacle that goes beyond sport, it is also France that we visit. Today’s technological means make it possible to have incredible images. What’s cool is that the show isn’t just made for cycling fans. I must admit that I no longer watched the competition too much, but the program made me want to follow the Tour again.
Are you attached to this competition?
I had a little trauma on the Tour de France which I kept a very bad memory. It was in 1989, when I started on Europe 1. At the time, I was an author for Jean Amadou and Maryse and we followed the event for the station. I had to write the texts for their show which started at 8:30. It was also the first time I was on the air, Jean and Maryse having given me a little three-minute column. The entertainers were in the stopover town but we, the assistants, lived 30 or 40 km away and we had to make the trip every morning. That day, I was late and I went a little too fast – especially since at the time, I drove very little. I had a car accident and rolled over. Fortunately, there were no fatal consequences. But, when you are told that the people who were inside the car opposite had to be extricated, that leaves you with a bad memory… I ended up in the hospital myself. I only wrote my column for a week because, after the accident, I never returned to the Tour. At that time, I told myself that I would never have the chance to be on the air again… And finally, thirty years later, I presented a program on the Tour de France. The big loop is complete (laughs).
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When you were younger, did you watch the Tour de France?
When I was a kid, we drew the course in the sandpit, with its passes and mountains. Each had two or three iron cyclists who were pushed forward with marbles and we wondered who would win the Tour. It was the ritual every summer. For the past few years, I have been following the event like a professional who is interested in the news as a whole. But, for all that, I was not in front of my post every afternoon.
Did you know Leïla Kaddour well with whom you co-host?
We don’t know each other well but we like each other. Until then, we had quickly co-hosted the “Music Victories” in 2020 (that year, eleven animators had presented the program, Ed.). We recorded another “Grande saga” which will pass in September and will be devoted to the thirty years of France Télévisions.
You recently said goodbye to “We are live”. How did you experience this last show?
I am never a big sentimentalist who looks at the past while shedding a tear. I consider this to be part of the stages of a career. It’s a long career, and as Michel Drucker would say, “the important thing is to last”. I have already stopped, on my own, programs that worked very well in presentation. For example, I created “On n’demande qu’en rire” for France 2, where all the comedians followed one another. But, after three years, I was a bit tired of the presentation mechanics of the show and I had given way to Jéméry Michalak or Bruno Guillon. I don’t have a problem with that. When I start to be unhappy or bored in a program, I stop.
And in “We are live”, what was it?
There, I was unhappy.
Why are you leaving?
It was a decision of the channel to entrust Léa Salamé with the co-hosting of the show. I know she’s been craving this slice for a while, I’ve been doing it for 17 years. I found it legitimate to move on and give him the place.
” READ ALSO – “I will miss you”: Léa Salamé’s moving farewell to Laurent Ruquier
You continue “Children of TV” and the radio, are you considering other programs for France Télévisions?
We are going to launch new programs in October and November and test different formulas. I will be seen at least once a month during a bonus on France Télévisions, in addition to the “Children of TV”.
Will you be live?
For one of the shows yes but for the other no since it will be a variety program around parodies of songs, so it will be recorded.
Live is a bit like the essence of your job…
I still did “We are not lying” for years that we recorded on Thursday evenings. But it’s true that today – and this is moreover the reason why I chose “We are live” two years ago – I think that at the speed where the news and social networks go, it has become very complicated for a program linked to current affairs or politics to be recorded 48 hours in advance. In my opinion, this is no longer possible.
Any word on the fact that you lost your case against Catherine Barma?
I lost but it’s not my trial since it’s her who attacks me! Me, I just asked to be paid for the shows I did. She, on the other hand, attacked me because, supposedly, I didn’t announce soon enough that I wanted to quit. What is wrong. Moreover, if we read the report, the court admits that Catherine Barma was aware that I was going to stop the show. They just blame me for not having done it in writing. So we’re going to discuss all of this again on appeal… I wouldn’t want to be seen as the bad guy in the case because she’s the one attacking me. Frankly, after 20 years of collaboration, where she earned as much money as me and even more since she was the producer and I never put my nose in or even audited her accounts, the defense is my side and not his.
Your former collaborator Aymeric Caron has just been elected deputy. Are you still in touch?
We sometimes exchange text messages. I’m really happy for him. Of all those who have been on my shows and who have been regional, legislative or presidential candidates, from Gérald Dahan to Charles Consigny via Éric Zemmour, Aymeric Caron or Audrey Pulvar, I would say that this is the one I am the happiest that he is an MP.
How is your summer shaping up?
There will be vacations, writing and… the Tour de France that I will watch!