Launched mid-March in France on France 3, Inspector George Gently was axed last week by the pubcaster and replaced yesterday by a rerun of... Midsomer Murders.
« ... a person from France 3 who looks at your show, your show reel, and go: [French accent] Oh no, we do not like zis. It is... too brutal. Do you do the Midsomer Murders? » (Robson Green about selling Wire in the Blood internationally)
France 3 started to air the BBC hit series Inspector George Gently on March 13, versus a triple crossover of the CSI franchise on TF1, and Michael Bay's Rock on pubcaster France 2. The result was a sour rating sunday evening for the detective drama starring Martin Shaw, fourth with 2.462.000 viewers (9.1%). And 1.992.000 viewers and a 7,4% share on April 3 sealed the fate of Gently, with the public broadcaster calling to the rescue its British detective sunday star: DCI Tom Barnaby of Midsomer Murders.
No matter the first Inspecteur Barnaby retired on France 3 in February, and no matter the echo given in France to the "race row" initiated by the controversial words of producer Brian True-May (1), the channel's acquisition of Inspector George Gently was actually part of a wider deal with its distributor All3Media. In January the French broadcaster not only acquired Gently but also series 14 of Midsomer, from All3 too, and re-licensed more than 50 hours of earlier series of the global hit drama starring John Nettles and now Neil Dudgeon (2).
Interestingly, A touch of Frost was no more lucky than Inspector George Gently for France 3's sunday evenings in 2010 and the broadcaster's tentative return of Taggart in 2003, after years of absence in France, couldn't match Tom Barnaby's popularity here. Yesterday's Midsomer Murders rerun caught 2.558.000 viewers (9.9%).
(1) http://fr.tv.yahoo.com/blog/series/article/3053/du-rififi-chez-barnaby.html (In French)
http://www.ozap.com/actu/audiences-experts-top-france-3-faible-cross-over/404080 (In French)
http://www.ozap.com/actu/audiences-3-2011-experts-faubourg-36-gently-capital/408946 (In French)
http://www.ozap.com/actu/audiences-experts-jacques-mecque-zone-interdite-barnaby/410700 (In French)