C'EST une merveilleuse nouvelle. Tres formidable.* Netflix’s Call My Agent!, the sleeper hit of the pandemic year is coming back for a new series. And a movie before that. Thank Camille Cottin and pass me my 10 per cent. (Or something along those lines. The meaning may have got lost in translation.)

Just imagine. More beautiful, chic French people arguing in French, drinking in cafes and sleeping with people they really shouldn’t. More double-crossing, more barefaced lying, more raging, out-of-control egos, more bitchiness, more French stars gently guying their own image (was it just me or was anyone else slightly annoyed that Sigourney Weaver turned up? Love the Sig, but the series should have stuck with the likes of Huppert and Binoche).

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And more Noemie Leclerc, the flibbertigibbet with a backbone of steel (I may be slightly in love with Noemie, even if she has new-agey tendencies. She’s far too good for Mathias, frankly). If she's not in the new series – they're talking about a new cast – I'll be fuming.

Based around the affairs (and affairs) of a French talent agency, Call My Agent! is a gloriously soapy mix of humour, glamour and spite and gorgeous interior décor. In a foreign language. Really, it’s Remainer fantasy TV.

And Paris looks frankly lickable throughout. I’ve never actually been to Paris myself (I’m presuming Disneyland Paris doesn’t count), and normally my view of the French capital is filtered through policiers like Spiral, which don’t tend to do upmarket. So, Call My Agent!’s glossy magazine vision of the city is refreshing. I might even go when I’m allowed.

To be honest, I was a bit late to the series, eventually prompted by effusive Twitter love. But there’s no question it’s been the highlight of this last lockdown for me. It probably kept me sane (an exaggeration, yes, but it’s a columnist exaggeration so that’s OK. Exaggeration is allowed in the columnist rule book. Page 15, I believe. Paragraph three.)


At the very least, it gave me something to look forward to after yet another day stuck at home.

So much so that I’m a bit disappointed in the news that there is also going to be a British remake. It’s not just that it’s in the hands of the makers of BBC sitcom W1A (which was fine, but a little self-satisfied for my tastes).

No, it’s more that I’m not sure we’re very good at glam on British TV. We can do Gogglebox and Corrie, but high-end soapy pleasure doesn’t seem to be in our skill set. Unless Jane Austen wrote it, I suppose.

As for the appeal of the original, perhaps it’s just that I’m enthralled by the pre-pandemic ease of it all. If this was London or Glasgow or Dundee I might be thinking, “Where’s the social distancing?” But it’s Paris. It’s a dream city. It’s also a fantasy of life before the pandemic, when we could care about cinema and awards ceremonies and going to late-night bars and not have to think about vectors of transmission.

C’etait le bon temps, mes amis.

*Proper French speakers will not be surprised to learn that je ne parle pas Francais.