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Nothing - and none of us - lasts for ever,  but it really is the end of an era.  

First discovered him here in England just after we'd bought our house in France in January 1999 - swung a satellite dish round to 5 deg W as I thought I ought to brush up my French.   All in black and white as back then SECAM analogue wouldn't display in colour on British sets.

It was lunchtime,   and I oscillated between France 2 and TF1.  Knowing nothing whatsoever about French TV,  I immediately took to JPP and thought that I must remember to watch properly the next day.   We immediately became hooked on his championing of French tradition,  his pride in his country (which is boundless,  but never embarrassing),   and his occasional "personal comments" about situations,  which almost always co-incided with our own views.  

A SECAM to PAL transcoder was quickly ordered and we were able to enjoy him in colour.   And we've watched ever since,  ie for twenty-one years,  most days,  both in England and in France.   In fact now that our house in France is sold,  the 13.00 Journal is a lifeline that allows us to refresh our love for the country.

Who to replace him?   I reckon their best bet is Giles Bouleau who would I suspect appeal to the older viewer whilst possibly not alienating potential younger ones.   Maybe then move Anne Claire Coudray to weekday evenings and put Audrey Crespo-Mara on at weekends.   I hasten to add that I like Jacques Legros a lot,   and he does a very good job at being JPP's "joker",  but he himself is 67 so if he takes over the job full-time they're going to be up against the same problem very quickly.

I'm not sure bringing in new blood from elsewhere will be a good idea,  JPP gets (so one gathers) 40% of the lunchtime audience,   which is a record both for France and - apparently - Europe.  All too easy to demolish that position with the wrong choice of presenter. 

TBH I puzzle over the whole TF1 thing.   Most of their programmes are pretty awful,  and I struggle to see how the audience that enjoys JPP could possibly enjoy most of the other fare.....   So maybe they would consider risking a presenter who would henceforth fit in more smoothly with the trash that goes out a lot of the rest of the time.   I just don't know.......

Many of our French friends have said to me "Martin,  you know France better than we do".   And my reply is always - "well mostly it's thanks to JPP".    We've even subsequently gone off and visited places that they've reported from....

There are a lot of good reporters too,   Gaelle Charnay did a good week of summer reports from Rhone-Alpes (along with Praline the Marmotte,  who rather stole the show,  brilliant choice of accessory for a reporter) and we always enjoy Marion Fiat's escapades.

Whilst I'd be the first to admit that it's not exactly news-heavy a lot of the time,  I salute JPP with enthusiasm,  and the world of French TV will be a poorer place without him.   I hope he does - as promised - carry on doing some stuff on air,   I also hope that he can take a bit of time to enjoy his retirement in good health.

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