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Ten Percent reviews a perfectly enjoyable but pointless remake of Call My Agent! | Television

Ten Percent reviews a perfectly enjoyable but pointless remake of Call My Agent!  |  Television


I much appreciated Ten Percent (Amazon Prime Video), the pleasant English remake of the French hit Call My Agent!, but it seemed rather useless. It’s largely a straightforward remake of the French series, so fans will be familiar with the storylines about two big stars being cast in the same role, for example, or another finding out she’s considered like too old for a big Hollywood movie. He isn’t so much inspired by the original as he borrows his clothes, his car and his house.

Talent agency Call My Agent!s Agence Samuel Kerr is rebranding as Nightingale Hart, near Goodge Street, an area of ​​London that doesn’t quite have the same visual appeal as the 1st arrondissement. Otherwise, everything is as expected. There’s a Mathias (Jack Davenports Jonathan), an Andrea (Lydia Leonard, as Rebecca), a Gabriel (Prasanna Puwanarajah, now Dan), and an Arlette (an underutilized Maggie Steed, as Stella). There are the same assistants, the same family members, the same types of actors. Along with its conceit and many of its storylines, it also shares some of the quirky wits and twists.

Ten Percent is written by John Morton, who satirized mindless corporate antics in Twenty Twelve and W1A, though given his caliber and experience, the satirical side of this show is oddly toothless. Actors who get off have to be funny, and on occasion they manage to pull it off. Dominic West is fun as a precious West End Hamlet who struggles to get to grips with a screen-heavy production from Ivo van Hove, and David Harewood thunders at the end to get away with the finale. But more often than not, he plays it too carefully. The actors make fun of the company its ageist! It’s full of massive egos! but not themselves. It’s nice to see famous faces like Helena Bonham Carter and Himesh Patel, but there’s surprisingly little to no self-mockery here. For a UK version, it feels like an omission or a missed opportunity.

There are a few twists and upgrades that really work. Who will be the next Bond? Why have a tax inspector when she could rather be a foreign correspondent? Americans quickly and thoroughly get into the mix, and he seems far more comfortable poking fun at bland California business platitudes than teasing the world his performers inhabit. You are so British, a particularly powerful American newcomer beams. Thank goodness someone is, says Stella, the old timer who’s been in the business forever. This exchange sums up the atmosphere of the series well. It seems to say there’s a stuffy old English way of doing things, and we like it that way. That’s why, I think, the agents are all too nice. They sometimes make phone calls behind each other’s backs, but they aren’t fierce enough. They are all too moral, even Rebecca and Jonathan, despite their despicable provenance.

When it embraces its soapy, it makes you care about the characters in the same way as the French version, but underneath the froth and fun there’s a strong undercurrent of melancholy. A washed up and troubled actor called Simon Gould (Tim McInnerny) haunts the proceedings, hanging around like a living prompt for the other characters’ greatest fears, filtered through his own failures. It’s an odd choice, and it feels like it belongs in a different series. If Ten Percent seems, on occasion, too deferential to the world of showbiz, that’s his most luvvi concession. It made me crave a bit of tangy humor to pierce the fog of those teachable times, as Americans might call them.

However, despite my apprehensions, I managed to go through the whole series with enthusiasm. I suspect viewers who haven’t seen the French original might get more out of it, because the agent stories, about secret girls and reluctant loves, takeovers and sellouts, have a strong sense of melodrama rarely seen on British television. . It’s fun to see Lorraine and The One Show in a dramatic setting, and it’s also hugely enjoyable to see which British actors, old and new, can play themselves. Occasionally, that seems like a bigger request than you think. Is there any interest in this? Not really. But in the end, was I invested in Nightingale Hart? I was, and I hope that if he comes back, he does so with more confidence in what he can do when he’s on his own, without the Paris office blowing his mind.




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