In Vaucluse, fans of “Numbers and Letters” orphaned after the announced end of the show

The show “Numbers and Letters” is over! We learned this Sunday, May 5, 2024 that this legendary game show will no longer befrom the end of the season, and after more than fifty years of good and loyal service. A decision that moves fans of the program. This is particularly the case for members of the “Numbers and Letters” club from Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in Vaucluse. There are around ten of them and they meet every Tuesday afternoon to play together. So the announcement of the end of their favorite show was a real heartbreak.

The club, a real place to live

Participants aged 71 to 91 meet in a small room in the Maison des associations. Technology level, we are a long way from the modernity of the set of the real show. It’s a robotic voice coming from the speakers of a computer that gives the numbers and letters, no need to even say “consonant” or “vowel”, it’s the machine that chooses. In reality, it was Andrée, the 91-year-old elder who took care of the computer that Tuesday, randomly pressing the “C” key to generate a consonant or “V” for a vowel. The letters, or numbers, are then displayed on a wall using a video projector. The participants then have forty seconds to find the result of the calculation or the longest word. And that’s it all afternoon.

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The Isle-sur-la-Sorgue “Numbers and Letters” club was created shortly after the launch of the show, in the first half of the 1970s. Every week, or almost, the members come together to play, but also, and above all, to get together and laugh together. Here, no competition, only mutual aid. Beyond the game, this club is a real vector of social connection. So even if the show stops, it is out of the question for the only club of its kind in Vaucluse to stop its activities. “We make a good teamexplains Henriette, the president of the club. And hey, we don’t see the time passing. There is no reason for him to close, to stop this club. Quite the contrary.

That day, it was Andrée, 91, who managed the computer. © Radio France
Dimitri Morgado
The letters and numbers are projected on the wall using a video projector. © Radio France
Dimitri Morgado

The end of the show, a sadness

Some of them had felt it coming when the show stopped. In recent years, the program has evolved significantly. He changed the formula, separated from its emblematic hosts Bertrand Renard and Arielle Boulin-Prat, went from broadcast during the week to weekends. But from there to the show completely disappearing now, no one had ever really considered it. No, it doesn’t have to stop, we’re going to vote, we’re going to make a petition, jokes Paulette, 84 years old. I’m sad though. I even watch on Saturday and Sunday, when I can, I rush to do the shopping. “Numbers and letters” are part of me.

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The program is the oldest French game show. So, in its 52 years of existence, it has accompanied some of the club’s members almost their entire lives. “It’s a lot of nostalgia because I knew the show at its very beginningsays Lucette, 73 years old. We had bought the television, I had just had my daughter and in the afternoon, I didn’t work, I watched the show“Beyond the sadness, there is a certain bitterness at the club.”We could still have left this show to usthere is no reason to take it away from us“, according to Henriette, the president.

Paulette, Andrée, Henriette, Lucette, Suzanne, Lucette and Guy like to meet up every Tuesday.
Paulette, Andrée, Henriette, Lucette, Suzanne, Lucette and Guy like to meet up every Tuesday. © Radio France
Dimitri Morgado

Everyone now hopes that France Télévisions will reverse this decision, even if this seems unlikely. In the meantime, Henriette, Guy, Lucette, Suzanne, Lucette, Andrée, Paulette and those who are absent are already preparing for their games next Tuesday.

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