Philippe Bouvard (RTL) retired on January 1, 2025 – Image

Philippe Bouvard (RTL) retired on January 1, 2025 – Image
Philippe Bouvard (RTL) retired on January 1, 2025 – Image

A pillar of RTL where he has worked since the 1960s, his name remains attached to that of “Grosses têtes”, a show he launched in 1977, making it one of the most listened to in France. When in September 2014, after 37 years at the helm, he had to give up his place to Laurent Ruquier, called to rejuvenate the show, Bouvard, close to 85 years old, took it badly. “It was not me who made the decision (to stop) but I accepted it. The announcement of this abandonment, because it is one, is heartbreaking,” he declared at the time. Eight years later, the wound poorly closed, he confided that he would have been incapable of stopping “the Big Heads” on his own. The station then entrusted him with “Allô Bouvard”, broadcast on weekends, which ended in the summer of 2020. Tireless and always up to date with current events, despite his failing eyesight and hearing, he still wants to 94 years a page in the VSD magazine, as well as a Sunday column on RTL. But he has resigned himself to “going silent” on January 1, 2025, he announced Sunday morning on his station, as he should. “Because on January 1, I will have established the double record that I hoped for, that is to say 60 years of radio and 60 years of RTL.”

Philippe Bouvard has always been hyperactive: 30,000 articles, 6,000 TV shows, he listed at the beginning of 2013 in the daily Nice Matin with which he collaborated. On television, from 1982 to 1987, he presented “Le petit théâtre de Bouvard” on Antenne 2, a sketch show where young actors tried their hand, several of whom were successful (Muriel Robin, Pascal Legitimus, Mimie Mathy, Chevallier and Laspalès…). Born on December 6, 1929 in Coulommiers (Seine-et-Marne) to a couple of small traders, Philippe Bouvard joined Le Figaro in 1952 as an errand boy, after a short stint at the Journalists’ Training Center. He climbed the ranks, signed the society column and became director of Parisian services. In 1973, he left Le Figaro for France Soir, where he held several hierarchical positions and wrote an article published on the front page for years. He left in September 2003. During his career, he was also a technical advisor to L’Express and a columnist for Paris Match. He became editor-in-chief at RTL in 1968 and launched “Les Grosses têtes” on April 1, 1977. His guests, personalities, had to find the answers to “sticks” posed by listeners. As the months go by, the cultural argument gives way to Gallic humor and below-the-belt jokes.

“I remain an average Frenchman…”

The daily show is a resounding success. “Even if I claim a certain complacency in the register of the fly, the exercise is more perilous than it seems. In radio, a good word that comes five seconds too late is no longer a good word”, declares the one who cited Coluche, Desproges and… Cioran as his favorite comedians. The man, with a round and jovial physique, mocks the taxman, rails against the contempt he says he suffers from the intelligentsia, and later concedes that he is “perhaps a little misogynistic”. “I am and I remain an average Frenchman, grumpy, chauvinistic, a little xenophobic,” he declares, while sometimes admitting to regret “having let myself get stuck in this character,” he confided to Le Parisien in 2022. In 1996, he was convicted of provoking racial hatred following a riddle asked during a television program of “Grosses têtes”. In May 2000, the new management of the radio decided to rejuvenate the station and unceremoniously dismissed him, replacing him with Christophe Dechavanne. The audience collapsed and the host was recalled a few months later. Passionate about gambling and writing, Philippe Bouvard lives on the heights of Cannes, with Colette, his wife of over 70 years, and is preparing a 70th book… on retirement.

-

-

NEXT in demonstration, Spain eliminates Georgia and qualifies for the quarter-finals