TELEVISION / Production Notes

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The Independent Culture
Maigret (ITV Sunday) is set in Paris but filmed in Budapest. Stephen Fineren, production designer, on how it works:

'The scale and architectural style of Budapest is a good reflection of Paris at street level. But in Paris, the bars and shopfronts are timber fascia, doorways have panelled woodwork and weather-beaten paintwork. We had to add this to film exteriors.

'The apartments have a really grand exterior with columns, but once inside, the balustrades and handrails are ornate rusty iron, the plasterwork is crumbling and paint is peeling off the walls. Photographically it is both wonderful and absolutely correct for the Parisian apartment on a grand scale, but the Hungarians couldn't understand why I didn't want to repaint it. I know that many of the Parisian staircases and shopfronts are painted once then left for another hundred years.

'We had interpreters on set, but it takes them twice as long to explain in Hungarian your requirements. Naturally, the response takes twice as long, because Hungarian only has half the words of the English language. Sometimes this could be laborious.'

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