Bonjour, Daveed! David Beckham puppet given a Parisian welcome
TV satire shows the PSG star as the Pope - and persuading the president to get a tattoo
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Thursday 14 February 2013
David Beckham is officially part of French life. Becks has yet to play a single minute for Paris Saint-Germain but his effigy has made its debut on the popular TV satirical puppet show, Les Guignols de l’info.
A not entirely convincing Beckham puppet, speaking Franglais with a heavy English accent, dominated the 10-minute spoof news programme on Wednesday night.
A “new Pope” turned out to be Pope David. A puppet version of the French First Lady, Valérie Trierweiler, attempted to convince a puppet President François Hollande to visit a tattoo parlour because “Daveed’s” tattoos were “très sexy”. A suave Dominique Strauss-Kahn puppet, wearing a leopard-skin dressing gown, welcomed Beckham’s arrival in French football. Why? “He will attract a whole lot of sexy, excited, frustrated women,” the former head of the IMF cooed.
Even more excited was the puppet Nicolas Sarkozy. He and Beckham had lived parallel lives, he pointed out. “We are both good-looking boys with charisma and famous pop-singer wives.”
Just as Becks had made a comeback in 2013, he, Sarkozy, would make a comeback in the presidential election in 2017. The Sarkozy puppet pointed out that he had four years to “tattoo myself all over so that I can run for president wearing nothing but underpants”.
The real Beckham attracted photographers and TV crews from all over the world when he joined a Paris Saint-Germain training session for the first time on Wednesday. He could make his debut for PSG in a French first division match at Sochaux this Sunday – or more likely in a cup game the weekend afterwards. On his visits to Paris for matches and training sessions, Beckham will live – at PSG’s expense – in the €17,000 (£14,600) a night “imperial suite” at the Hotel Bristol near the Elysée Palace.
This is the Parisian hotel favoured by Hollywood stars and Arab princes. Beckham can claim to be a little of both. He used to play for LA Galaxy and PSG are the property of the government of Qatar. When he signed for the Paris club two weeks ago, it announced that Beckham would give his wages to a children’s charity in the Paris area. The name of this charity has still to be specified by PSG.
Puppet masters my brush with 'Les Guignols'
Beckham’s arrival on the satirical latex puppet show Les Guignols de l’info is a great personal disappointment. Six years ago, the show occasionally used a “British journalist” puppet, who looked and sounded remarkably like me.
The puppet’s name was John. His role was to comment disparagingly on the work of French journalists (something that the real me would never dream of doing).
The “John” puppet has not appeared for many years. All the same, with Beckham’s arrival, I have to acknowledge that I am now only the second most handsome Englishman to have had his own puppet on the Canal+ television show.
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