Canal+ Axes Long-Running French Puppet Comedy ‘ Les Guignols’

By Peter White, Nancy Tartaglione


In the same week as French pay-TV broadcaster Canal+ lost the lucrative rights to the country’s top soccer league, the Vivendi-owned network is ending one of its most influential shows – the Spitting Image-esque Guignols De L’info.

The broadcaster has cancelled the latex puppet comedy show, which has been on air for nearly 30 years as it moves towards a more politically correct tone.

Gérald-Brice Viret, managing director of channels at Canal+, told staff earlier today that there would be no 30th season of the show. Staff are likely to go on strike.

The show has been an institution in France and was previously very influential over time in terms of political and social commentary, before rating started to decline. It initially started as interstitials and became increasingly popular during the Gulf war, when it followed the news. It has detailed former Prime Minister Raymond Barre as a gonzo pornographic fan, while President Jacques Chirac and his team were often depicted in the style of Pulp Fiction and Nicolas Sarkozy was often parodied as a flip-flopper. Even a number of American entertainment figures have been parodied including Sylvester Stallone, who was known as Commandant Sylvestre, M. Sylvestre, an “ugly American”.

The format has been adapted in a number of countries including in Spain as Las Noticias Del Guinol, in Portugal as Contra Informacao, while other countries have similar versions including in Russia and Kenya.

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