Bernard Pivot, “the reference” for Augustin Trapenard, who pays tribute to him in “La Grande Librairie”, on France 5

All the rage (with a hyphen, please) at France Télévisions

Bernard Pivot, “the reference” for Augustin Trapenard, who pays tribute to him in “La Grande Librairie”, on France 5

All the rage (with a hyphen, please) at France Télévisions. Since the announcement on Monday May 6 of the death of Bernard Pivot, the audiovisual group has shaken up its programs. The same evening, Anne-Elisabeth Lemoine paid tribute in “C à vous” (France 5) to the journalist inseparable from the show “Apostrophes”, while Anne-Sophie Lapix invited academician Erik Orsenna to her France 2 news But it was obvious that the flagship tribute would come from Augustin Trapenard, who, for more than two years, has presented “La Grande Librairie” every Wednesday in prime time on France 5. In prime time and often live, which is not the case. This is not the case in this eve of an extension bridge.

Sober and elegant, the show is perfectly orchestrated by Augustin Trapenard. As he confided a few hours before the recording, Bernard Pivot was for him “the reference, a model of listening and questioning, of winks and enthusiasm. Someone who gave writers a voice, and it’s a great pride for [him] to perpetuate this legacy.” To salute him, he therefore chose to organize his show around archives of “Apostrophes” commented by six guests.

This is precisely what resonates with this legendary theme song (an extract from Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor) which takes us back to the Pivot years. Editor Teresa Cremisi remembers her curiosity; Erik Orsenna on his “bubbly” side; Pierre Assouline for his “generosity” – he is the author of the documentary Les Fridays d’Apostrophes”, which can be seen in replay on the platform. For the latter, and while the first archive images parade (Pivot facing Albert Cohen in pajamas or with Marguerite Duras in the studio), "he was an interviewer from the older generation, the one who lets people talk and the silences settle in.”

Questions “often insolent, never rude”

Generation and era will also be discussed when Christine Angot – who was a guest on the show “Bouillon de culture”, by Bernard Pivot, in 1999, the year of the publication of L’Inceste – comments on the archive of 1978 where we see Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), drunk and with a cigarette, trying to lift the skirt of the novelist Catherine Paysan. The interview of which Bernard Pivot was most proud, according to his right-hand woman Anne-Marie Bourgnon, was that of Alexandre Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) in 1975 – two years after the publication of The Gulag Archipelago.

Pierre Assouline recalls that, beyond a literary program, ““Apostrophes” was a program of debates of ideas”. And Augustin Trapenard added that Bernard Pivot had a sense of listening and asking questions, “often insolent but never rude”. That he also had a certain talent for composing his set around six characters. “He expected the unexpected to happen,” as academician Dany Laferrière so beautifully puts it. In short, for the guests, all by himself, Bernard Pivot was the French cultural exception – in 2001, after the end of “Bouillon de culture”, the historian Pierre Nora had also described the departure of the journalist as “ National mourning ".

It must be said that Bernard Pivot will have succeeded in making dictation, a school exercise, a board game for all with the Dicos d'or championship, and will have tirelessly defended and supported French literature and language. In an audiovisual landscape today that is increasingly fragmented, polarized to the extreme and aging, this legacy continues through “La Grande Librairie”, the only program in the world to devote 90 minutes each week to literature in prime time. For all this, and as François Busnel will say in conclusion, who, after presenting it, continues to produce it: “Thank you Mr. Pivot. »