Ten Percent remakes Call My Agent for the English and loses pretty much all of its charm
“We said no to Piers Morgan”
One of the real pleasures of Netflix is the way it has widened access to TV that isn’t in the English language (with its reach far beyond BBC4 or even Channel 4). French comedy Dix Pour Cent is a perfect case in point, retitled Call My Agent for the international market, its talent agency shenanigans – often using actors playing versions of themselves – offering widespread lockdown respite.
So obviously there had to be an English-language remake, which reverts to a translation of its original title – Ten Percent – and predictably it possesses not a soupçon of its Gallic charm. Developed by John Morton (he of W1A and Twenty Twelve) for Amazon Prime, it has a considerable feel of both of those shows and an impressive guestlist but sadly lacks pretty much any of their humour.
I wonder how much of this is down to the fact that there is an almost slavish adherence to the original, which means you can’t help but compare them directly. And with no real impetus for this remake emerging, you never once feel that we gain anything by seeing it done with English actors, I foud this first series to be largely quite dull.
The likes of Davids Oyelowo and Harewood, Kelly Macdonald, Dominic West, Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams are gamely employed as heightened versions of themselves (West’s battles with an Almeida-esque theatre director are a highpoint). But as the core team, Jack Davenport, Lydia Leonard, Maggie Steed and Prasanna Puwanarajah are curiously flat, needing a sharper sense of humour to cut through the familiarity.
Maybe there’s more here for people who haven’t seen Call My Agent but if anyone asked me for a recommendation, I’d still go for that than this redundant remake.