While “Plus belle la vie” will be back in a few weeks on TF1, the channel which took over from France 3 will have to face many challenges in order to give the soap opera a facelift.
A little over a year after the broadcast of its final episode, Plus belle la vie will rise from its ashes for an unexpected sequel, next Monday January 8 on TF1. It was on November 18, 2022, after more than 18 years on the air and 4,665 episodes, that the last part of Plus belle la vie was broadcast.
An exceptional evening placed under the sign of love which allowed early fans to say goodbye to this series which had punctuated their lives for many years.
And if since its end clap, many hoped that Plus belle la vie would one day make its comeback, TF1 still managed to create a surprise by announcing on July 16 that the comeback would take place on its channel.
A major challenge for the channel, already accustomed to daily soap operas, which must here achieve the feat of giving a facelift to Plus belle la vie, while keeping the essence of what allowed the series to beat longevity records.
A sequel that isn’t really one
As soon as the revival of Plus belle la vie was announced, TF1 made it clear that this sequel was in reality a new series. “It will not be a simple sequel, but a new creation” had specified Vincent Meslet, the general director of Newen France, the production company of the soap opera, last July.
On January 8, we will therefore not find ourselves in front of season 19 of Plus belle la vie, but in front of the “first season of a new series” according to TF1. And to mark this distinction, the channel decided to rename the soap opera.
Exit Plus belle la vie, now room for Plus belle la vie, even plus belle, an extended title which sets the tone, the objective being to emancipate itself from the original program, while maintaining the audience of France 3.
This desire to stand out while preserving the essence of the series seems to be the key word of this ambitious project. Vincent Meslet had also clarified: the writing team for the sequel mixed “from new authors to the heirs of Plus belle la vie with the ambition to breathe new dynamism.”
A dynamism which will perhaps come through the length of the episodes? For the moment, TF1 has not yet officially communicated on the subject, but the production declared to our colleagues in Le Monde that each episode should be between “twenty and twenty-five minutes”, compared to the 26 minutes originally offered on France 3.
The series will also air at a new schedule. TF1 already offering Here Everything Begins at 6:30 p.m. and Tomorrow Belongs to Us at 7:10 p.m., the channel has chosen to program Plus belle la vie, even more beautiful around 1:40 p.m., following the 1 p.m. news.
A bet that is both ambitious and risky, as people are not necessarily in front of their television screens at this time. This choice is not trivial, however. TF1 is probably hoping to ride the audiences of the legendary midday newspaper to launch the program.
But the group’s main challenge lies in the launch of its new streaming platform on Monday January 8, the same day as Plus belle la vie, encore plus belle. TF1 hopes to attract people to watch the episodes in replay.
According to Ara Aprikian, deputy general director in charge of content at the private channel, daily soap operas generate strong audiences both linearly and digitally. Viewers who will not be in front of their television screen in the middle of the afternoon will therefore have plenty of time to catch up with the program in replay, on TF1+.
The most dedicated fans know: most of the sets present in the Belle de Mai Studios were destroyed following the cancellation of the series. New places will therefore emerge, the biggest challenge obviously being the Place du Mistral, which has now disappeared.
Rather than rebuilding the set in the studios, the production chose to place its cameras on the Town Hall square in the small village of Allauch in Bouches-du-Rhône. The Bar de l’Hostellerie will thus become the new Bar du Mistral and the teams should film there around thirty days a year.
The interior of the bar should be filmed in the studios. The writers will obviously have to justify this change of scenery… Will the first episode begin with the destruction of the Mistral? In any case, this is what many rumors suggest.
Iconic actors facing new faces
If Laurent Kerusoré (Thomas), Sylvie Flepp (Mirta Torrès), Léa François (Barbara Evenot), Stéphane Hénon (Jean-Paul Boher), Cécilia Hornus (Blanche Marci) and many others have already confirmed that they will be back in More beautiful life, even more beautiful, many new faces will come to join the inhabitants of the Mistral.
If for the moment we still know little about these newcomers straight from the TF1 team, they should bring a breath of fresh air to the program. It now remains to be seen whether the production will succeed in finding the balance between new and old so as not to lose viewers who will find themselves in front of their screen in the hope of continuing to follow the adventures of the characters they have seen grow up. and evolve for 18 years.
Will the writers modify their trajectory started in the finale of Plus belle la vie? How are they going to bring something new while preserving the history of these iconic characters? This is the whole challenge for the authors.
A challenge made even more difficult by the disappearance of Marwan Berreni, whose character of Abdel Fedala was to be one of the central points of the scenarios of this sequel. His love story with Barbara (), and above all the birth of their baby was to be a central point of this sequel. How will they justify his absence? Answer on January 8 on TF1.