Georges Simenon's famous French detective will once again be crossing through the dimensional veil from BookWorld to one of the dimensions of Toobworld. ITV will be hosting two stand-alone movies about the character, this time starring comic actor Rowan Atkinson of 'Blackadder' fame as Maigret. But fans of the novels shouldn't worry about that - he's a big fan of the character and wants to do right by him:
“I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I’m very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history." (The setting will be Paris in the 1950s.)
The plan is that if these two TV movies are successful, ITV hopes to continue on with more film adaptations of the novels rather than churning out a series. The producers won't be at a loss for content - Simenon wrote 75 novels about Maigret from 1931 until his death in 1989.
This will also mark ITV's second attempt to bring Maigret to the small screen as they also offered up a series with MIchael Gambon as the detective in the 1990s. But even that would not be found in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld. At least fourteen actors have played the role on TV over the years, which is what we are all about here. So this doesn't take into account so many other portrayals of Jules Maigret in the Cineverse since the 1930s, including actors like Jean Gabin and Charles Laughton.
I've written about Maigret in the Toobworld Dynamic before. (And my opinion as to who the official Maigret is for Earth Prime-Time has probably changed.
Perhaps the most "famous" of the TV Maigrets was played by Rupert Davies in a British TV series from the early 1960s. If I'm not mistaken, even Simenon praised his portrayal. However, I like to give preference to the actor who plays the role in the native tongue so to speak. In this case, a French actor who played the French detective.
Most recently, Bruno Cremer had the honor in 54 episodes about Miagret. But starting in 1967 until the 1990s, Jean Richard captured the Francan essence of Simenon's detective over the course of 87 episodes plus a theatrically released movie which I've declared absorbed into Toobworld.
As for the others?
Legendary acting teacher Herbert Berghof was the first to play the role on TV, in a 1950 American adaptation of "The Trap". Although I suspended the "first come" rule with regards to this character, Mr. Berghof should be recognized for being the first to bring Maigret to life on the small screen. To that end, he is the Jules Maigret of Prequel Toobworld.
Jan Teulings played the Inspector from the Dutch/Belgian Toobworld (17 episodes) and Gino Cervi is the official Maigret from Italian Toobworld (16 episodes.) Others spread out among the other Toobworlds were Sergio Catelitto, Rudolf Hrusinsky, Kees Brusse, Louis Arbessier, Ljuba Tadic, Luis Van Rooten, Basil Sydney, and Richard Harris (which means both actors who played Dumbeldore also played Maigret)
I'm hoping these two forays by Rowan Atkinson will be broadcast before the end of the year, but who knows when they might be seen on American television?