It’s testament to how far foreign-language drama has come in the past decade that the idea of remaking beloved French sitcom Call My Agent! was deemed somewhat blasphemous.
It reached a huge audience, was universally beloved and ended its original run on a high.
What can we Brits bring to this tale of hapless agents and their showbiz clients? Well, it’s a case of vive la différence.
‘Our version follows the original quite closely at the start but we bifurcate pretty quickly,’ says Jack Davenport, who plays scheming agency boss-in-waiting Jonathan.
‘As a nation I think we British are quite emotionally inarticulate, we’re really quite poor at saying what we mean. So in our version we’re quite a long way from the passion and flamboyance of the French version.’
That bifurcation — or divergence, if you will — comes in the shape of Jim Broadbent (as all the best bifurcations do), who plays the big boss Jonathan is waiting to fill the shoes of.
‘Our version deals with the set-up differently,’ explains Davenport. ‘The senior partner in the French version, you don’t really know him.
‘But in ours we do know him, he’s my character’s father. And he’s played by Jim Broadbent, for God’s sake! That connection changes everything.’
There’s no denying the celebrity pull the success of Call My Agent! had.
Major French stars including Isabelle Huppert and Jean Reno dipped in with cameos and, in the first two episodes of its UK incarnation, Ten Percent gives us priceless comedy turns from Kelly Macdonald, Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams, with more big names to follow in the eight-episode run.
Actors, it seems, are eager to send themselves up.
‘It’s an interesting world to look at,’ says John Morton, the sharp wit who gave us brilliant BBC spoof W1A and is the barbed mind behind Ten Percent.
‘The cynical view is that agents are all insincere and that’s perfectly fine but that’s not what we’re doing. Agents have to tread a fine line between truth and falsehood.’
Jonathan thrives on living in that gap to the extent that it’s easy to find him a little bit on the slimy side. He’s a man, after all, seemingly waiting for his dad to die.
‘To me there’s something of the Prince Charles about him,’ laughs Jack. ‘He’s been waiting to take the reins for a long, long time — and when he finally does, it’s not what he thought it would be at all.
‘He’s co-running an agency that might be going down the toilet. He’s got a lot on his plate.’
Ten Percent is available on Amazon Prime tomorrow.