Patrick Poivre d'Arvor

Patrick Poivre d'Arvor

Patrick Poivre d'Arvor at the Cannes Film Festival
Born Patrick Poivre
(1947-09-20) 20 September 1947
Reims, France
Education Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales: non graduate.
Occupation Journalist, writer
Notable credit(s) Le Journal de 20 Heures de TF1, on TF1,
Vol de Nuit on TF1,
La Traversée du miroir on France 5
Spouse(s) Véronique Poivre

Patrick Poivre d'Arvor (French pronunciation: [patʁik pwavʁ daʁvɔʁ]; 20 September 1947) is a French TV journalist and writer. He is a household name in France, and nicknamed PPDA. With over 30 years and in excess of 4,500 editions of television news to his credit, he was one of the longest serving newsreaders in the world until he was fired in 2008. He presented his last newscast on TF1 on 10 July 2008.[1]


Patrick Poivre was born in Reims, France. He obtained his Baccalauréat at 15, the year he became a father. He then studied Law and Oriental Languages at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales. Poivre claims to be descended directly from Jacques Poivre, brother of Pierre Poivre, an 18th-century nobleman in the time of Louis XV, "d'Arvor" being Jacques Poivre's pseudonym. Poivre, his siblings and his three surviving children legally changed their surname to Poivre d'Arvor in 1994.

Journalistic career

Poivre started training as a journalist at the Centre de formation des journalistes (CFJ) at 22. He obtained his first job in 1971 on France Inter as morning newsreader.

In 1974, at the time of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's accession to the Presidency, Poivre joined Antenne 2. He made his first TV appearance there in 1975, and was presenter for news bulletins from 16 February 1976 to 28 July 1983. After a brief stint with Canal+, he joined TF1 in 1986 for the Sunday program A la folie pas du tout and Ex Libris, from Frederic Lepage.

On 31 August 1987, he became presenter for the weekday news of TF1 at 8 pm from Monday to Thursday. He is satirised in the French puppet show Les Guignols de l'info on Canal+, where his alter ego is the puppet PPD, the news presenter. In 2004, Poivre was cast in a minor voice-only role as a newscaster in the French version of the Pixar animated film The Incredibles (Les Indestructibles).

On 9 June 2008, it was reported that Poivre d'Arvor was replaced as presenter of the 8 pm news by Laurence Ferrari.[2] He made his last broadcast on 10 July. In an interview, he said that there was "no objective" reason for his dismissal, but declined to comment on "rumours" of political interference.[3]

Since January 2009, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor presents La traversée du miroir on France 5. He also presented L'avis des autres on Arte.

In July 2009, he was approached by the I-Télé channel to presentThe18h-20h. But he declined the invitation.

In June 2010, he led a team in the French TV show Fort Boyard.

Professional controversies

His greatest controversy is the faked interview[4] - actually footage of a press conference with added questions - he purported to have made with Cuban president Fidel Castro, broadcast on 16 December 1991. Télérama journalist Pierre Carles exposed this fraud, which Poivre blamed on his colleague and co-interviewer Régis Faucon, after the latter had departed TF1.[5]

On 10 January 1996, the Court of Appeal sentenced Poivre to 15 months in prison (suspended) and fined him 200,000 Francs for his part in misappropriation of public funds in a case involving Pierre Botton and his father-in-law and then deputy mayor of Lyon, Michel Noir.[6]

On 11 September 2001, at 10:15 EDT, while he was interviewing a reporter from New York, a sequence from Star Wars episode IV briefly replaced the live satellite feed from New York showing the World Trade Center. The sequence occurs at the 91st minute of the film, which would place the logical beginning of the film at 08:44, two minutes before the impact on the first tower. The picture quickly switched to PPDA who appeared confused. The glitch was covered on the premium pay television channel Canal+'s Zapping program, and later columnist Alain Rémond wrote about this incident in the weekly Télérama on 13 October 2001, jokingly asking if al-Qaeda operatives had infiltrated TF1.

In December 2008, Nonce Paolini, former Chief Executive of TF1, filed for defamation against Poivre d'Arvor in the Correctional Tribunal of Paris: during an interview by Bretons in the preceding July, Poivre had accused the TF1 chief of having "installed a clocking-in system with access badges" and had formed "a private police force whose aim was scrutinising staff movements in the smallest detail".[7]

In January 2011, he became the focus of a plagiarism scandal, accused of stealing the work of a U.S. author in a book on the life of Ernest Hemingway.

Personal life

He is married to Véronique, with whom he has three daughters and one son. They are divorced. Their son Arnaud spoke about the divorce of his parents in the Magazine Gala, in 2010. One daughter, Solenn, committed suicide at a Paris metro station in 1995, aged 19, having been a long-term anorexic. Her plight became a symbol of the problems of anorexia and bulimia, with Poivre becoming a campaigner and writer on the issue. In December 2004, Bernadette Chirac, wife of former President Jacques Chirac, whose daughter also suffered from the disorder, opened a treatment centre in Paris for adolescents and named it “Maison de Solenn”.

Poivre caused controversy by presenting his regular news bulletin the evening after Solenn's death.

For several years in the 1990s, rumours abounded that Poivre had had an affair with Claire Chazal, his weekend counterpart as TF1 8 pm news presenter. The pair refused to confirm the story until August 2005, when Poivre acknowledged in "Confessions", a book of interviews to journalist Serge Raffy, that he was the father of Chazal's 10-year-old son, François. "We had set at [François' age] ten the time that this story would be revealed", Poivre said.

Published works

He has published many books, two of which are dedicated to his daughter Solenn. He has also written prefaces to books by other authors, and these are not listed here.



Wikimedia Commons has media related to Patrick Poivre d'Arvor.
  1. AFP: Star news anchor bows out in French TV shake-up
  2. Mackenzie, James (9 June 2008). "Star French news anchor "PPDA" to step down". Reuters. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  3. AFP: Star news anchor bows out in French TV shake-up
    • Olivier Cyran, Mehdi Ba (et al.), Almanach critique des médias (2005) - éditions Les Arènes. « PPDA/Castro - Fausse interview, vraie mensonge ». ISBN 2-912485-83-5
  4. Les fabuleuses histoires de Poivre d’Arvor on Acrimed
  5. Noir-Botton-Mouillot-PPDA : à Lyon plus dure est la cour d’appel on L'Humanité
  6. (French) Guy Dutheil, « Plaintes en série de TF1 contre l'ancien présentateur Patrick Poivre d'Arvor », Le Monde, 9 December 2008
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