Patrick Sabatier is a host and producer of TV shows, some of which have even become cult like Wanted poster (1980-1982), Lucky charm (1983-1986), The Game of Truth (1985-1986) or even Heart Asset (1982-1984). He has just published a novel, The letter, Editions du Rocher. It plunges us into the heart of a family saga through a personal quest, a quest for origins.
franceinfo: Your work is fictionalized, but the strength of this text lies in the experience it brings out and which seems to be part of the man you are. So is it an autobiographical novel or not?
Patrick Sabatier: No. It’s not autobiographical at all, but obviously there are pillars of truth from which I imagined what I could imagine and what is likely for that matter, because I didn’t know everything. And I think my own heroine, Emma, didn’t know everything either, since she herself couldn’t tell me everything about what had happened to her. And me, I imagined things and I realized that during his career, Paul Sarran, with whom we look alike, interviewed a lot of people and the person he did not interview was is Emma. Obviously, Emma is someone I adored.
This novel brings out your mother’s eyes. This is the impression one gets when reading this book. What do you keep from her?
“I believe that I was lucky, like many others, to have a loving mother.”Patrick Sabatier
I feel like we never left each other. And I think that if I was able to do, and if Paul Sarran in the book was able to do what he did, it’s because among other things, he had a benevolent look, a look that encouraged him in his steps.
Your parents have really always been with you. This book was also a way of paying homage to them. ? It’s a declaration of love to your parents.
Adrien and Emma had other children than me and that’s also part of the book and the secret. But they were, if I had to call them, honest, that is to say honest with their lives, honest with their family, with their children. And above all, they wanted to behave discreetly. Emma was very unhappy from the start because when she was born, her mother, my grandmother, died in childbirth. And she got used to unhappiness for a very long time thinking that’s how life was. She didn’t think being happy was normal. On the contrary, she thought that being mistreated by her first husband, being rejected by society like that, was normal. So when one of his children said to him: “But no, it’s not normal” and that at the end this child, Paul Sarran said to him: “let me tell your story“, it’s not only for her, but for all women for many, many years, who have had to accept being abused.
You write “The road is long, winding, strewn with roses, thorns and successes. It’s a fair metaphor for life“. How do you view this journey already accomplished?
If Adrien and Emma could ever read the book, I think they would say: “we have children“, and I’m part of it,”honest“and that’s the best thing that can happen to me.
You were able to bring new TV shows, Wanted poster for example, which is really one of the biggest hits you’ve had. What does it still represent today?
What’s incredible is that all the shows I did were shows where I needed to be together. It was very unconscious compared to the book. At that time, I wasn’t even aware of everything that happened in the book. It means that subconsciously, I wanted to put the pieces of a puzzle together.
Doubt is mentioned several times in this book. What made you doubt then?
Precisely, my origins! So when you’re in front of Delon, Ventura, the whole crew of a Fechner film or you’re in Brigitte Bardot’s house, that’s what I talk about with Johnny in Ramatuelle, you say to yourself: what am I doing here ? Because the stars are them, not the host. So yes, when you’re with Delon, face to face, a few minutes from game of truthbackstage, that we look at each other, that we are a few centimeters from each other, that he takes you by the neck and that he says to you: “We will get there“, it’s Delon talking to you. And all of a sudden, there’s his whole career flashing by in a few seconds. And what am I doing here?
We see with your children’s eyes inside this book. Is the child you were proud of the man you have become?
Yes. With the tools I had, yes, it was not won.
“We don’t ask the right questions to people we know too well because maybe we’re also afraid of their answers.”Patrick Sabatier
I took a long time because I didn’t feel like doing it at all. Because too involved, too into it. And my wife said to me:But your life is a novel“. And all of a sudden, the word novel triggered me. My loved ones became characters that I could make play roles that I imagined. And that gave me the necessary distance that allowed me to less involved. That’s one reason. After writing it, I said to myself: I didn’t ask Emma and Adrien the right questions for a long time, whereas in interviews I allowed myself to ask questions extremely intimate with celebrities that I know little or nothing about!