A Taste of Garlic

Michael Briant interview - Interview (Writer)

Michael Briant is the man largely responsible for my spending most Saturday evenings of my younger days (from the age of 11 to about 21) hiding behind the sofa, most Saturday nights sleeping with the lights on and most Sunday mornings getting spanked for wetting the bed the night before!

You see, Michael Briant directed some of the most frightening episodes of Doctor Who that ever saw the light of day.

There is a whole generation of people, now in their forties and fifties, who will unashamably wet themselves in public if anyone creeps up behind them and shouts…


And this is largely Michael’s fault.

Long finished with Daleks and rather large maggots (it’s the bloody maggots that still give me the heebee-geebees), Michael now lives in France and is more involved with sailing than scaring impressionable young boys (and more often than not, their fathers as well), half to death.

Michael has a website at… http://www.michaelbriant.com where he details his past life in television and his current one in sailing.

Michael now lives near Royan in the Charente-Maritime.


1). What influenced your move to France?

Michael – My wife is French – so after many decades in the UK it only seemed fair we try her country… Very sadly, shortly after we arrived, she developed Alzheimer’s. I nursed her for around four and a bit years and then following her doctors advice, she went into an excellent specialist home in St George de Didonne… That was three years ago.

2). The French have never really “got” Doctor Who, have they?  Is this something to do with the way they are brought up or does it say more about us Brits?

Michael – I think the French have a very different attitude and expectation of their television – which is probably why I watch Sky!

3). The French have a tradition of producing great sailors (I’m thinking Bernard Moitessier, Eric Tarbary, Philippe Poupon, Phillipe Jeantot and Bruno Peyron – although there are many others) – why is this?

Michael – Clearly the French are a great maritime nation. Historically a powerful sea power on a par with the Spain and us.. Think about their Caribbean Islands,French Canada and their Pacific Islands so it is natural that they should be good about it!

4). You’ve lived in France for a few years now so the honeymoon period should be over.  What advice would you give to anyone thinking about selling everything they have, jacking in a good job, putting the children into care and moving to France to start a new life?

Michael – If you have a good job to go to – and just not a vague idea of starting yet more ‘gites’, B&B or living off the land then it is a very civilized country. Arguably still less expensive than metropolitan UK even with the € almost at par. France is a modern, sophisticated place and if you are ‘running away’ or looking for Eldorado. then I suspect you will end up either in a 100% ex pat community (and there is nothing wrong with that) or disenchanted, isolated and probably poor! I actually speak good French and still find the majority of the friends who make me laugh are Brits…

5). What are the best things about living in France?

Michael – Relatively low cost housing, good food, nice wine and mainly a better climate.

6). And the worst?

Michael – The French & Napoleonic law.

7). Ricard or Pernod?

Michael – Pass either bottle but probably Pernod.

8). Like Stephen Clarke (author of A Year in the Merde), whom I interviewed recently, you were born in Bournemouth.  I’ll ask you the same question I asked him.  Do you think that being born in Bournemouth has damaged you in any way?

Michael – I suppose that the sea is in my genes and in my birthplace – and from what I understand Bournemouth is full of French students which influenced my fate!

9). Is there anything you particularly miss from England?

Michael – England and inexpensive boat bits…..

10). What do you say to the people who believe that Elvis isn’t dead but is working as a cellerman at Fitzpatricks Irish Pub in La Rochelle and secretly peeing in the Guinness when no one is watching?

Michael – Elvis is alive and well and living in La Rochelle where he may be seen playing in the pub quiz in which my group (2 of us) came last behind groups of French who were better educated and more intelligent….

11).  Now that you are not making television programs, what do you do for a living?

Michael – Lots of things… Still make some independent documentaries, write books, run an internet site and have some rented properties in the UK – now you know everything about my financial affairs but would warn against trying to start up a small business in France where the legislation is both expensive and mind boggling!

12). What do you say that we pop off down to Fitzpatricks Irish Pub in La Rochelle for a quick beer (taking care to avoid the Guinness, of course), and I’ll just make up the rest of the answers?

Michael – I now live in Saujon near to Royan so trips are limited to La Rochelle except to visit the boat so we will have to make a rdv…….

As soon as I can sell my house here in France I am moving to Spain… !

Fair winds



Charts of the world – CD
French Canal Routes -Book
Fluvial/Navicarte chart books
Buy and sell boaty bits
Blue Water Cruising & Blue Water Destinations DVD’s
From the shop at:- http://www.michaelbriant.com

Long finished with Daleks and rather large maggots (it’s the bloody maggots that still give me the heebee-geebees), Michael now lives near La Rochelle and is more involved with sailing than scaring impressionable young boys (and more often than not, their fathers as well), half to death.

All the best

interview writer  Michael Briant interview   because we all love reading blogs about life in France

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