Le Bigdil (2002, TF1, France)

Le Bigdil is Vincent Legaf’s reworking of the enduring US hit Let’s Make a Deal, on weeknightly between 1998 and 2004. As you will see, it shares rather a lot stylistically with modern Lagaf show Cresus.

More than usual, we’re having to guess a little bit with this one, so if we’re getting it wrong somewhere please let us know.

This is the show’s mascot, Bill, who is an alien. The “backstory” (if you like) is that he crashed into Lagaf’s television studio and decided to stay there and offer deals, which he does from his own screen. He is voiced by Gilles Vautier, and those of you who have been paying close attention will realise that it’s the same guy who went on to “be” Cresus.

In this title sequence, he puts together the individual letters of the words “Le Bigdil” in various comic ways.

That’s Legaf in the middle with his Gaffettes, doing a dance number to open the show.

Bill inside his crashed UFO.

Right, this is embarrassing, we don’t know who she is. My guess is she’s one of the Gaffettes, and they rotate on a show by show basis.

Her job is to sit in the backroom with the waiting contestants, introduce them to camera and bring them out.

If you can fill in what we’re missing, please leave a comment.

And now coming down from the balcony, it’s tonight’s contestants!

A quick introduction by way of name (Lagaf may also be asking a silly question here, actually).

There are seven contestants. Right now, five of them will leave and sit in the waiting room, whilst the other two will participate in…

…tonight’s first deal!

Right, this is quite difficult to make out from the picture so I’ll describe it.

The two of them are on a swing – you can just about make them out on the left. Attached to the A-frame are buckets full of balls, and to the left and right of the frame you should be able to make out some baskets (you can definitely see the backboards, at any rate).

The idea is each partner picks up a ball when they’re next to a bucket, and chuck the ball into the opposite basket when you reach the height of your swing.

Everytime they score a goal, they score €75. I think they’re partners, so the money is shared.


But there’s slightly more to it than that. Halfway through the game, Bill instructs them to stop, and the clock is stopped.

They’ve won €600. they now have a choice – they can decide they’re onto a good thing and decide to keep going… or they can swap their money for what’s behind the big curtain. To make things a bit more difficult, if they continue the game, they’ll be offered a second, different prize to swap for their cash right at the end. The prize could be good, but it could also be highly worthless.

The aim is to get the best prize possible, because the value of your prize determines who gets first refusal at the Bigdil at the end of the show.

They’ve gone for it, the curtain parts…

And they’ve won a trip to New York, valued at about €3,000! Well done them. We will see them again at the end of the show.

Our next contestant is bought out.

The waiting room looks very pleasant and comfortable, actually.

And after some messing around from Lagaf (we’d show more of this, still pictures don’t really do the man justice) it’s time for the Bigathlon.

The Bigathlon is a set of skill based tests for a rising jackpot. Each test (we think) has its own seperate kitty. If you think you can beat the existing record on one of the tests, you can write or phone in and you’ll get to be a contestant on the show.

Everytime a test is failed, €1,500 is added to the kitty for it up to a maximum of €15,000.

Here’s the page we’re basing our information on, incidentally.

Cagnotte means “kitty”.

His challenge is to keep the ball in the air for the minute, whilst achieving as many bounces as possible. He gets over 125, and wins the €7,500 for his trouble. The game did not stop halfway.

He is, however, offered to swap his money for what’s behind the curtain. He doesn’t, but maybe he should have as it was a car.

Next contestant is bought out, as is a giant stereo and four giant cans.

The resident DJ.

He’s going to mix and scratch three records. If she can guess who made the record, she’ll get to pick a can and win the prize inside.

There’s lots of dancing and jumping camera shots.

Here our contestant has won a camera. Lagaf gets his picture taken with the girls, and tries to also get a shot of the cleavage of the woman on his right.

She takes the opportunity to swap her prizes for the curtain – which is a bad move, because there was just a cuddly sheep behind it.

But there’s more surprise. Inside one of her cans was a smaller can, and it was revealed after she turned down the curtain that inside the smaller can was the key to a hotel, which we’d assume was a few nights in a swanky hotel.

Our next contestants are two bagpipers. In true trad. arr. comedy fashion, her microphone is switched off whilst the pipers play so we can’t hear her.

These two are going to duel to see who has the biggest set of lungs.

Inside each of those props is a balloon. And pointing down from the top of the alcoves is a large pin.

Our contestants must race to blow up the balloon using the given pipe. The first one to blow it up wins a prize.

A coin is flipped to determine who gets choice of balloon. But Lagaf fails to catch it and it rolls several metres along the ground.

And the red balloon is aboutt to go!

The winner wins a holiday, and declines the curtain, which had a kids quadbike behind it.

Commercial break.

The final deal is set outside. Lagaf is wearing a Team Lagaf jacket, Team Lagaf being his production team, presumably.

He’s in a special skiddy car. There are ten giant inflatable pins dotted around the car park, and he must use sharp turns to skid the car round and knock them down with the car’s backside. Each pin knocked over in the correct fashion scores €200. Note that just reversing into one will not do, it has to be a skid. Any pins reversed into are just removed from play.

At the halfway point he’s asked if he wants to stop the game and take what’s the behind the curtain.

He doesn’t. Bad decision.

He knocks the rest of the pins over in the last 45 seconds with time to spare, banking €1,600 for his troubles.

Whilst Team Lagaf tidy everything away and prepare for Le Bigdil (which you can see on the right of the screen), Bill does some salesmaning on the viewers, crediting the sponsors and whatever.

Back in the studio, our driving contestant is offered what’s behind the curtain in exchange for the money he’s just won. He declines, which was a good decision as there was just a kids croquet set behind it.

And it’s time for the grand finale – le Bigdil!

The contestants come back down the stairs and line up in order of the value of the prizes they’ve won.

The guy who won €7,500 on the Bigathalon is tonight’s big winner and gets first refusal at the Bigdil.

Three of Bill’s family are on the screen, each of them has a prize – one is pretty worthless, one is moderate, one is big and super.

But he doesn’t want to risk his winnings, so he goes to the back of the pack.

In fact, everyone refuses up until cuddly sheep woman. We notice Lagaf asks the losing bagpipe game player if (we think!) he would have gone for it. Which is probably funny because we don’t think he won anything.

There are the wife and kids. We don’t know if the symbols actually relate to anything.

First she’s asked to eliminate one of them. She eliminates the big jug.

Smart move! If she had went for tha in the end, she’d have swapped her sheep for watermelons.

Now she must decide which of the remaining two will be her prize.

Lagaf goes down the row of contestants asking for advice.

She goes for the yellow dog…

And it’s yet another car! Amazing.

And her mum runs down from the audience to congratulate her.

And that’s Le BigDil! Lots of fun I’m sure you’ll agree, and it must have been a complete monster in terms of getting through ideas.

We think 50 minutes is slightly too long for it though – it’d work fine in a 30 minute slot. There’s only so much zaniness you can take in one sitting.

This article was originally written in 2006, the following comment was left in the original comment box:

Hey Brig… thanks for your comments!  

The lady in the back is Rosa – she used to be one of the Gaffettes in the front, but they moved her into the back. Also it wasn’t always a DJ in the music game, often they’ve had other people… IIRC there was a polka band in the cycle as well. 

OT – I mentioned once to my friends at the Uni while in France that I watched this show and they changed their opinion of me!

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