Helen Shingler – Madame Maigret

Maigret Couple Davies Shingler

Friend of the blog Berthold Deutschmann has written this interesting article (in addition to supplying an impressive piece of artwork) about Helen Shingler, who played Madame Maigret in the classic 1960’s BBC series

According to the latest dates on the Internet, Helen Shingler (“Madame Maigret”) recently celebrated her 100th birthday, on August 29th, 2019. I have found just one birthday greeting. Actually, I read somewhere that she would belong to a list of “forgotten actors”. I was taken aback by that. And Rupert Davies would be a “forgotten actor”, too. I don’t believe it! At least in Germany both are still known as the ideal tv Maigret couple. In fact, from the DVDs you might get the impression, the Maigrets are still in deep love, even after many years of marriage. This is played so convincingly, that a friend of mine believes there could have been a real relationship between the two actors. I do not agree with her, because I think, both were absolutely loyal to their own familiy.

As for the Maigret tv series, Mrs. Shingler’s desire was to have a bit more influence on the solution of the murder cases of her tv husband, Chief Inspector Maigret. I know of just one case in which she really can help him, shown in the episode “The White Hat” (German version: “Madame Maigret als Detektiv”). Gererally, she remains the housewife in the Maigret flat at Richard Lenoir Boulevard in Paris, but still she is absolutely essential for “Monsieur Maigret”. He would not be the successful Sureté commissaire without her at his side, or in the background, at home. On the writing desk in the commissioner’s office at Quai des Orfèvres there is put up, quite obviously, her framed picture.

For my comic-style illustration I had a scene in mind, in which Madame, for the time being, happens to know more than Monsieur, perhaps some fine detail that could be helpful to solve the current crime mystery. I hope you will like my work.

Below is an interview with Helen Shingler, conducted by Sheila Purcell, from 1962.

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3 thoughts on “Helen Shingler – Madame Maigret

  1. Thank you for your marvellous piece on Maigret. I was born in the early Sixties so would not remember this series, though I have heard good things about it.

    Sadly many actors like Rupert Davis and Helen Shingler are forgotten Actors, as Television moves on, bringing new talent to the fore.

    The sad fact is Maigret, even the Nineties version with Michael Gambon are no longer repeated.

    Fortunately in the UK, there is a digital channel called Talking Movies TV that shows old film and TV Series. I have been fortunate to re-discover Actors like Derren Nesbit (who starred in a recent film, at the age of 83), Rita Tushingham, Shirley Ann Field, Robert Stephens, Dinsdale Langton and many more.

    Sadly nothing from the BBC Archives appears on this Channel.

    Maybe we should write to the Head of BBC Four to show more drama from its archive, if they still exist and the tapes haven’t been wiped.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your answer, Daniel. Luckily you can get the Gambon Maigret in English on DVD, and so it should be bearable to go on existing without any further repeats on TV. I like that series from the nineties, too, still I miss the original sixties version with Rupert Davies and Helen Shingler. Specially for you, and for those, who only have heard of that b&w series and never seen it, I add my colour photo-collage representing the very first tv series Maigret team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your response Berthold. I will look into getting the 90s Version with Michael Gambon. I liked Michael’s easygoing and understanding nature in his portrayal. I will also look into getting my hands in the original BBC series.

      Can’t say I impressed with Rowan Atkinson ITV’s latest incarnation of Maigret but then I have never been a fan of Atkinson to be bluntly honest but that also comes from my dislike of British ‘Alternative Comedy’, which a top PC-centric for my taste.

      Interestingly, Richard Harris played Maigret in a TV movie in the late 1990s.

      Like

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