An estimated eight million French TV viewers saw a short feature on Alnmouth on New Year’s Eve.
As reported by the Gazette last month, the programme, which was filmed in early December by French TV station TF1, featured local artist Francesca Simpson and included the Village Golf Club, the haunted Schooner Hotel, the Ferryman’s Hut and residents enjoying mince pies in the Village Tearooms.
Each year, TF1 shows a typical English village during the winter and this year Alnmouth was selected, because of the view from the train seen by a TF1 team who had been travelling from London to Edinburgh.
The feature billed Alnmouth as ‘l’un des plus beaux villages du pays’ – one of the most beautiful villages in the country.
Francesca said: “I wasn’t sure when it would be broadcast, but shortly after midday on New Year’s Eve, I started to get lots of messages from France.
“There was one from a lady in Survilliers who wanted to buy one of the paintings which was shown.
“Another lady from Switzerland contacted me, saying ‘I’ve just discovered your seascapes on TV. My son (eight years old) just told me: ‘Maman, I’d like one of her masterpieces at home, her work is incredible.’
“I’ve also been contacted by people in Northumberland wanting to buy two of the paintings which featured.
“They had seen the programme on social media. The reaction has been quite amazing.”
Gaetan Lecointe, TF1’s news producer who came to Alnmouth, said: “Regular correspondence from our viewers highlights their interest in wanting information about the UK and there are 400,000 French people living in the UK who are also keen to know more.”
The four-minute-plus segment can still be viewed online via the TF1 website, although it is obviously in French and even the Alnmouth residents have been dubbed into French.
You can watch it at http://tinyurl.com/mq5el4a