Les Cinq Dernières Minutes

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Les Cinq Dernières Minutes
Genre Crime
Created by Claude Loursais
Written by Claude Loursais
Starring Raymond Souplex
Country of origin France
Original language(s) French
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 149
Producer(s) Claude Loursais
Running time 90 minutes
Original network RTF, Antenne 2
Original release 1 January 1958 (1958-01-01) – 20 December 1996 (1996-12-20)

Les Cinq Dernières Minutes (The Last Five Minutes) is a crime based French television series, created by Claude Loursais, broadcast from 1 January 1958 till 20 December 1996. The show was aired in four series on several channels.

The first series was broadcast in 56 episodes between 1 January 1958 and 7 November 1973 on RTF. After an intermediary series of four 90 minute episodes were broadcast from 19 July 1974 to 16 January 1975, a second 72 episode series was broadcast from 1975 to 1993, then a third 17 episode series from 1993 to 1996 was broadcast on Antenne 2.


Les Cinq Dernières Minutes was the first long-running series about police inquiries on French television. Each episode is based on an investigation where the viewer, accompanied by Commissioner Inspector Antoine Bourrel and his assistant Deputy Dupuy, must find clues which will help find the culprit. The programme often takes place in unconventional environments or situations, such as at a racecourse, scrap dealers, the Eiffel tower or a commercial printing business.

At the beginning, the series was a gameshow, which was filmed in studio and broadcast live. Two selected viewers took part and had to guess who was guilty when inspector Bourrel said the famous line: "Good God! But it’s… Of course!". Each of the two contestants had the opportunity to repeat two parts of the show, which would also be seen by the audience at home. This famously happened during the pilot episode when glasses of Champagne were given out. In some of the original episodes, there was also participation from the viewers at home, but this was abandoned during the first series.


Over time, many actors and personalities have featured on the show, including: Micheline Boudet, Jean-Pierre Andréani, Françoise Fabian, Guy Kerner, Ginette Leclerc, Rellys, Pierre Brasseur, Henri Virlogeux, Bernard Fresson, Henri Crémieux, Jacques Monod, Henri Vilbert, André Valmy, Robert Vattier, Serge Gainsbourg, Christian Rauth, Sylvain Joubert, Marie Marquet, Serge Martina, Anémone, Jean Topart, Jean-François Poron, Paul Le Person, Jess Hahn, Marie-Georges Pascal, Pierre Clémenti, Michel Robin

The series also introduced many young actors to the audience, such as Yves Rénier. Interestingly, Marc Eyraud was the only actor to play in the first, intermediary and second series.

Series One[edit]

Intermediary Series[edit]

Series Two[edit]

Series Three[edit]

Pierre Santini : Commissioner Massard (1993-1996)

Pierre Hoden : Inspector Antoine Barrier (1993-1996)



This programme was extremely successful until the main actor Raymond Souplex left in November 1972. In recognition of his character, the following commissioners were no longer called Bourrel, but instead, Le Carré, Cabrol and Massard.

Besides Claude Loursais, many directors have written for this programme, notably Jean-Pierre Decourt, Bernard Hecht, Jean-Yves Jeudi, Guy Lessertisseur, Raymond Pontarlier and Guy Séligmann. The scripts for the first series were mostly written by Jean Cosmos, Fred Kassak and Louis C. Thomas

The theme music played (on trumpet by Pierre Thibaud) during the opening sequence is called Arsenic blues and was composed by Marc Lanjean

The programme was referenced by Gotlib in many of his comic strips, Rubrique-a-brac. Raymond Devos also references it in one of his sketches, "Ma derniere heure est arrivée".

External links[edit]