Pierre a eu la bonne idée de proposer une biographie de Dorothée en anglais pour le public international, la voici donc…
Un grand merci à lui!
Retrouvez ici la version française
Pierre had the good idea to offer a biography of Dorothée in English for the international public, so here it is …
A big thanks to him!

Her childhood :

dorothee-enfantDorothée (Frédérique Hoschedé) was born on 14th July 1953 in Paris, as a coincidence, she was born on Bastille Day, and because of her grand mother, she believed fireworks are fired in his honor! Her mother was a housewife and her father was an engeneer. She has a big brother, Jean-François. She attended a very strict private school in Bourg-la-Reine, close to Paris. During her childhood, she practised dancing, the piano and horse-riding. When she was 11, she won the third prize of a piano competition. Two years later, she visited her penpal Sue in England, she discovered Rock’n’roll, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones…
She passed her Baccalauréat, then she started a BA of English…

The early beginnings :

During her last-but-one high-school year, Frédérique took part in a theatre competition. She was playing a role in a modern version of « Un caprice » by Alfred de Musset. She had directed the play herself! Her troupe won the first prize. One of the jury members was a lady called Jacqueline Joubert who was working for French TV. She particularly noticed her and asked her if she wanted to present a programme. The young woman accepted. Two years later, in 1973, she was contacted and asked to present a short junior program with a funny muppet called Blablatus. Since the firstname Frédérique suits both for males and females, she was given the stage name Dorothée, and her show was called: « Les mercredis de la jeunesse ». But French TV channels were suddenly restructured, and the show was withdrawn.

The wilderness years :

Then, she presented a sequence called “Le club”, the last part of a bigger program called “Les visiteurs du mercredi” (Wednesday’s visitors). She also presented a game show “Réponse à tout” but she lacks confidence and authority in the face of candidates! Unfortunately, the program manageress Eliane Victor declared she was incompetent and that she had better change her job. Dorothée was fired and found herself jobless. She worked as a secretary in a tap factory, then as a waitress, and finally as a sandwish-woman in a supermarket!

Back to TV :

She found a job as light liner on tv sets. Then, the second channel (Antenne 2) organised an announcer casting. She tried it and passed! During the selection, she was supposed to simulate the interview of a director: she was a bit nervous and asked her first question and added “that was not my question at all, but please do answer!”. She delivered her first announce on 1st April 1977.

Récré A2 :

The early years :

In September 1977, Jaqueline Joubert called her again: she wanted to create a new junior show with her: « Dorothée et ses amis ». It was quite successful.
The programme was re-named “Récré A2” in 1978. (a pun meaning: second channel playground). The program was a mixture of cartoons, sequences, funny short films… It was supposed to last only one summer, it actually lasted 10 years! She was both a presenter and an announcer! She presented it with a few other presenters, including a famous French cartoonist: Cabu. He created a funny caricature representing Dorothée with a very long witch-nose! This character became very famous.

The actress and the singer :

In « Récré A2 », Dorothée often had to act and play different roles. Still in 1977, she played in « L’amour en fuite », by François Truffaut. « Récré A2 » became more and more successful, children really enjoyed it! She was asked to reccord a disc containing stories for children, on this disc, she had to sing a couple of verses. She refused first. She finally accepted and reccorded a whole disc of songs called “Dorothée au pays des chansons” (The song’s land) produced by Jean-Luc Azoulay and Claude Berda (AB production). Then, she performed cartoon themes (mainly « Candy Candy » and « The Smurfs »), and dozens of folk songs for a sequence of « Récré A2 » called “Le jardin des chansons” (The song’s garden). At that time, she was a multi purpose star: announcer, singer, actress and presenter! In 1980, she played in another movie « Pile ou face » by Robert Enrico. It was her second and last movie.

The early 80’s :

petit-train-dorotheeIn 1981, the presenters of « Récré A2 » acted in a musical performed in « the Olympia », a famous concert hall in Paris. The show was actullay the adaptation of « Dorothée au pays des chansons », her first album. In 1982, Jean-François Porry, one of her producers, created a whole album for her. From 1982 to 1997, she reccorded one album a year! Her first hits were « Tchou tchou le petit train », « Rox & Rouky », (French theme of the Disney film: « The Fox and the Hound »). The single “Hou la menteuse”/”La valise” was probably the most successful one of her career. The song “La valise” which means « the suitcase » is an enumeration of what she puts in her suitcase, and there will be a new version in every album! The next years, she recorded some of her main hits: « Pour faire une chanson », « Qu’il est bête », « Allo allo monsieur l’ordinateur », « Vive les vacances », « Maman »… and she also got an award for the French theme of the film « Caravan of Courage : An Ewok Adventure », she was also the french narrator of the movie.
She even recorded the song in English but it stayed unedited: “Maybe more than us” (6’52)

In the meantime, she carried out presenting « Récré A2 » and performing on stage in musicals (« Dorothée – Tambour Battant » in 1981 / « Au royaume de Diguedondaine » in 1982. / « Pour faire une chanson » in 1983./ « On va faire du cinéma » in 1985). She was also the leading role of a Christmas show in 1983.

« Récré A2 » the institution :

recrea2-noel-1985« Récré A2 » was broadcast daily, at different moments of the day. Dorothée was assisted by many other presenters: Ariane, Jacky, Corbier, Patrick, Charlotte, Marie, Alain, Zabou… some of them stayed only a few months, others stayed a few years… Many stars were often invited in the show. Dorothée could sing her own songs which was a cheap way of promoting them! In 1986, she made her first real performance (not a musical) in a very big French Concert Hall: Le Zénith.

Le Club Dorothée :

The late 80’s :

In 1987, she had been hosting « Récré A2 » for 10 years. Her producer and she were contacted by a rival channel: TF1. They were offered a high budget, larger studios and attracting salaries. A new show was created: « Club Dorothée », with cartoons, sketches, games… It consisted in a daily show, before school, after school, and almost all day long on wednesday and during holidays, with an audience and 5 presenters: Dorothée, Ariane, Jacky, Patrick and Corbier. All of them coming from « Récré A2 ». In the meanwhile, « Récré A2 » hardly tried to survive but it did not last very long: it was based on Dorothée’s personality and since she was away, the show was not the same. It stopped in 1988 but nobody really cared about it anymore. « Club Dorothée » was really more attractive since children could win expensive gifts, take part to the show… On Wednesday afternoons, the team was hosting a 3 hours performance on stage, with an orchestra: « Les Musclés », who were Dorothée’s official musicians.

The critics :
Even if the program was extremely popular, it was also highly criticized by politics, parents, intellectuals, and teachers. Actually, most of the japanese cartoons were said to be too violent by parents. Besides, the games and the sketches were considered as ridiculous and stupid, sometimes racist. And terrible rumours were going round about Dorothée, pretending she hated children, she had played in porn films, she was interested in money… Many times, she responded to critics by doing allusions in the sketches, the songs… and she also accepted to justify herself in some interviews, saying that people mixed up violence and action. For instance, in one of her song, she says she just does not care about what so-called intellectuals can say about her…

The actress :

Even if she did not play in any other films, she appeared in a few episodes of japanese series and in a British soap called “The Wild Bunch” in 1991. From 1987 to 1992, the whole team played in a weird and loony sitcom called “Pas de pitié pour les croissants” (« No mercy for the croissants »). In one scene of this sitcom, we could see two hobos emptying a bin in which they found a book by the politician Segolène Royal who had criticized them, and telling “this book looks really crap!”. In 1996, she performed the theme of a documentary film “L’enfant des neiges” (« The snow child »).

The singer :

Of course, she had not given up singing! She carried on recording many albums, and most of her songs were great hits: « Docteur », « Attention danger », « La machine avalé », « Tremblement de terre », « Nicolas et Marjolaine », « Chagrin d’amour », « Les neiges de l’Himalaya », « Le collège des coeurs brisés », « Une histoire d’amour », « Bats toi », « 2394 », « Non non ne dis pas », « Bonheur city »… And she also performed a lot of shows : in Le Zenith (in 1988 and 1996) and in Bercy (the biggest concert hall of France) in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996… ! CDs and concert tickets were enormously sold. She is the female singer who has performed the highest number of shows in Bercy (59 times).
Dorothée also performed twice in China!

Around the show :

From 1987 to 1997, « Club Dorothée » was a reference, an institution, Dorothée was everywhere at any time! Her programmes were broadcast about 20 hours a week! Two paper magazines were created and children could order a membership card. Dorothée also presented a few music shows (in 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994) in which she sang with great rock stars like Chuck Berry, Percy Sladge, Cliff Richard, Ray Charles… Her producers also created many sitcoms whose actors went and sang in « Club Dorothée ». From 1993 to 1997, she presented “Des millions de copains” (Millions of friends), a program where people could discover charities. Every Christmas, she organised a toy collect for under-privilledged children: « Le Noël de l’amitié » (Friendship Christmas).

The end :

In 1995, Dorothée’s last album gave rise to conflicts into the disc company: some parts of the contract had not been respected, so, as a consequence, the following CD was botched up and was not sold as much as the previous ones… Besides, her producers wanted to create their own sky-channel, so, that meant rivals for TF1 where « Club Dorothée » was broadcast. So TF1 decided to stop it. The following was still correct but since it had been on for 10 years, they wanted to change. « Club Dorothée » was “killed” little by little. The amount of time of broadcasting was reduced, TF1 did not sponsor her last concert… The last show was on 31st August 1997, with the best moments of these 10 years.

1997-2005 : Where is Dorothée ?

When the show stopped, Dorothée suddenly disappeared, she was almost totally absent of the media even if rumours pretended she would come back as an actress in a serie or in reality TV among has beens… Many fans created websites about her. She only appeared once in 1998 in a show. In 2005, she sponsored a junior musical “Au royaume des bonbons” (« The candies’s Kinddom »). Then she accepted to take part to a few shows as a guest to testify about her generation… Nobody had forgotten her, her fans are now in their 20’s and they miss her. One of them even created remixes of some of her greatest hits!

2008: Dorothée is back !

In March 2008, Dorothée’s producer Jean-Luc Azoulay created a new channel IDF1 (only broadcast in Paris and around) and Dorothée has accepted to present a new show! With most of the members of her ex team, she hosts “Dorothée, choisissez vos animateurs” (« Choose you new presenters ») a sort of “Pop Idol”, and “Pas de pitié pour le net” showing the funniest internet videos! She is present in many festivals, she wrote a part of a book about her generation “Les années Dorothée” (Dorothée years). Some rumours were spread that she would sing again… and this happened to be true. In 2010, a new album was issued, tunes and lyrics were in the direct continuity of her previous songs. Some of them were a tribute to her past. She made a few concerts at « The Olympia Hall in Paris in April, then a very last performance in Bercy Hall in December, but unfortunately, the producer was too ambitious and the tiers were half empty. In addition to that, a snowstorm was falling in France at this time, which prevented many fans from attending the show.

Since 2010 :

dorothee-nicky-larsonDorothée now spends her time in her house in Normandy. She keeps saying in interviews that she would not mind working on TV again, but she waits for the right opportunity. She has appeared very rarely in medias: she hosted a 3 episodes show based on Magic Tricks in 2011, then she took part in the dubbing of a cartoon (« Garfield ») in 2013, she accepted to sing on a special show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bercy Hall in 2015 and she showed up for a cameo appearance in the film « Nicky Larson et le parfum de Cupidon » in 2018. She also appeared episodically in talk-shows to testify about her generation.


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