Charles Tisseyre is an interesting, well-known fellow. (For Anglophones, the spelling of his last name might throw you since it’s not pronounced how it is spelled. Orthographically, it sounds like “Tissère”).
For more than 20 years year, he has been hosting a popular science television show, Découverte, on Radio-Canada. We don’t really have an equivalent of Découverte in Anglophone Canada. It’s not quite like Bob MacDonald’s “Quirks and Quarks”, nor is it necessarily an environmental advocacy program (like David Suzuki’s “Nature of Things”). Rather, it’s almost as if the magazine Popular Science went to Hollywood. (Incidentally, if you like “Popular Science”, you might also like the magazine “Science & Vie” from France, which is very similar to “Popular Science” and which is sold in Québec and in French book stores across Canada). But picture Découverte being narrated in a format similar to David Suzuki’s “Nature of Things”, meaning we hear the narrator, his voice is instantly recognizable, but we don’t see his face during the program. That’s Charles Tisseyre.
Any time he appears on television or the radio, his voice needs no introduction – we all recognize his voice instantly. But his face is also as well-known as David Suzuki’s or Bob MacDonald’s are across English Canada.
Before he became forever associated with Découverte, Tisseyre also hosted the Radio-Canada evening local news in Montréal, and was a journalist in various capacities. He is also the controlling heir of a rather famous publishing house in Québec, geared towards younger readers, named Éditions Pierre Tisseyre (as well known to the public in Québec as perhaps Harlequin Romance would be in Anglophone North America).
Recently, over the last three months or so, Tisseyre has been getting a bit of extra attention – for two very different reasons.
Radio-Canada is facing major budget cuts from Ottawa and is having to let go large numbers of staff and re-engineer some of its programming. Charles Tisseyre, in his capacity as a prominent Radio-Canada journalist, has taken it upon himself to be the spokesperson on behalf of a group of reporters and employees, to voice their discontent with the decision. He has publicly voiced his worries regarding the impact it will have on the quality of programming and Radio-Canada’s role in society. Sometimes his discontent has been highly public, on Tout le monde en parle for example, as well as at the Radio-Canada general meeting (click here for the officially approved YouTube video of the latter).
The second thing to put him square in the lime light is a comedic television advertisement which came out several days ago for the prevention of testicular cancer – and the advertisement has gone viral. Because males of all ages are targeted by the advertisement, the writers decided to give it the greatest impact possible. Although Tisseyre does not appear in the advertisement himself, the voice of the narrator is unmistakenly his – presented exactly in the same format as his TV show Découverte.
To set the scene, couilles means “testicles” (the word “testicules” also exists in French, but it is a bit more formal. In the same breath, In Canada we also say “gosses” to mean couilles or testicules – but in France, gosses means “children”. Thus, it’s always fun to hear people from France talk about their “gosses”). A guinea pig is a Cochon d’Inde in French… but it is also known as a “Cuy”, which has the exact same pronunciation as couilles (or balls / testicles). In the video, Tisssyre narrates how to best conduct a monthly self-examination of your Cuys. While giving the instructions, an actor is holding two guinea pigs in hand, fondling them in various ways and positions. It’s hilarious and has caught on like wildfire. You can view the YouTube version of the advertisement here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBedYZBEu_c.
In closing, Découverte can be viewed across Canada on Radio-Canada every Sunday at 6:30pm, with re-runs on Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm.
The official website can be viewed here: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/decouverte/2014-2015/
Related post on the same topic & just as funny: https://quebeccultureblog.com/2015/03/01/a-bit-of-humour-see-if-you-can-figure-this-out-195/