For at least a decade, which ended somewhere in the mid 1980s, all British schoolchildren were taught not just French, but Longman Audiovisual French, a cutting edge combo of green illustrated textbooks and ‘slide tape’, the technologically cumbersome combination of a strip of celluloid with pictures on, mounted onto an overhead projector and manually wound on from one picture to the next by the teacher at the sound of the ‘bing!’ on the narrative soundtrack played on a big old blocky cassette player with integrated speaker. Stars of this low-tech son et lumière were La Famille Marsaud, a rather starchy small town petit bourgeois nuclear unit, drawn in an appropriately stiff manner with lots of awkward sideways-on posing. Sadly, Les Marsaud never seemed to get up to the sort of racy activities The French were supposed to (at least, according to Tom O’Connor and BBC2 film seasons). Monsieur Marsaud was always dans le jardin, Madame Marsaud perpetually dans la cuisine. Scallywag son Jean-Paul was forever en retard pour l’ecole, and the Jane Birkinesque Marie-France spent a suspicious amount of time hanging around with Monsieur Lafayette, le facteur. Then there was Claudette, who, er… skipped a lot. Life in provincial France was, the hapless student couldn’t help but conclude during a long Thursday afternoon of ecoutez et repetez travail, rather dull.