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Television entertainers gather for Golden Rose

Jennifer Saunders (left) is one half of the British comedy duo French and Saunders, recipients of the honorary Golden Rose

(Keystone Archive)

Television entertainers and producers have gathered in the lakeside resort of Montreux for the annual Golden Rose festival.

The festival, which brings together television industry insiders from around the world, is an international event dedicated to entertainment programming.

The Golden Rose - which is supported by swissinfo's parent company, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation - is also an opportunity to reward those programmes which have made a significant impact on the overseas television market.

A specially selected jury will hand out awards to programme makers for quality, creativity and originality during the six-day run of the festival, which concludes on April 28.

British success

Barbara Holloway, a festival spokeswoman, told swissinfo that British programmes and television producers traditionally perform well at the festival.

"The British always do very well," Holloway said.

"Most years about a third of the finalists are British entries, and this is I guess because they have a long tradition of winning, and so everyone tries very hard every year to get their programme into the competition," she added.

Holloway says entries from other European countries are also of a high standard.

"Germany is probably the second strongest country, and we usually have a very good showing from the Scandinavian countries," she commented.

Taking fun seriously

Festival organisers say the annual event is an attempt to demonstrate that entertainment television can be fun - but should also be taken seriously.

"You can make people think, and you can change people's opinions more by making them laugh and having a good time than anything else," Holloway says.

"Two of the great traditions of broadcasting may be education and information, but the other great one is entertainment, and it always will be."

A special award, the honorary Golden Rose of Montreux, will this year be awarded to the British female comic duo, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

"We've only awarded the honorary Golden Rose ten times in the festival's 42 years," Holloway said.

French and Saunders, who have produced several award-winning comedy programmes for BBC television, are the first women ever to receive the coveted award.

Swiss participation

Though Switzerland hosts the annual industry get-together, organisers say entertainment programmes produced by Swiss television do not feature prominently at the festival.

"In recent years Switzerland hasn't had so many winners, but things always go in circles," Holloway says.

"And maybe next year will be their year."

by Ramsey Zarifeh and Vanessa Mock


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