Review: Ten Percent, British remake of a French series

Hiftu Quasem in Ten Percent

Ten Percent is a British comedy about theatrical agents. It’s based on the French series Call My Agent. The premise and characters are very much like their French counterparts, except the comedy and style have been made British.

Ten Percent begins with the arrival of a young woman at a talent agency. She is Misha (Hiftu Quasem). She arrives at the exact moment the assistant for agent Rebecca (Lydia Leonard) quits. Without an interview or a CV, Rebecca hires Misha and installs her at a computer.

Lydia Leonard in Ten Percent

Rebecca is the lesbian character. She brings home a different woman every night until she meets the author Margaux (Eléonore Arnaud). She wants to option Margaux’s book, and she quickly becomes attached to having Margaux in her bed.

Maggie Steed and Jack Davenport in Ten Percent

The head of the company Jonathan (Jack Davenport), is gobsmacked by Misha’s arrival. I won’t explain why in case you haven’t watched the French version of this story.

Jonathan’s father, who was the head of the company, dies. That leaves Jonathan and Stella (Maggie Steed) mostly in charge of the company. Stella is always accompanied by a little dog.

Dan (Prasanna Puwanarajah) is the other agent in the office. Zoe (Fola Evans-Akingbola) is the receptionist who dreams of being a star. The assistants besides Misha are Ollie (Harry Trevaldwyn) and Julia (Rebecca Humphries). The assistants provide much of the comedy, but every character is hilarious in their own way.

Poster for Ten Percent

The series works by bringing in a famous guest star(s) for every episode. These people play themselves interacting with their agents. A few in this season were Helena Bonham Carter, Kelly Macdonald, Himesh Patel, Emma Corrin, Phoebe Dynevor, and David Oyelowo.

The agents nurse their actors through all sorts of dilemmas. The actors mess up auditions, they get rejected for parts, they get accepted for parts at the same time as someone else, they’re scared to go on stage, they’re too drunk to work, they make more than their wife in the same movie. The agents try in inept and funny ways to keep them working and making money. Once in a while, an agent shows a streak of courage and wisdom – always welcome.

The agents discover that the agency is in financial difficulty. They argue about what to do and ultimately sell to an American agency. The Americans send over the supremely annoying Kirsten Fürst (Chelsey Crisp). She takes over the place and makes massive unwelcome changes.

Meanwhile the situation with Jonathan and Misha extends to his son Luke (Edward Bluemel) and his wife Charlotte (Natasha Little). A big blowup is in the making there.

Ten Percent is available on AMC+, Amazon Prime, BBC America, possibly on Sundance Now and other streamers. Jessica Swale and MJ Delaney were the women directors. The first season had 8 episodes. I haven’t heard about a renewal, but the French version has had 4 seasons so far.

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