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Exclusive: Why Ten Percent star Jack Davenport won't be watching the original Call My Agent

The new series has landed on Amazon Prime Video

Remakes can go either one of two ways: they can turn into soaring successes that eclipse the original (the US version of The Office being a prime example of this), or they can crash and burn. We have a strong feeling that the new British reboot of Call My Agent!, which makes its debut on Amazon Prime Video today, will find itself joining the ranks of the former.

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Penned by the BAFTA-winning writer behind W1A and Twenty Twelve, the British adaptation Ten Percent — so named after the cut agents typically take from their stars' fees — likewise follows a group of talent agents scrambling to keep their clients happy and their business afloat. The only difference? It's set in London.

Speaking exclusively with HELLO! about the new series, star Jack Davenport and writer John Morton opened up about recreating the magic of the original French series, the show's high-profile cameos and their hopes for many more seasons...

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WATCH: Ten Percent is available in the UK on Amazon Prime Video now

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For John, the prospect of remaking a show that not only has been a huge hit with audiences but has been met with critical acclaim was daunting, to say the least.

"You feel an immediate sense of responsibility to the original show and to people that like it," he admits. "You never want to mess things up and there is a real danger with [remaking something] that you might damage the thing you've been given to play with."

However, Pirates of the Caribbean star Jack, who plays Jonathan Nightingale, one of the head agents at a fictional London-based talent agency, has not watched the original series and has no plans to do so anytime soon.

"When I got the job I thought to myself, 'I can't watch it now,'" he says, revealing that he had it recommended by both friends and the Netflix algorithm but thought watching Thibault de Montalembert's portrayal of his character's French counterpart Mathias "would just be too confusing at this point".

"When I'm done, whenever that may be I absolutely will because I feel like there's this wonderful thing that I've only seen a little sliver of that I want to enjoy."


Viewers may or may not be surprised to learn that many of the absurd and amusing storylines in the show are rooted in reality but are not strictly taken from real life.

"What you're trying to do is create things that haven't happened but could or might have believably," John says, revealing that the stage fright crisis Dominic West goes through in episode three was inspired in part by an old actor friend who admitted that he fantasised about walking out of the stage door and into the streets of Soho ahead of the curtains going up.

However, Jack adds: "The scenarios for all of our guests throughout the season felt very real to me.

"They deal with issues that are real things in our business. Because of the money being spent, and the time pressures and all of that, the stakes are very high and so if anything does deviate from the norm, the potential for farce is a hair's breadth away. So it felt alarmingly close to documentary realism, albeit with better gags."

Like the French version, the show features a celebrity cameo in almost every episode - and the line-up of stars the show has managed to secure reads like a list of the hottest actors working in the UK right now.

"You don't just get points for turning up," Jack says, revealing that Downton Abbey star Dominic, along with the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, David Oyelowo Emma Corrin and Bridgerton's breakout star Phoebe Dyenvor who appear as fictionalised versions of themselves were really put through their paces and asked to bring their A-game to the show.

"The situation is both real and oddly revealing," he says of their performances. "Watching them as actors wrestle with choosing what to reveal and not reveal, I found it delightful and weirdly sort of delicious."

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The original French creator, Fanny Herrero, had no involvement in the UK version but according to John, she has given the show her full approval. “I don't know how I'd feel if someone was playing with something I'd done like that, but she said she really liked it.” 

As for the show's future, both are hopeful that it will run for many more seasons. "It's out of our hands, really. It's literally above my paygrade," John says. "Obviously, we're all hoping this is something that's going to have a life beyond one series, but it's not up to us.

"I'm being British and I haven't allowed myself to invest emotional time and energy into thinking that there might be more, although I hope to God that there are."

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Jack ends our conversation with what is possibly the strongest endorsement to check out the Amazon series - and for the powers that be to renew it: "Roles this good don't come around very often."

"From that point of view, you know, I'd love to do it again. Like John, I'm an easily mortified English man but truthfully, the show is really good. I've rarely been prouder to be in anything if I'm honest."

Ten Percent is available in the UK on Amazon Prime Video now; in the US, it will be available on Sundance Now on April 29.

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