Algerian TV nostalgia


A selection of clips I found on youtube, of Algerian TV programmes since independence. It is by no means exhaustive. Enjoy!

News & Political Analysis Programmes

Sample news bulletins from Octobre 1962 – 70s : one thing that stuck me in these clips is that they are all in black and white! (Joke) No it was actually that all presenters are men who look pissed off by what they’re reading. The only thing that has changed nowadays is that now, we’ve discovered that this phenomenon is not only restricted to Algerian male news-readers. I hesitated to use the word ‘presenters’ here for obvious reasons. Also, note how the presenter keeps referring to political leaders as ‘el akh‘ (literally brother but, if we take the polico-economic context of the time the actual meaning might be closer to comrade).
The excellent “Meeting the Press” (1990) (في لقاء الصحافة): an iconic programme which was a product of the then newly-emerging Algerian democracy, now sadly deceased (the show and Algerian democracy alike).

Entertainment Shows

The last ever “Bled Music” (early 90s): this was a very popular show that dramatically departed from the ‘conventional’ way of presenting progammes which had dominated Algerian TV for decades since independence. The presenters were three young and dynamic people (two guys and a girl) and each one of them acted out a persona that was typical of various classes of Algerian urban youth of the epoch. My parents thought these young people didn’t behave properly at all, the way they were bouncing about on telly! However, this didn’t discourage me from being a dedicated fan of “Bled Music“. In fact, I think it rather encouraged me!

The quizz show “The Five Riddles” (الألغاز الخمسة) (late 80s): a show where people were presented with 5 questions to answer during the show by phoning in in order to win a prize. I find that despite the terrible quality of production, the presenters were very professional and quite charismatic, much more so than present day presenters of the ENTV.

Children Shows

“The Enchanting Garden” (الحديقة الساحرة) (1971): this show was produced by Algerian TV and was (still is) considered a source of national pride. The show also featured Hdidouane and Mma Messaouda.

Comedy Shows

“Without Borders” (1990s) (بلا حدود): comedy show from Oran. This was an innovation in Algerian TV where comedy seemed to be monopolized by Eastern cities (eg. أعصاب و أوتار ) and Algiers. I remember back then how awful I found the accent from Oran, but quickly became a fan of Western Algerian humor. The show uses authentic and typical social situations and addresses cultural and social issues with an excellent sense of self-derision.

18 thoughts on “Algerian TV nostalgia

  1. You guys must be very young and don’t remember the 1960s. Television was all black & white during more of my youth and all my life actually (we couldn’t afford a color TV and by the 1970s i left the country already) and in the 1960s, the broadcast used to begin around 6:30 or 7:00 pm and end around 11 or midnight. The news were pure propaganda and i still remember the name of one the presenters: boukaabeche (you are right, Al-akh meant comrade literally), and we used to have these long Indian movies–3 hours or so and they reran them almost every other month. I even i still remember the title of one of them, (i watched it several times and it is not like i had the choice) was “la terre notre mere” or something like that…a crazy story really. If we didn’t have Indian movies, then we had Soviet movies from the 1950s glorifying Stalin and the Bolsheviks and stuff like that. Oh well, memories.

    • hahaha laseptiemewilaya riveting stuff!!! Please tell us more from this glorious epoch, in particular with regards to the news bulletins as I have noticed from the frist clip that:
      – The first news bulletin after independence was in French!
      – After that news bulletins were delivered in Algerian and not the formal classical Arabic used today. Only later did formal Arabic start to be used, did that coincide with the arabization policy perhaps?
      – Back in the 60’s, the President inaugurated food malls it seems! I suppose it is progess that he now inaugurates highways and new universities. But I also noticed that Ben Bella wore fighting gear and not suits. It just looks so crazy now.
      – The clip which shows Boutef: he didn’t look so short as now, did he shrink or were Algerians much shorter on average than they are now? Have anthropometric studies been performed? I read somewhere that it was due to colonization and malnutrition.
      – All presenters were male, who was the first Algerian female news presenter and when did she appear?

      I hope your memory stretches back far enough to provide answers for these puzzling questions lol!! You were lucky enough to have a telly of your own, my parents tell me they didn’t have a telly at all, but (male) neighbors gathered in cafés or brought a telly from somewhere whenever Boumediene was speaking, to watch the speech. The radio was more accessible.

      • I can stretch and torture my memory from 1962 to the mid-70s. After that, i left the country and i don’t know what happened.

        Yes, all journalists/presenters were male. There were no women at the time at all on TV (news, that is). At least, i don’t remember seeing one. And all the guys had mustaches, i remember that distinctively. Just after the independence–i.e., 1962 to about 64–news were in French and a mixture of colloquial Arabic. Then, we got the generation of Boukaabeche, Belbahri etc who spoke classical Arabic and that coincided with Boumediene’s coup in 1965. I think we have to remember that most of the first generation of presenters/journalists studied and got their trained in Egypt right after the independence. Maybe that’s why they spoke that stern and formal Arabic, which was not popular at all. I think my mom stopped watching news just after that. She didn’t understand Arabic at all (the classical one). She did not speak it. Her language was Chaoui and colloquial Arabic, not the classical one. Actually, very few people spoke classical formal Arabic back then. Benbella’s speeches were in colloquial Arabic mixed with French.

        What else? Your parents are absolutely right. Most people did not own a television. Growing up, we didn’t have one until late 1964 or early 65 (my dad bought it from a Yugoslavian doctor who was going back home). Before that, we used to watch the news or some programs or football games (mostly CRB, every Sunday they were on tv) in our neighbor’s house. Everyone did actually.

        As for Benbella, yes he used to wear fatigues a lot and shirts/suits without a collar–they were called chemise Moa or collet Moa–and he was the king of populism. Anyways, it was a weird and awkward period, but it seems to me that people were nicer back then and minded their manners more than now. In many ways, we are still that country.

      • I tried to reply to your comment several times and every time it quits on me. That’s weird.

        Sorry if you get several (almost the same) replies to your comment. Not totally my fault and please delete them or edit them out.

        • laseptiemewilaya

          Brilliant! Really enjoyed your comment. Benbella king of populism hahahaha whenever you start talking about Algerian politics and politicians I just get the giggles. I too think people back then were better behaved, it might be because they lived in fear for so long even under Boumediene. But now when they felt eddenia sayba it’s become a jungle. I would have said it’s ‘normal’ had it not been for the fact that we’re supposed to be Muslims and so accountable to Allah before being accountable to any creature. As for national TV, they still recount every detail of the President’s day in the news bulletins, it’s so boring! Even barqiyat tahni2a bi 3id el inqilab el 3askari el Mali will be publicized soon, the problem is that there are so many inqilabet 3askariya in the region it could well take up all days of the year to go through them all!

        • If you have the opportunity, listen to one of Benbella’s speeches and you will see what i am talking about.

          Boumediene also was a populist, emperor of populism if we have to give him a formal title 🙂

          I think it is my absolute cynicism that makes you laugh, and you find it funny. Hey, it’s better to make you smile than make you mad 🙂

        • Indeed laseptiemewilaya, indeed! Your die hard cynical style does bring joy to at least one reader. You’re right, better laugh than cry eh, this country is going down the pan either way so let’s look on the bright side of life 🙂 You know what, I started a draft a while ago about Algerian leaders, hopefully I will gather enough motivation to finish and post it soon.

        • I should do what you do–i.e., start a draft and work on it and then post it.

          Most of my post are spur-of-the moment-posts.

          PS: did you notice how the French or should i say, Sarkozy’s supporters are cussing me out these days? I delete almost 10 comments every day since i posted a few not-so-flattering posts on Sarkozy. The last one seems to have hit the jackpot though.

        • I actually remembered the draft when you said in your previous comment that I should watch Benbella speeches to understand what you mean. I think writing on the spur of the moment is the best way because otherwise drafts will just never be completed like the draft I remembered. I read the comment on your blog, and for a minute I thought this must be Sarkozy in disguise. The commentator sounded just like him lol!

  2. Ah ya Algerianna. Fakkartina fliayamates…
    On a beau dire, à l’époque où on n’avait que cela comme distraction, on l’aimait bien l’unique. On aimait ses rituels, on se moquait du mousselsel de 19h qui captivait la clientèle féminine, on veillait pour les variétés du jeudi soir… les speakerines, al akh azzouz pour nous annoncer le hilal du ramadhan… Le ciné-club avec Ahmed Bejaoui et son arabe approximatif…
    Ma période préférée est évidemment celle de “liqaa ma3a essahafa” et “Bled music”, la brève époque de Abdou B. comme directeur, Kamel dynamite à la platine, Mourad Chebbine au micro… Kamel 3alouani au 20h.
    Je me souviens comme si c’était hier de l’émission avec Abbassi Madani… Bachir Rezzoug parmi les journalistes… J’ai fouillé Youtube, en vain, à la recherche de la vidéo d’une émission sur la drogue où l’invité Mohammed Ali Allalou a fait une intervention remarquable… Et Allalou, tiens, et la chaîne 3 dont sont issus les animateurs de Bled music et l’émission “sans pitié”, rendez-vous incontournable du jeudi après-midi qui parodiait l’Unique… Ah la chaîne 3! qui n’a fait que dégringoler depuis.

    Un ami comparait l’Algérie à une voiture qui ne démarre pas. On a beau actionner la clé de contact, on n’entend que le bruit du démarreur qui tourne dans le vide… et rani khayef ettih la batterie, m’a-t-il dit. Je lui ai dit : je te jure que j’ai entendu le moteur tourner en 1989, je l’ai vu à la télé, dans les institutions du pays, dans les lois… mais au moment de mettre la première, il a calé…

    Abdou B. est décédé en décembre dernier, Bachir Rezzoug en 2008, Kamel dynamite, Kamel 3alouani, Mourad Chebbine, je ne sais pas ce qu’ils sont devenus… Mohamed Ali Allalou bat le pavé à Paris, je l’ai vu il y a quelques années dans un concert au cabaret sauvage..

    Enfin, séquence nostalgie, dans une Fiat Ritmo bleue, aux yeux ronds… écoutons la blus belle chanson du monde (bon, je suis un peu partial… ) mais même Djiliali est mort.

    • Un ami comparait l’Algérie à une voiture qui ne démarre pas. On a beau actionner la clé de contact, on n’entend que le bruit du démarreur qui tourne dans le vide… et rani khayef ettih la batterie, m’a-t-il dit. Je lui ai dit : je te jure que j’ai entendu le moteur tourner en 1989, je l’ai vu à la télé, dans les institutions du pays, dans les lois… mais au moment de mettre la première, il a calé…

      C’est vrai et c’est ce qui me tue. Having been so close and yet so far…gallak wsal lel 3ein aw mashrabsh, hadi hiya la tragédie taa lalgiri.
      Les criminels des deux camps nous ont volé notre liberté, ils ont tout saccagé et maintenant ils sont devenus alliés, l’Ange de la mort s’est chargé du reste. Nous sommes maudits ya dini.
      Hayla la chanson, ana kanet te3djebni oughniyet Noudjoum Essaff, surtout le clip hahahaha. Vraiment les clips taa les chansons algériennes wahad’hom. Sinon la catégorie foukaha ramadaniya c’était quoi ton programme préféré?

      • Foukaha ramadaniya, c’était pas vraiment ce que je trouvais (trouve) drôle. Au dernier Ramadan, j’étais au pays et on m’a parlé de la série de Jam3i family, on m’a dit, tu vas voir ce que tu vas voir… résultat, j’ai pas rigolé une seule fois. Biyouna, me donne envie de gerber…

        Je vais encore passer pour un vieux con qui se désole 3la ayyam zman mais il y avait du travail d’écriture par exemple dans le peu de productions de l’époque surtout au théatre.La troupe de Constantine par exemple était d’un très bon niveau…

        Mon programme du ramadan préféré je le regarde en direct fel houma. Même s’il y a une grande partie qui est inracontable, il y a des péhnomènes plus drôles que tout ce que peut imaginer les scénaristes de l’ENTV.

        • Qatkhal
          I never could understand why Jam3i Family is so popular, doesn’t make me laugh but there is a good effort production and mise-enscène wise – a definite improvement. Beyouna, oh my God, this woman is just embarrassing but she is a good wake-up call on how low we sank as a society.

          As for your friends in the houma, maybe if the media will be privalized and there will be freedom of expression, these talents will find their way to mainstream TV, cinema and the theatre. Maybe in a century or so lol.

  3. good job what channels did algeria have before 1962
    I guess here are some new kids trying their hand in comedy/tv or what have you
    adeltupac

    dzjoker

    also before watching a video on Djezzy Prodigies I didn’t know algeria had any
    magicians

      • Prior to 1962, the only television channel was “RTF” (radio television francaise) and most Algerians didn’t watch it because very few owned a tv set, and i mean a handful of indigenous Muslims (that’s how the french used to formally call us) had the power and the wealth to own one.

  4. @ Algerianna, these TV programs are parts of our collective memory.
    We can say a lot about “La RTA” but…whenever it is recalled it is always with real nostalgia …deep sighs and sad smiles…
    Strange is this feeling to share the same (childhood/teenage) memories with people we don’t know. It makes us feel, for a while, that we, who come from different walks of life and from different parts of, not only Algeria but the whole world, we actually belong to the same “big” family …sharing the same memories.
    Sadly…this beautiful feeling, new generations may…never know.

    • Defo BentAljazair! Thank God for that, at least it is comforting to think that despite all the misfortunes of this country, we have some nice things to hang on to. It is a shame today’s generations seem largely deprived of that, but I think this is due to globalization. Maybe they just have other references to identify with and I think they still feel part of a big family, the same as ours even, but they express it differently. I think that the bond with the Mother Land is very tough to break, despite all appearances. It might be weakened of course but generally, most people would feel strongly about what they perceive as their ‘home’ land. Look at how Algerians from all walks of life and anywhere on the planet still feel something for Algeria, despite everything. We Algerians are a bunch of sentimental souls deep down, the problem is when we lose it, we lose it BIG TIME! :p

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