After four and a half months of absence for health reasons, the Aveyronnaise Marie-Sophie Lacarrau will return this Monday, May 16 at the head of the 1 p.m. news on TF1. The journalist and presenter of the TV news gave an interview to La Dépêche du Midi.
In what state of mind are you before resuming the presentation of the 1 p.m. news on Monday?
I am so happy to finally be able to project myself on this newspaper of May 16th. A new important date for me, I finally turn the page! I am delighted to find the team, all the correspondents in the region and the viewers.
What happened to you ?
I suffered from an eye infection which prevented me from working for four and a half months. It was amoebic keratitis, a rare and severe infection. There are less than 100 cases per year in France. But I always want to find the positive, even in hardships. What I feel is that I come back stronger. I also want to take advantage of what happened to me to send a prevention message. Four million French people wear contact lenses. There are precautions to take. We are told quite easily that we must wash our hands well before handling them. But they forget to warn us against tap water. You should avoid showering with your contact lenses, do not wash your lens case with tap water, do not bathe with them, and never use tap water to clean your lenses.
Because of this keratitis, you had to stay in the dark for several weeks.
Yes indeed. It is a disease that prevents you from living normally. But I was lucky enough to be remarkably followed in Paris. You have to take your pain patiently.
There must have been difficult times?
I am lucky to be of an optimistic nature. I’m sure it helped me tremendously during this time. I focused on healing, trying not to fuss. I think I have arrived there because I am very well surrounded. I also received a lot of support, from my management in the first place. It was told nonsense on some sites.
Me, I knew that I had the absolute confidence of Gilles Pélisson and Thierry Thuillier (Editor’s note: The CEO of TF1 and the channel’s news boss). They called me regularly to hear from me and say that they were waiting for me. The 13 heures team, the correspondents and all the presenters of the TF1 newscasts were wonderful. I also received a lot of messages from viewers. When you feel such a surge of support, you tell yourself that it’s going to be okay!
It must have been frustrating not being able to work on the news of the past few months?
It’s obviously frustrating to no longer have a normal life, it’s also frustrating not to be able to carry the news when, in addition, it accelerates. I was not in charge, but I had no choice. It is the medical time that took precedence over the time of the info even if it must be said that there are much more serious diseases.
Among the sad events, there is the disappearance of Jean-Pierre Pernaut.
I went to Jean-Pierre’s funeral. This is my only public release during this period. I had to be there for him, for all the advice and kindness he gave me during the handover. And then for the teams, his family, loved ones… We were all shaken. We knew Jean-Pierre was sick, but like many, I thought he was invincible. He was strong, he was a rock. It was a test. His disappearance obliges us a little more: we feel a responsibility to wear the 1 p.m. as he imagined it. Of course, we are changing it, but the contract with viewers remains the same. It is the newspaper of proximity, regions, daily concerns.
Jacques Legros replaced you. What did you think of it?
I take my hat off to him! It was he who lived through all this heavy news: the war in Ukraine, the presidential election, the departure of Jean-Pierre with complicated newspapers to do. Jacques had planned to come for two weeks to replace me during the Christmas holidays. He finally stayed for three months. Thanks to him who ensured as he always knew how to do. To allow him to breathe a little, Julien Arnaud came to this edition and slipped into this chair with great ease. My absence forced TF1 to imagine a whole organization.
How is the audience of the JT?
It remains at an exceptional level in today’s audiovisual landscape. It is up to us to continue on this path and strengthen this link with viewers.
Among the operations that you are going to lead, is there “the most beautiful market”?
We have very nice markets in Occitania. Those of Revel and Narbonne are part of the selection. But I can’t say anything, it’s the viewers who vote. On the day of the revelation of the big winner, I will be live from the market who will win. It will be a beautiful 1 p.m.! And then I wait for another beautiful appointment. I am delighted that the list of players for the French football team for the Euro will be unveiled on May 30 in the JT. We vibrated with them during the last World Cup.
Last question: Monday, for your return, will you present with glasses or without?
I could wear contact lenses, but I don’t want to, given what happened to me. Monday, it will either be with glasses and a teleprompter, otherwise without glasses and without a teleprompter. I’m the one who has to make the decision, I’m still hesitating. Answer Monday (laughs).