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DVD Review - Paul Haenen Until Now

by Henk Harskamp in Media & entertainment , 24 juni 2012

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Paul Haenen (1946) has been working with Dutch radio and television for almost fifty years and in May his alter ego “Margreet Dolman” will celebrate her thirty-year anniversary in the theater. This was also the reason for the release of a DVD box last year with his work. The box contains four DVDs and offers a good overview of what Haenen has done for television over the past half a century.

In the early sixties Paul Haenen started as a reporter for Minjon, the youth department of broadcast corporation AVRO. In the years after he did journalistic work for various broadcasters for both radio as well as television.

In 1974 he experienced big success with the legendary tv-program “Waar Gebeurd” [Really Happened]. The program consisted of incredible stories and it always ended with the question: “Did it really happen?” and the answer would be: “Yes, it really happened!” (Two of these remarkable stories are included in the compilation DVD box.)

Paul Haenen is probably best known for his voice because he’s been the voice for both Bert and Grover of the Dutch “Sesame Street.” He collaborated on several animation movies.

Together with Frans Halsema he created the successful KRO radio program “Nu Hoor Ik Het Ook” [I hear it now too], but after a Catholic controversy the show was cancelled. One year later Frans Halsema died of throat cancer.

Paul Haenen is a writer as well. He wrote novels, plays and TV-scripts.

(Frans Halsema and Paul Haenen)

In the late eighties he published and edited the literary magazine “Mens en Gevoelens” [Human and Emotions] together with his partner Dammie van Geest.

Professional writers, as well as amateurs could contribute through stories or poems. As long as it was emotional!

From 2006 this magazine turned into a bi-monthly DVD with Margreet doing interviews, reports and sketches.

(Doctor Valentijn and Margreet Dolman)

In 1989 Haenen was given his own TV show. Regular guests were Haenen’s own creations like Dominee Gremdaat, Buster Fonteyn, Bob Guttering and, last but not least, Margreet Dolman, together with her loyal Doctor Valentijn (Dammie van Geest). After almost ten years the program stopped and Haenen worked with several TV stations since.

Paul Haenen has been at the Betty Asfalt Complex in Amsterdam since 1989. The TV-registrations always take place at this homey building on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. During the windowsill conversations we always see the trams go rattling past and Margreet regularly jumps on an unsuspecting passer by.

Since October Paul Haenen has a weekly hour on OutTv. (Until recently one had to have a special package with UPC but now OutTv is included in the Royal package so that a lot more people have the possibility to watch it.) Broadcast is every Sunday night 10 p.m.

Different Styles of Interviewing

In 1975 Margreet Dolman started at Radio Stad Amsterdam with weekly shows. A few years later “she” gained national fame through the telephone conversations with celebrated talk show hostess Sonja Barend at the end of “Sonja’s Goed Nieuws Show” [Sonja’s Good News Show].

From 1982 Margreet Dolman took to the theaters, telephone conversations have always remained part of her act.
Margreet released several records and the songs “Buk nog een keer” [Bent over once more] and “Volg de Weg van je Hart” [Follow the way of your heart] are timeless and still the most requested during shows.

Paul Haenen is always modest, almost humble, when he talks to his guests while Margreet is much bolder and volatile. Paul Haenen is always subdued while Margreet is prone to hysteria when she’s agitated.

Unique Conversations

Sjoerd Kooistra talks in one of the selected interviews about how he built his empire of cafes and bars (at the time of the interview he had fifty-four businesses.)

Arjan Ederveen is in the middle of the process of his tv-series “30 Minutes” when Margreet visits him. During a windowsill conversation with Hans van Manen the window cracks, something that could’ve easily been cut from the program, but wasn’t and made for priceless television.

Margreet Dolman visited the fashion designers Viktor & Rolf twice. In spite of their international success they seem shy. “Are you, or have you been lovers as well?” is one of her questions.

If you want to know the answer, you will have to buy the DVD box. I love these compilation DVDs and I think a lot of you guys will too. So buy the box and enjoy a most unusual interview technique drenched in humor.

Even the camera and photography work is unusual. Sometimes the zoom on people being interviewed is so extreme you only see a mouth or one eye. Not all guests are well-known but with Paul Haenen it doesn’t matter. It’s the way he/she interviews that makes it interesting and fun.

Sometimes you have DVDs that are fun to watch once or twice, but this one you’ll watch again and again. Ramses Shaffy, Hans van Mierlo, Antonie Kamerling and many other guests visit Margreet and you always discover something new about them. That’s a rare gift.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 322, June 2018

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