While on British television the hand-held microphone might be considered a thing of the distant past – the French seem to have a perpetual obsession with it.

These somewhat phallic (yet colourful) objects feature most prominently during the coverage of live sporting events. Not just on the field of play though; if the coverage takes place in a studio at TV centre – handhelds are de rigeuer. During a variety show or cabaret, the same applies. In fact I can’t think of many situations when a hand-held microphone is not the preferred option.

But why? Are they just too cheap or too lazy to bother? A french friend told me it was because it made the show feel more ‘dynamique’.

Personally I suspect it might have something to do with the manufacterers of discreet radio microphones neglecting to provide instructions in French.