Well, I don't know what you have been doing for the last three weeks but I have been dipping into a strange series on SBS, which airs rather late at night.

The show features quite a few Australians, despite being set in France.

If you haven't seen it, it may interest you as an SC member because there's often a lot of people riding bikes in it. But they are not the main characters.

Despite each episode running for four (yes, 4!) hours or more, in prime-sleeping-time, I believe a lot of the show's "fans" actually watch it in real time. In this age of hard-disk video recorder ubiquity, this is inexplicable. The value of a fast-forward button and a mute button for this show cannot be understated. These come into their own whenever the main characters open their mouths.

Who, then, are these main characters?

Well, there's one called Tommo who usually introduces each episode by talking in florid terms about some of the people who may be seen riding bikes later on.

Tommo never knows where he is, other than that it's in Fray-ance. He did have a go at telling us he was in somewhere called "Perrygo" the other night. No further enlightened as a result, I quickly stabbed "Fast Forward".

Tommo's often joined by a stocky little bloke, called Macka, who used to ride bikes and is there to explain bike riding to Tommo.

Before each episode gets into a steady cadence, there is a break so that a French bloke, called Gabriel Paté, can talk about food. I usually don't watch this because talk of food makes me hungry and I have to leave to get something to eat.

Last night, unusually, on returning from the kitchen, I caught the end of the segment as M. Paté was filling his face with a gourmet delight of le Périgord, as he authentically pronounced the region's name. The SBS producers had thought it advisable to sub-title him as he deemed it "Good", en Anglais, admittedly with a mouth stuffed full of, er, paté.

Then there's Keeno, who is usually not seen but can be heard droning on and on and on and on in the background, usually over vision of big groups of colourful people riding bikes. While this is all happening, it is best to activate the mute button and watch the scenery scrolling by.

The real stars of the show, almost never seen, are two blokes with funny English accents, named Phil and Paul. They come in late and are semingly employed as the comedy relief. Occasionally they talk about bike riding. Paul apparently used to do that. Ride a bike, I mean.

But bike riding is perhaps the last thing they usually describe. They have many much more interesting subjects to wax lyrical about as they talk over pictures of cyclists sweeping majestically through picturesque Fronsh countryside. This season's series (and yes, hard as it may be to believe, the show has been running for quite a few years now) they have attempted to enlighten us about French farming practices in the Middle Ages, the keeping of elephants as house pets, care and upkeep of the family chateau and many more topics of vital interest to the modern Australian household.

Occasionally they happen to mention the names of some of the people who can be seen riding bikes. My favourites this season are a swarthy Italian guy called Nibberly who seems to be winning everything. (Oh, I hope that's not giving away too much of the plot.)

Then a couple of skinny French riders, Peen-O' and Purr-O'. (I wonder if they're related to our Mr O'?).

Mere mention of the rider in red-and-black, Tea J. Van-gardener, sends me to the kitchen to put on the kettle for tea then out to the herb garden for some mint to put in it.

Others of note have been Tony Galloping, Large Bomb, Raffael Madgeker and Michael Rogers. Sorry, apparently that should be Mickey Dodger.

With a cast of characters like that, no wonder the show is a winner.

If you haven't caught up with it yet, you'd better get the DVD-recorder cranked up tonight because it's the final episode for the season. It's bound to be a cliff-hanger.

Views: 197

Comment by PeterT on August 6, 2014 at 12:12am

I thought there was some tension between P&P. Surprised they didn't come to blows.

Next season, perhaps


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