F.C. De Kampioenen
F.C. De Kampioenen, (F.C. The Champions) was a long-running Flemish sitcom chronicling the (mis)adventures of a fictional local football team. It aired on the Belgian-Flemish channel één between 1990 and 2011, for 21 seasons with 273 half-hour long episodes, making it one of the most successful comedy programs ever on Belgian television. In 2009 a film had been planned, but has since been cancelled following complaints by the actors about the script. In 2012 the crew announced a new script was written and a movie will be produced. The movie was released in December 2013.
The series relies heavily on stereotypical characters and farce for its humour. The story is mainly set around a few members of the football club (Marc and Bieke, Pol and Doortje, Xavier and Carmen) who regularly visit the club canteen before or after a soccer training or match. The canteen is run by Pascale, who is in a relationship with Maurice. The football club is sponsored by the owner of a sausage factory, Balthazar Boma. Next to the field is an antiques shop, owned by the fraudulent Fernand. Most of the episodes are based on misunderstandings or dirty tricks from Fernand (formerly the garage owner Dimitri De Tremmerie or the chef Bernard Theofiel Waterslaeghers).
Seasons 1-20 have all been released on DVD through Universal Pictures and Lime-Lights.
Current cast members
|Balthasar Boma||Marijn Devalck||1990–2011||Balthasar is the owner of a sausage factory. He is addicted to sex and frequently visits night clubs. He thinks to be dressed fashionable but the others describe his outfits as "made from kitchen curtains". He uses English business terms which he pronounces incorrect. In most seasons, he tries to seduce Pascale in which he partially succeeds. In the last three seasons he has a relationship with Goedele. During last episode, they marry. Balthasar is also owner of the club canteen, football field and Radio Hallo. He threatens many times to sell the canteen and field but always changes his mind at the last minute.|
|Pascale De Backer||Danni Heylen||1990–2011||Pascale hires the canteen. First she was married with Oscar who absconded. Then she started more than once a relationship with Balthasar, but these were always ended as Balthasar kept cheating on her. Pascale is rather pretentious and keeps up appearances. She wants to have a stylish tavern, but her attempt to redecorate the canteen is a failure. Later on, she falls in love with Maurice, a nobleman.|
|Maurice de Praetere||Tuur De Weert||2003–2011||Maurice starts a relationship with Pascale, but this is interfered by his mother who always demands him. Maurice is a rather mysterious man and many good and bad secrets of him are revealed over time. He has an encyclopedic knowledge and it turns out he is a nobleman. Despite these facts, he is just a handyman at the local green service department and tries to hide in all ways to be noble. His mother lives in a townhouse, but after her dead it is revealed she also owns a (inhabitable) castle. During a visit at the horse races, Pascale figures out Maurice has a gambling problem...|
|Carmen Waterslaeghers||Loes Van Den Heuvel||1990–2011||She is the "sexy", extraordinary wife of Xavier. Carmen loves all kind of gossips. During first episodes, she did the housekeeping and was a cleaning lady at Boma's mansion. Later on she started a newspaper shop but quit after some robberies. Then she had a friterie, but sold it some seasons later to become a cleaning lady again.|
|Xavier Waterslaeghers||Johny Voners||1990–2011||He is in the army but due to his incompetency he does not manage to make promotion. Xavier does not mind this in contradiction to his wife Carmen. Xavier is addicted to beer and calls it his "plat de jour". He is the keeper of the soccer team, but can't stop most of the balls. After Oscar absconded, Xavier promoted to trainer and Marc was assigned as keeper. Some seasons later, Xavier was fired as trainer and got his old position as keeper. Pol became the new trainer and Marc the forward player.|
|Nero||Yorkshire Terrier||1992 - 2011||Nero is the dog of Carmen which was a gift from the team. Carmen her mother instinct takes overhand and she treats the dog as the child she never had.|
|Doortje Van Hoeck||Ann Tuts||1990–2011||She is a shiny, prudish woman although she is rather assertive if necessary. She was married with Pico Coppens who left her with her child Billy. Doortje was a secretary at the garage of Dimitri. Later on, she becomes the secretary of Boma. She found again love with Pol, although their relationship has many ups and downs in the last couple of seasons when Pol seems to neglect her. In the movie, however, they are finally married.|
|Pol De Tremmerie||Ben Rottiers||1994–2011||He is a nephew of Dimitri who lived in Africa for some years. Now he is a schoolteacher. He started as the new forward player but eventually promoted to trainer. He is a very nice guy in the majority of the series, although in later seasons, he seems to have gained some traits of his uncle as he becomes a lot more stingy (although he has no problem with expending a lot of money when it comes down to soccer). He also doesn't want to marry Doortje because it costs too much money in his opinion. It is made clear on many occasions that he is more interested in soccer than in Doortje. In the movie they marry.|
|Bieke Crucke||An Swartenbroekx||1990–2011||She is the daughter of Pascale and Oscar. She is a smart woman and solves the disputes in almost every episode. She studied journalism. During first seasons, she has ongoing relationships. Later on, she falls in love with Marc. They marry and get a child.|
|Marc Vertongen||Herman Verbruggen||1990, 1992–2011||He fell in love with Bieke, which first pleased Pascale as he studied for doctor. However, Marc is a clumsy, naïve, childish jack of all trades. He worked as policeman, undertaker, ice cream seller, cook, animal steward, soldier, assistant in Carmen's friterie, ... After last shop was sold, Marc started as a permanent cook in the canteen. Since start of the series he was a voluntary DJ at Radio Hallo. This is the only job he was able to keep during the series, although he was once fired after he burnt down the studio by accident. After Pol became trainer, Marc got the position of foreman player although he can't play soccer at all.|
|Fernand Costermans||Jaak Van Assche||2000–2011||He is a shady trader and manager of an "antique shop" and is the third and last main antagonist in the series. Fernand bought Bernard's restaurant in the final episode of season 10 for a very cheap price after Fernand sent him a fake letter which said that they were going to demolish the building. He is in love with Carmen and does almost everything for her. He tries to convince his customers his goods are very expensive and belonged to very important persons. In reality, Fernand only sells rubbish mostly found at garbage dumps. Fernand is very stingy and always tries to haggle money, especially from Marc and Mom DDT (who was in love with him for a couple of episodes until she did find out Fernand was only interested in her money). When customers refuse to buy, he tries to convince them by telling he has a wife and seven sick children. Although nobody believes this, the wife and seven children actually turn up in last episode.|
Former cast members
|Oscar Crucke||Carry Goossens||1990–1993||Oscar was the trainer of the soccer team. He was married with Pascale. Although he thought to be head of the family, almost all of his actions were overwhelmed by Pascale. Oscar was last seen in episode 52 (the final episode of season 4). In the original episode, Oscar literally disappeared after a magic trick. In reruns the scène was removed and it was said Oscar had to go to Tenerife. Later on, it seems Oscar converted to Hare Krishna and now lives in Kathmandu. He is never heard from again, although they mention him once in a while.|
|Pico Coppens||Walter Michiels||1990–1993||Pico was married with Doortje and foreman player of the soccer team. He is a schoolteacher and repairs televisions in his spare time. He flirts with other women, but there was never proof he actually cheated on Doortje until he left her as he had a secret relationship with one of the female school teachers.|
|Dimitri De Tremmerie||Jacques Vermeire||1990–1998, 2010||Dimitri (nicknamed DDT) is the first antagonist of the series. He is the owner of the garage, which is located at the side of the soccer field. He is a shady, stingy man who dislikes the soccer team. The main reason for this because the players accidentally kick the ball through Dimitri's garage windows many times. The times when Boma threatens to quit sponsoring the soccer team (which never happens in the end), DDT always tries to pursue him into selling the field to him, as he wants to turn it into a huge parking lot. In most episodes, he either tries to sabotage the team, or deceive them to earn more money. Although he is far from being friends with the team, there were also many times when they do get along with each other. The cars he sells are wrecks and he charges lots of money for repairs he never did. He was sent to jail after he was found guilty of tax fraud. He actually believes that the football club was responsible for this. In 2010, in the 13th and final episode of season 20, Dimitri made a guest star appearance after he escaped from jail. He has been imprisoned for 12 years and in the meanwhile, came up with a plan to take revenge on the club. He returns to his former garages, where he finds out that it is changed into an antique shop. There, he meets Fernand and after DDT finds out that Fernand hates The Champions as well, he involves him in his revenge plan. DDT also claims that the police never found his dirty money and proposes to share it with Fernand if he takes good care of him. When they completed the revenge plan (by making Boma getting arrested so the club doesn't have a sponsor anymore) they betray each other by looking for each others money in the building. After Fernand finds out that the police did find the dirty money, he also catches Dimitri looking for Fernand's money and confronts him. DDT tries to escape, but is stopped by The Champions and the police when they all enter the antique shop after they found out that is was due to Fernand that Boma got arrested. The police arrest both Fernand and DDT. While Fernand is already released by the first episode of the next season, Dimitri stays in jail for the rest of the series.|
|Bernard Theofiel Waterslaeghers||Jakob Beks||1998–2000||A nephew of Xavier who bought over the garage after Dimitri De Tremmerie was sent to jail. He becomes the second antagonist. Bernard starts a chic restaurant and wants to earn 5 Michelin-stars. In reality, Bernard is just a regular cook who can only prepare easy meals. Due to his arrogance, the long waiting times and the bad food, most people leave the restaurant early. Since the character was very unpopular, he was written out of the series after only two seasons and was replaced by Fernand.|
Frequently occurring guest characters
|Georgette Verreth ("Mom DDT")||Jenny Tanghe||1990-1998, 2005-2006||She is the domineering mother of Dimitri De Tremmerie thinking her son has a good-running garage. Although it is clear the opposite is true, Dimitri misleads his mother every time. As Dimitri is not yet married, Georgette is convinced to find the right wife for her son which displeases him. After Dimitri went to jail, not much was heard about her, making only three more appearances. She sells Dimitri's former garage to Bernard in the first episode of season 9 and seasons later, she suddenly turns up to visit her cousin Pol. She falls in love with Fernand and engages. However, Fernand stops the engagement after he finds out Georgette is only willing to marry under the condition "basic separation of property" meaning he won't inherit anything if she dies.|
|Marie-Paule Vertongen||Lea Couzin||1997–2011||The mother of Marc Vertongen. She runs a funeral home together with her husband Theo Vertongen.|
|Theo Vertongen||Alex Cassiers||1997–2011||Father of Marc Vertongen. He runs a funeral home together with his wife Marie-Paule.|
|Madeleine De Backer||Denise Daems (1996), Leah Thys||2000-2011||The rich sister of Pascale living in a riant mansion, driving a very expensive car, visiting exclusive locations, parties, ...|
|Jerôme Dubois||Michel De Warzee||2000-2011||He is married with Madeleine, but their relationship is not very stable. Jerôme gets intimate with women as soon he drinks one hard liquor.|
|Jean-Luc Grootjans||Fred van Kuyk||1997, 2003–2011||He is a competitor of Balthasar in all ways. Jean-Luc also has a meat processing factory, has a soccer team, owns Radio Figaro and is befriended with the mayor.|
|Billie Coppens||Laurent Roose
|Billy is the son of Doortje and Pico and was born in season 3. During next seasons, Billie does not turn up much and it is mostly said he is with his grandparents. He returns in season 12 as approximately an 13-year old boy. In the following seasons, he wants to be a cool teenager with a girlfriend, tattoo and fashion clothes whereas his mother wants to raise him very conservative. As from season 19 Billy is not present anymore: he went to a dormitory for his studies.|
|Saartje Dubois||Ella Leyers||2003-2006||Saartje is the granddaughter of Jerôme and Madeleine and helps in the soccer canteen. She was also the former girlfriend of Billy.|
|Freddy Van Overloop||Luk d'Heu||2003–2011||Freddy is the local mayor. He is good befriended with Balthasar. Thanks to him, Balthasar manages to get a lot of approvals and licenses for his factory which should be rejected if the correct procedures were followed. It is clear Freddy is a hedonist and does not take his role as mayor very seriously.|
|Goedele Decocq||Machteld Timmermans||2009–2011||She is an anthropologist who travelled around the world. She meets Balthasar Boma in Fernand's shop. Balthasar immediately falls in love with her, but she claims not be interested in him. Goedele already had a marriage which failed, since then she does not trust men anymore. At some point, Balthasar demands her to kiss him. After the kiss, she realizes she does love him. In the last episode the couple marries.|
|Ronald 'Ronaldinho' Decocq||Niels Destadsbader||2009–2011||He is the son of Goedele. As he likes everything which is related with Brasil he is convinced his father is a talented Brazilian soccer player, most probably Ronaldinho. He dreams to become a famous soccer player, but is not aware he is not talented at all. He becomes the new foreman player at FC De Kampioenen.|
Former frequently occurring guest characters
- Kolonel Germain Vandesijpe - Ron Cornet (1992–2002)
- "Maman" de Praetere - Suzanne Juchtmans (2003–2007)
A first attempt to create a theatrical movie was done in 1993. However, the film was cancelled as actor Carry Goossens decided to work for a competing broadcasting company (vtm) and actor Walter Michiels was fired due to his alcohol abuse. Furthermore Jacques Vermeire had his own film plans and his movie Max was to be shot and released in same period.
A new scenario was written in 2008 but rejected by most of the actors.
In 2011 a complete new story was written which was accepted by the actors. Due to funding issues it took until April 2013 before filming started. The movie was released in December 2013 as "F.C. De Kampioenen: Kampioen zijn blijft plezant" which can be translated as "F.C. The Champions: being a champion remains fun".
Boma wants to buy a vineyard and château in France from an oil sheik not knowing most part of the land will be expropriated due to the construction of a TGV. Boma is now negotiating with Tartuffe, a representative of the sheik. Tartuffe invites FC De Kampioenen to come over to France to play a match of soccer against the team of Saint-Tintin. Due to a miscommunication between Tartuffe and the sheik, last one thinks Ronald, foreman of De Kampioenen, is the Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho and offers him a contract.
De Kampioenen head to France, but the journey has some unexpected events. Pol and Doortje just married and Doortje wants to go on honeymoon to Lourdes. Pol sabotages the trip so he can go to Saint-Tintin. Doortje finds out the truth and enters a convent. The coach bus is an outdated model driven by Fernand Costermans who hides a pig in the trunk so he can search for truffles. Everybody is tired of Carmen's involvements, so Xavier decides to leave her behind at a road house. Bieke is brassed off with the childish behavior of Mark and starts a romance with a Frenchmen. Pascale is obsessed by châteaus and demands Maurice to finally renovate his mother's castle or to buy another one.
Ronald finds out the real intentions of the sheik, but is kidknapped by Tartuffe before he could inform De Kampioenen. Carlita, a hitchhiker travelling with De Kampioenen, is actually a helper of Tartuffe. She has a guilty conscience and sets up a rescue operation together with De Kampioenen.
- FC De Kampioenen was once the longest running Belgian sitcom in amounts of seasons (21) and episodes (273). It was however beaten by De Kotmadam where season 22 is currently in production and 307 episodes are already aired. In terms of audience measurement FC De Kampioenen breaks all records with an average 1.5 million viewers whereas De Kotmadam only ends at 350.000.
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