F.C. De Kampioenen

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F.C. De Kampioenen (F.C. The Champions) is 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[1] 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.[2] In 2012 the crew announced a new script had been written and a movie will be produced. The movie was released in December 2013.[3] A second movie is set to be released in October 2015

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).

Johan Gevers was the series director. The scriptwriters were Bart Cooreman (1995–2011), Wout Thielemans (1996–2011), Knarf Van Pellecom (2000–2011) and Carmino D'haene (2009–2011).

Seasons 1–20 have all been released on DVD through Universal Pictures and Lime-Lights.

Current characters[edit]

Character Actor Seasons(s) Description
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 believes he is a fashionable dresser but the others describe his outfits as "made from kitchen curtains". He uses English business terms which he pronounces incorrectly. In most seasons, he tries to seduce Pascale, in which endeavour he partially succeeds. In the last three seasons he has a relationship with Goedele. In the final episode, they marry. Balthasar is also the owner of the club canteen, the football ground, and Radio Hallo. He frequently threatens to sell the canteen and ground but always changes his mind at the last minute.
Pascale De Backer Danni Heylen 1990–2011 Pascale leases the canteen. Earlier, she was married to Oscar, who absconded. She subsequently started a relationship with Balthasar on more than one occasion, but these always came to an end as Balthasar kept cheating on her. Pascale is rather pretentious and likes to keep up appearances. She would like to have a stylish tavern, but her attempt to redecorate the canteen is a failure. Later, 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 with by his very demanding mother. Maurice is a rather mysterious man and many good and bad secrets about him are revealed over time. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge and it turns out that he is a member of the nobility. Despite these facts, he is just a handyman with the municipal landscaping service and he tries to hide his aristocratic origins. His mother lives in an ordinary townhouse, but after her death it is revealed she also owns a (still inhabitable) castle. During a visit to the horse races, Pascale figures out that Maurice has a gambling problem...
Carmen Waterslaeghers Loes Van Den Heuvel 1990–2011 Carmen is the "sexy", extraordinary wife of Xavier. She loves all kind of gossip. In early episodes, she was a housekeeper and cleaning lady at Boma's mansion. Later on she started a newsagent's but gave it up after some robberies. Then she had a friterie (chip shop), but sold it some seasons later to become a cleaning lady again.
Xavier Waterslaeghers Johny Voners 1990–2011 Xavier is in the army but owing to his incompetence has never achieved promotion. This doesn't bother him, unlike his wife Carmen. Xavier is addicted to beer and calls it his "plat de jour". He is the team's goalkeeper, but fails to hold most shots. After Oscar absconds, Xavier is promoted to trainer and Marc is made keeper. Some seasons later, Xavier is fired as trainer and returns to his old position as keeper. Pol becomes the new trainer and Marc the team's striker.
Nero Yorkshire Terrier 1992 - 2011 Nero is Carmen's pet dog. He was a gift from the team. Carmen's maternal instinct takes over and she treats the dog as the child she never had. The dog is named after Nero from the comic strip The Adventures of Nero, which Carmen happened to see in a newspaper when she was thinking of a name for her pet.
Doortje Van Hoeck Ann Tuts 1990–2011 Doortje is a shy and somewhat strait-laced lady who can nevertheless be assertive when necessary. She was formerly married to Pico Coppens, who left her with her child Billy. Doortje was a secretary at Dimitri's garage. Later on, she becomes Boma's secretary. She has found love again with Pol, although their relationship goes through 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 Pol is a nephew of Dimitri's and lived in Africa for some years. Now he is a schoolteacher. He started as the team's new forward but was 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 of his uncle's traits as he becomes a lot more stingy (although he has no problem with spending a lot of money when it comes down to soccer). He is also not keen on marrying Doortje because it would cost 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 Bieke is Pascale and Oscar's daughter. She is a clever woman and resolves disputes in almost every episode. She has studied journalism. In the early seasons, she had ongoing relationships. Later on, she falls in love with Marc. They marry and have a child.
Marc Vertongen Herman Verbruggen 1990, 1992–2011 Marc fell in love with Bieke, which at first pleased Pascale because he was studying to become a doctor. However, he is a clumsy, naïve, childish jack of all trades. He has worked as a policeman, undertaker, ice cream seller, cook, animal keeper, soldier, assistant in Carmen's friterie... After the latter shop was sold, Marc started as a permanent cook in the canteen. Since the start of the series he has been a volunteer DJ at Radio Hallo. This is the only job he has been able to keep throughout 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 Fernand is a shady trader and manager of an "antique shop" and is the third and last main protagonist in the series. He buys Bernard's restaurant at a knock-down price in the final episode of season 10 after Fernand sends him a fake letter saying that the building is due for demolition. He is in love with Carmen and does almost everything for her. He tries to convince his customers that his goods are high quality and have belonged to very important persons. In reality, Fernand sells only junk, mostly stuff found on rubbish dumps. Fernand is very stingy and is always trying to wangle money out of people, especially Marc and Ma DDT (who was in love with him for a couple of episodes until she found out that Fernand was only interested in her money). When customers are reluctant to buy, he tries to persuade them by telling them he has a wife and seven sick children to support. Although nobody believes this, the wife and seven children actually turn up in last episode.

Former characters[edit]

Character Actor Seasons(s) Description
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. When Pascale was starting a discussion with him, Oscar would always say "Pascale... begint ni e!" ("Pascale... don't you start!"). 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. In season 20 episode 2, Maurice (Pascale's new husband) becomes the new trainer for one episode and finds Oscar's old trainer clothes in the attic. When Pascale enters the house, she sees Maurice sitting with his back turned to her while wearing Oscar's clothes. She freaks out, as she thinks it is Oscar for a second. When Maurice tells her that the club wanted him to become the trainer, Pascale tells him that being a trainer isn't easy. When Maurice asks her how she would know that she tells him she has been married with such a specimen, referring to Oscar. While Maurice is training the club, he starts behaving like Oscar. He uses Oscar's catchphrases (like the one mentioned above) and mispronounces Xavier's name the way Oscar did. There were plans to bring him back for a guest appearance in one episode in the final season, but this never happened in the end. It will be in the second movie, however, that he will make his long-awaited return.
Pico Coppens Walter Michiels 1990–1993 Pico was married with Doortje for the first 4 seasons 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. This happened between season 4 and 5. The first episode of season 5 starts with Carmen en Pascale (who is removing all Oscar's stuff, as he left at the same moment) talking about this. They never expected Pico to do something like that. After Pico left, he was never heard from again and was barely mentioned afterwards.
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. In the final episode of season 8, he was arrested. 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 other's 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 it was due to Fernand that Boma got arrested. The police arrest both Fernand and DDT. Dimitri later escapes again with a stolen police car, he was never heard from again after this. He is set to reappear again in the second movie, where he will be finally released from jail.
Bernard Theofiel Waterslaeghers Jakob Beks 1998–2000 A cousin 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. In season 10, he gains a pet rabbit, which he wanted to slaughter first to cook for his guests... until he looked the rabbit in its cute little eyes. Since the character was very unpopular, he was written out of the series after only two seasons and was replaced by Fernand. In the 13th and final episode of season 10, he sells his restaurant to Fernand for a very cheap price after he received a fake letter which said that the municipality was going to demolish it. He wanted to trick Fernand but it turned out that Fernand sent him the letter with a fake stamp. Right before he leaves he does find out that the letter is fake, although he didn't know it was Fernand who sent it. After his departure he was only mentioned once afterwards and never heard from again, although he is Xavier' cousin.

Frequently occurring guest characters[edit]

Character Actor Seasons(s) Description
Georgette Verreth ("Ma DDT") Jenny Tanghe 1990-1998, 2005-2006 Georgette is Dimitri De Tremmerie's domineering mother. She believes her son runs a well managed garage, although it's quite clear that the opposite is true. Dimitri misleads his mother every time. As Dimitri is not yet married, Georgette is determined to find the right wife for her son, which displeases him. After Dimitri is jailed, little more is heard about her, and she makes only three more appearances. She sells Dimitri's former garage to Bernard in the first episode of season 9, and some seasons later she suddenly turns up to visit her cousin Pol. She falls in love with and Fernand and the couple get engaged. Fernand calls off the engagement, however, when he finds out that Georgette is only willing to marry if he agrees to a "basic separation of property" contract, meaning that he wouldn't inherit anything in the case of her death.
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
Rob Teuwen
2001-2002
2002-2008
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 an approximately 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. In the second movie it is revealed Oscar Crucke is his biological father.

Former frequently occurring guest characters[edit]

Theatrical movies[edit]

Failed attempts for a movie[edit]

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.

F.C. De Kampioenen: Kampioen zijn blijft plezant[edit]

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".[4]

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 Frenchman. 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 kidnapped 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.

F.C. De Kampioenen 2: Jubilee general[edit]

In August 2014, there were rumors of a second movie which were confirmed in October 2014. It was released on October 28, 2015.

De Kampioenen prepare a big celebration party for their 25th anniversary. Carmen, Doortje, Pascale and Bieke reunite with their band The Championettes. Marc and Xavier travel to Thailand and can convince Oscar to leave Hare Krishna and to return to Belgium. Oscar his old habits come back: he wants to be the trainer once again, the bickers between him and Pascale restart,... This all gets at it top when it is revealed Goedele and Oscar had a one-night stand on 31 December 1993 and Ronaldhino was conceived that night, meaning Oscar is the biological father of the boy and not the famous soccer player Ronaldhino as the young man always thought.

Meanwhile, their main antagonist DDT is released from prison. He wins from Boma in a game of poker and becomes owner of last one's Caddilac, the soccer canteen and the soccer field. Boma consults his lawyers and they confirm due to the fact he signed a paper in which he hands over these properties and with witnesses, DDT is now indeed the legal owner. Boma and Fernand set up a trap so DDT ends up in a container on a boat heading to Africa, not knowing Doortje is also in the trap by accident. DDT and Doortje manage to return to Belgium. He wants revenge and hires some bulldozers to demolish the pub next to the soccer field so he can build his new garage, not knowing the current building is classified and must remain as is.

Third movie[edit]

In January 2016, it was confirmed that a third movie wil be made, filming will start in Summer 2017, and the movie will be released in December 2017.

Trivia[edit]

  • 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.
  • After the show stopped, the producers revealed Boma's clothes were indeed made from curtain material as was many times insinuated/said in the series.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""F.C. De Kampioenen" blikt laatste seizoen in". 
  2. ^ "Acteurs boycotten film FC De Kampioenen". 2 April 2009. 
  3. ^ Peeters, Steven (31 January 2013). "F.C. De Kampioenen-film komt er dan toch". 
  4. ^ Ian, Douglus. "Alle afleveringen van FC De Kampioenen". Alle afleveringen van FC De Kampioenen (in Dutch). 
  5. ^ "Eén neemt afscheid van 'F.C. De Kampioenen' met heuse expo" [Eén says goodbye to FC De Kampioenen with expo] (in Dutch). 25 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 

External links[edit]