F.C. De Kampioenen

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 TV1 (now Eén) 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.

The series relies heavily on stereotypical characters and farce for its humour. The story is mainly set around a few male members of a local soccer club and their wives who regularly visit the club canteen before or after a training or match. Next to the field is another commercial property, owned by a hostile neighbor. Most of the episodes are based on misunderstandings or dirty tricks from these neighbors.

The series has had various directors, with Etienne Vervoort, Stef Desmyter, Johan Gevers, Willy Vanduren, and Eric Taelman having the biggest episode count, respectively. The most active writers have been Bart Cooreman, René Swartenbroekx, Knarf Van Pellecom, Anton Klee, and Frank Van Laecke.

Seasons 1–21 have all been released on DVD through Universal Pictures and Lime-Lights.

Main charactersEdit

Character Actor Seasons(s) Description
Balthasar Boma Marijn Devalck 1–present Balthasar Boma is the rich owner of a sausage factory, yet almost nobody likes his products. He is also chairman of the soccer club and owns the canteen and field. He believes he is an intelligent businessman, but often embarrasses himself by pronouncing English business terms incorrectly or by messing up Flemish sayings. Besides this, he usually dresses in costumes that others describe as being "made of kitchen curtains." These aspects occasionally lead to the soccer team making fun of him, after which he might threaten to sell the soccer grounds to their hostile neighbor. Luckily, he always changes his mind at the last minute. Balthasar is addicted to sex and frequently visits night clubs. In most seasons, he also tries to seduce Pascale, in which endeavour he partially succeeds. Finally, he starts a relationship with Goedele, which puts an end to his sexual debauchery.
Pascale De Backer Danni Heylen 1–present Pascale De Backer leases the soccer canteen from Balthasar Boma. She has a friendly attitude, but can be rather pretentious and likes to keep up appearances. Every time something bad or embarrassing occurs, she wonders aloud what her - rich and successful - sister Madeleine would think about it. In the first seasons, Pascale is married to the club's original trainer Oscar Crucke, with whom she has a daughter Bieke. Later on, she starts an on-again, off-again relationship with Balthasar Boma, who however keeps cheating on her. She eventually falls in love with municipal worker Maurice de Praetere, whom she later on discovers to be a nobleman and castle owner, much to her delight.
Oscar Crucke Carry Goossens 1–4 Oscar Crucke is the original trainer of the soccer team. During his youth, he was a successful soccer player, but that part of his life ended after he was forced to marry his pregnant then-girlfriend Pascale De Backer. Over the course of his presence in the series, Oscar tries to act as the head of his family, but gets constantly opposed by his frustrated wife and their adolescent daughter Bieke. The bad results of his team and the suggested sexual tension between his wife and Balthasar Boma, add up to Oscar seeing himself as a failure. He is last seen in episode 52, the final episode of season 4. At the start of season 5, it is told that he converted to Hare Krishna and now lives in Kathmandu.
Maurice de Praetere Tuur De Weert 13–present Maurice de Praetere is a handyman who works at the town hall. He is a rather mysterious man and many good and bad secrets about him are revealed over time. He has an impressive encyclopaedic knowledge and constantly uses this in social encounters. Maurice first appears in episode 168, in which he comes to help redecorate Pascale's living room. Eventually, he and Pascale start a relationship, which leads to Pascale's former lover Balthasar Boma hating him. The development of their romance is interfered with by Maurice's very demanding mother, whom he does not want to neglect, not even in favor of Pascale. After his mother's death, he inherits a castle and admits to Pascale that he is in fact a nobleman. Yet he insists on maintaining their normal life.
Xavier Waterslaeghers Johny Voners 1–21 Xavier Waterslaeghers is the team's goalkeeper. He has a long career in the Belgian army, but never achieved a big promotion. This does not bother him at all, because any responsibility would threaten the spare time he spends drinking beer. Xavier is heavily dominated by his wife Carmen and therefore spends as much time as possible at the canteen, rather than to be at home. His libido is also a lot lower than hers, which adds up to his escapism. In the early seasons, Xavier has a side job as an insurance broker. Later on, Carmen forces him to work at her newsagents, followed by her friterie. Finally, he ends up working part-time at the canteen. After Oscar Crucke left, Xavier was promoted to trainer, but after a few seasons he passed on that role to Pol De Tremmerie. Carmen has never really forgiven Xavier for making her lose the status of trainer's wife.
Carmen Vandormael Loes Van den Heuvel 1–present Carmen Vandormael, often called by her husband's name Waterslaeghers, is the wife of Xavier. She has a dominant and extrovert attitude and dresses in eye-catching clothes, often showing cleavage and containing bright colors or feline prints. Carmen is the cleaning lady at Balthasar Boma's mansion, but refers to herself as his "Hygiene Manager." Later on the series, she starts combining this job with other professions, such as operating a newsagents and a friterie, before eventually fulfilling her dream of becoming a television celebrity. Carmen loves all kinds of gossip, often leading to misunderstandings that affect the people around her. She does not fear name calling when she expects someone to have done something wrong.
Pico Coppens Walter Michiels 1–4 Pico Coppens is the striker of the soccer team for the first four seasons of the series. He is a school teacher who makes extra money by repairing televisions. He is also an active member of a local political party opposite of Balthasar Boma's, which leads to a difficult understanding between the two of them. Pico is however the only good player of the team, which forces chairman Boma to keep him around. Pico is married to Doortje and during the third season, they get a son named Billie. It is rumored that Pico flirts with other women, but there is no proof he actually cheats on Doortje. That is until the start of season 5, where it is explained that Pico and Doortje have got divorced because he had an affair with one of his female colleagues, and that he has subsequently left the team. Pico is last seen in episode 52, the final episode of season 4.
Doortje Van Hoeck Ann Tuts 1–present Doortje is a shy and somewhat strait-laced lady who can nevertheless be assertive when necessary. She is first married to Pico, who abandons her and their child Billie. Doortje starts of as a secretary at Dimitri's garage and later on becomes Boma's secretary. She finds love again with Pol, although their relationship goes through many ups and downs, especially because she feels like he loves his soccer game more than her. The others often mock her because of her puritanical lifestyle and her vegan cooking.
Pol De Tremmerie Ben Rottiers 5–present Pol is a nephew of Dimitri's and lived in Africa for some years. Now he is a schoolteacher. Pol starts as the team's new striker, but after an injury he becomes their trainer. Most times he is a very nice and socially engaged guy, although sometimes he seems to have gained some of his uncle's traits, especially in terms of being stingy. The only thing he does not care spending money on, is soccer. It is made clear on many occasions that he is more interested in soccer than in Doortje.
Bieke Crucke An Swartenbroekx 1–present Bieke is Pascale and Oscar's daughter. She is a clever woman and resolves disputes in almost every episode. Early on the series, she is a dissolute student dating various guys at once. Later on, she falls in love with Marc, with whom she marries and gets a daughter. Bieke starts her career as a journalist and eventually becomes a marketeer. She does not get along with Boma, for reasons such as his vulgar attitude and his unhealthy meat business, and mainly because of the sexual tension between him and her mother.
Marc Vertongen Herman Verbruggen 1, 3–present 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. Marc started off as the team's goalkeeper, but later got the position of striker, although he can't play soccer at all.
Dimitri De Tremmerie Jacques Vermeire 1–8, 20, 22 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 DDT'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, DDT was arrested. He was sent to jail after he was found guilty of tax fraud. Years later, in the final episode of season 20, DDT returns for one episode after having escaped.
Bernard Theofiel Waterslaeghers Jakob Beks 9–10 Bernard (nicknamed BTW) is a cousin of Xavier who buys the garage after DDT is sent to jail. He becomes the second antagonist. BTW starts a chic restaurant and wants to earn Michelin-stars. In reality, he 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. In the 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.
Fernand Costermans Jaak Van Assche 10–present Fernand is the shady owner of an "antique shop" and is the third antagonist in the series. He buys Bernard's restaurant at a knock-down price in the final episode of season 10 after making him believe the building is due for demolition. 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. When customers are reluctant to buy, he tries to persuade them by telling them he has a wife and seven sick children to support. Fernand is in love with Carmen and does almost everything to get closer to her.

Recurring charactersEdit

Character Actor Seasons(s) Description
Georgette Verreth Jenny Tanghe 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16 Georgette is DDT's dominant mother. She believes her son runs a well-managed business. During the rare moments where it gets clear to her that the opposite is true, she mostly blames secretary Doortje for it and even tries to replace her, much to DDT's frustration. Georgette is meanwhile determined to find the right wife for her son, which also displeases him. After Dimitri is jailed, she appears one more time to sell the garage and two more times to visit her cousin Pol. Her final appearance is in season 16. In season 20, it is mentioned that she has passed away and donated her savings to Pol.
Germain Vandesijpe Ron Cornet 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 Germain is the Xavier's stereotypical strict colonel, but off work he is mostly a close friend of Boma. Together they spend a lot of time at the local nightclub, even though Germain is married. He is last seen in season 13, after which a new character appears as colonel.
Marie-Paule Vertongen Lea Couzin 7, 14, 15, 19, 20 The mother of Marc Vertongen. She runs a funeral home together with her husband Theo.
Theo Vertongen Alex Cassiers 7, 14, 15, 19, 20 The father of Marc Vertongen. He runs a funeral home together with his wife Marie-Paule.
Madeleine De Backer Denise Daems, Leah Thys 7, 11, 15, 19, 21 Madeleine is the rich sister of Pascale. She lives in a big mansion, drives an very expensive car, visits exotic locations, attends exclusive parties, and so on. Pascale is very jealous of Madeleine and whenever something bad of embarrassing happens, she fears "what Madeleine would think about it."
Jean-Luc Grootjans Fred van Kuyk 8, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 Jean-Luc 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.
Jerôme Dubois Michel De Warzee 11, 15, 19, 21 Jerôme is married to Madeleine, but their relationship is not very stable. Jerôme gets intimate with other women as soon he drinks one sip of hard liquor, much to Madeleine's embarrassment.
Billie Coppens Laurent Roose, Rob Teuwen 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 Billie is the son of Doortje and Pico. He was born in season 3, but grew up off-screen until his return in season 11 as a then 13-year-old boy. In the following seasons, he wants to be a cool teenager with girlfriends, fashion, tattoos, motorcycles and rock music whereas his mother wants to raise him very conservative. He has a much better bond with his stepfather Pol, except when it comes to his lack of interest in sports. Billie also likes to spend time with Boma, whom he calls "Copain". It is unknown whether he has contact with his biological father Pico. Billie is last seen in season 18, when moving from Pol and Doortje's apartment to a dormitory.
Saartje Dubois Ella Leyers 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 Saartje is the granddaughter of Jerôme and Madeleine and often works in the soccer canteen. She goes to the same school as Billie and often hangs out with him. They are both sexually interested in each other, but Saartje backs off every time Billie is unable to stand up against his conservative mother.
Freddy Van Overloop Luk d'Heu 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21 Freddy is the local mayor. He is a close friend of Balthasar. Thanks to him, Balthasar easily manages to keep his polluting factory running, which would be far more difficult if the correct regulations were followed. It is clear Freddy is a hedonist and does not take his role as mayor very seriously. One example is the fact that he hires the clumsy Marc Vertongen as a municipal worker just so he could get some laughter in between work. Also, various scenes suggest he is having an affair with his younger secretary.
Goedele Decocq Machteld Timmermans 19, 20, 21, 22 Goedele 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 to be not 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. They start a relationship and Goedele soon moves into Balthasar's mansion, together with her son Ronald.
Ronald 'Ronaldinho' Decocq Niels Destadsbader 20, 21, 22 Ronald is the son of Goedele. As he likes everything which is related to 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 that talented at all. He thus fits the FC De Kampioenen soccer team pretty well. Ronald gets along really well with his stepfather Boma, certainly because of their shared passion for women and partying.

Theatrical moviesEdit

Failed attempts for a movieEdit

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 plezantEdit

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".[2]

Returning main cast members from the television series include Marijn Devalck, Danni Heylen, An Swartenbroekx, Johny Voners, Loes Van den Heuvel, Ann Tuts, Herman Verbruggen, Ben Rottiers, Jaak Van Assche, and Tuur De Weert, alongside recurring cast members Machteld Timmermans, Niels Destadsbader, Lea Couzin, Fred Van Kuyk, Leah Thys, and Michel De Warzee.

Plot

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 generalEdit

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

Returning main cast members from the television series include Marijn Devalck, Danni Heylen, An Swartenbroekx, Johny Voners, Loes Van den Heuvel, Ann Tuts, Herman Verbruggen, Ben Rottiers, Jaak Van Assche, Tuur De Weert, Jacques Vermeire, and Carry Goossens, alongside recurring cast members Machteld Timmermans, Niels Destadsbader, and Luk D'Heu.

Plot

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.

F.C. De Kampioenen 3: ForeverEdit

In January 2016, it was confirmed that a third movie would be made. Filming started in the summer of 2017, and the movie was released in December 2017.

Returning main cast members from the television series include Marijn Devalck, Danni Heylen, An Swartenbroekx, Johny Voners, Loes Van den Heuvel, Ann Tuts, Herman Verbruggen, Ben Rottiers, Jaak Van Assche, Tuur De Weert, Jacques Vermeire, and Carry Goossens, alongside recurring cast members Machteld Timmermans, Niels Destadsbader, and Luk D'Heu.

F.C. De Kampioenen 4: Viva BomaEdit

The fourth movie was filmed early 2019 and released in December 2019.

Returning main cast members from the television series include Marijn Devalck, Danni Heylen, An Swartenbroekx, Johny Voners, Loes Van den Heuvel, Ann Tuts, Herman Verbruggen, Ben Rottiers, Jaak Van Assche, Tuur De Weert, Jacques Vermeire, Carry Goossens, and Jakob Beks, alongside recurring cast members Machteld Timmermans, Niels Destadsbader, and Luk D'Heu.

Comics adaptationsEdit

Since 1997 F.C. De Kampioenen has been adapted into an equally long-running and successful comics series, F.C. De Kampioenen, drawn by Hec Leemans. [3]

TriviaEdit

  • FC De Kampioenen was once the longest-running Belgian sitcom in number of seasons (21) and episodes (273). It was however beaten by De Kotmadam of which season 24 is currently in production and 333 episodes have already aired. In terms of audience measurement FC De Kampioenen breaks all records with an average 1.5 million viewers for its last season in 2011 whereas De Kotmadam only ends at 650.000 for its 23th season in 2019.[citation needed]
  • The producers revealed that Boma's clothes were indeed made from curtain material as was many times insinuated/said in the series.[4]
  • On 13 September 2015 actors of F.C. De Kampioenen ran a campaign in castle Ravenhof in Putte for raising awareness for autism and people with autism.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ ""F.C. De Kampioenen" blikt laatste seizoen in".
  2. ^ Ian, Douglus. "Alle afleveringen van FC De Kampioenen". Alle afleveringen van FC De Kampioenen (in Dutch).
  3. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/l/leemans.htm
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ Tess, Kalangiga (3 September 2015). "Acteurs FC de Kampioenen wandelen mee voor autisme". Alle afleveringen van FC De Kampioenen (in Dutch). Retrieved 23 March 2018.

External linksEdit