League of Boring

Striking a pose in League of Glory.

To anyone not knowing the South African winelands: please do not judge us on the pathetic television series League of Glory, currently being broadcast on M-Net. This piece of drivel is filmed in and around Stellenbosch, the capital of the local wine industry and only an outbreak of cholera, a bomb threat from a Moslem terrorist cell or a Kurt Darren concert can deter anyone from visiting Stellenboschas much as a viewing of an episode of League of Glory is sure to do.

Firstly, the depiction of the local people sees us as a shallow, monosyllabic community which is totally without passion, a zest for life and a commitment to and knowledge of wine. The women, led by the actresses Susan Danford and Elsab+¬ Daneel, are ugly, have thick calves, dress poorly and are about as full of life as a nun in Lent. The men smirk and sneer, don’t like washing their hair and pretend to know something about wine and soccer, which they don’t. This is a problem: League of Glory is about, well, soccer in a wineland community.

Dig the shoddy production: vineyard pruning is done in the middle of summer when the vines are thickly foliaged and green. Glasses are filled with dyed water instead of wine. Winemakers and workers stand around not knowing what to do.

The soccer angle is also interesting, as Stellenbosch does not have a recognised soccer team and its environment has never and will never be conducive to the sport. But here we have it, a bunch of young people of all creeds and races getting behind their soccer team between the mountains of Stellenbosch?

Herein lies the rub: League of Glory is produced by Herman Binge of Waterfront Television who has a terrific knack,for procuring commissions from M-Net.,While other houses clamour to submit proposals, Waterfront appears to rule the roost in winning these commissions. Last year they had an equally nobbish production called Ella Blue. Other commissions going Binge’s way include Boer Soek ‘n Vrou, Idols and Known Gods.

Which goes to show that Binge’s reputation as an arse-creeper with those handing out television commissions and his chumminess with Naspers big-shot Koos Bekker can go a long way.

Naspers owns M-Net, who send the commissions Binge’s way and Binge definitely seems to have a way with this crowd.

The most amazing thing about League of Glory, which makes the shopping channel look interesting, is that it is partly directed by Darrell Roodt, who once was a competent director. But not when your friend Binge is behind the production: a mediocre script gets accepted, the cheapest actors are employed, research is eschewed, the production is hastened and forced along. Because although it is art, Binge says that at the end of the day it’s only about money.

If he and his ilk were someday forced to look at television productions in the same light as the receptors of these are ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ i.e. the public ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ a different tune might be whistled.

Turn-off the TV, open a bottle of Stellenbosch Cabernet and welcome to the real world.

-,,,,,,,,, Darien Morgan

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