THE trio of Ron Atkinson, Esther Rantzen and Marcus Brigstocke look set to ruffle some French feathers as they attempt to learn the language.
The first episode of the new BBC2 programme Excuse My French (Wednesday 9pm) saw the three of them thrown in at the deep end in Provence.
And within the first few days they had already upset their French teachers by staying out for lunch and speaking English when they shouldn’t have been.
The series follows Ron, Esther and Marcus as they battle to learn French by being immersed in the language and culture throughout the day, and then only after 6pm can they speak English.
And the challenge for them is that after four weeks they will have to go out and do their job for a day in France.
For Esther Rantzen that means performing an interview on television, Ron Atkinson will be a pundit at a football match for French radio and Marcus Brigstocke will perform a stand-up routine in a comedy club.
The group’s first tasks involved booking train tickets, asking for directions and even being delivery drivers for a morning, although their parcels had been tampered with so they had to face questions from customers.
Although the content of the programme may provide some assistance when learning French, the accompanying website will help more, the experiences of the trio stumbling over words and phrases show that often it is a question of confidence.
It is clear that each of them are at different levels of understanding, with Ron Atkinson struggling with the basics, whilst Marcus Brigstocke has school boy French and Ester Rantzen had holidayed in France with her husband Desmond Wilcox, before his death.
And the programme finished with Ester looking out over the Mediterranean Sea wishing her husband was there to watch the beautiful sunset after a particularly challenging day.
What did you think of Excuse My French and do you think it will help people improve their language skills? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
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